photo by Brittney Squire
All around the blogosphere and Pinterest and in popular self-help literature and TV shows you hear lots of talk about dream following. Just on my own Pinterest page I must have 50 pins about doing what makes you come alive and about following your dreams even when they scare you and about being whoever you want to be, no matter your age. I see these little nuggets of wisdom and I momentarily swell with some brilliant sense of inspiration and empowerment--a fleeting thing I wish I could hold onto every day and night.
But the truth is that following your dreams, if you have them, really is a scary thing, and it takes more than just an inspiration board on Pinterest to keep you pursuing what you love. Ever since I was little, I knew I wanted to be a writer--not a blog writer, but a book writer. This past year I decided to make it happen, so I bought some books about novel writing and started setting aside time to work on my first book. I was obsessed with the idea of it all: fleshing out the characters and weaving a tale worth reading. But it so happens that the story never really materialized, and I found myself frustrated and not really ready, somehow. So I decided to pursue other passions for the time being--passions that fall into line with my overarching goal, which is to be my own boss and work from home. That's when j. noel photography was born. It was born as a wee little "well, this will have to do since I really do enjoy it and since I'm constipated in the fiction writing department" (or maybe just not good enough, so says the little voice inside...) And you know, it's been so fulfilling for me so far. Photography is something you can absolutely excel at if you have the passion and the talent and the time.
If you're like me, though, your fears get in the way sometimes. I can't tell you how many times I've, just before a photo session, wondered wildly if there was a way I could get out of it. I'm not sure why I have that impulse, but I think a lot of us do. The impulse to run the other way when something seems too big and important and scary and potentially life altering and fulfilling. And then sometimes, when you see things working out for you, you wonder when it's all gonna go to pot and you'll find out you weren't good at it after all and people were making fun of you behind your back.
I just wrote this in an email to someone, and I'll say it again here. In times like these, you have to learn to just put your head down and barrel right through those emotions and those insecurities... like a bull, not looking back or left or right, but straight ahead, at the waving flag. Maybe you're not perfect yet, but who has ever started out at something and been immediately the greatest? No one ever, that's who. Because there's a gap, and when I realized that, it changed everything for me, and helped me to be OK with not being perfect for a while, or maybe ever. The point, though, is to be moving in the right direction. I am someone who likes to stay where she is, to a fault. Likes to dream about where she'll be one day, but never making steps towards it, out of fear or insecurity or just plain laziness.
So, yeah. I guess what I've learned so far, on this journey that I'm still traveling and sometimes messily, is that you have to be a bull when it comes to getting what you want, or you'll never get it. I don't mean you need to run over other people to get what you want, but more that you need to run over your own damn self and tell yourself to stop getting in your own way.
I'll leave you with my favorite quote:
“You can only become truly accomplished at something you love. Don’t make money your goal. Instead, pursue the things you love doing and then do them so well people can’t take their eyes off you.” --Maya Angelou