When I first picked up a camera– I had no intentions of starting a business. I saw a new challenge and I embrace new challenges. When I bought my first camera in May 2009– it was on a whim. I had never once been interested in photography before that moment. In fact, I was going through a very hard time in my life and I turned to this camera to take my mind off it. You’ve probably heard me refer to photography as my “saving grace” and I didnt just say for the beauty of how it sounded. My camera saved me and took me out of a dark time. But why do I sit here today looking at my camera with such hate in my heart? I dont know. Like I said before– I didnt start taking photos to create a business and maybe thats why some people have a hard time relating to how I am feeling right now. With business comes criticism and competition. I’ve had to deal with people saying horrible things about the person I am– people who have never even met me feel the need to weigh in on what type of person I am. I have people close to me who have made me feel terrible for my success. I am so sick of feeling like I dont deserve what I have worked so tirelessly for. That last sentence was the hardest for me to write and brought a lot of tears. I am surrounded by people who despise me because of where I’ve gotten– and all I want to say is fuck you. I hate that I have to worry about how people will react to my last statement. For the past 3 years– I have been so wrapped up in this business and it has caused me to suppress who I am. Every move has to be calculated. I cannot just simply POST something– I have to take into account everyone else. How will people respond? Will people like this? Will this rub people the wrong way? Do I sound stupid? Do I sound cocky? Do I sound like I am crazy? I have grown a lot of animosity for the person I have become– not because I dont like him, but because its not completely genuine. I have bad days– I am not always happy, and sometimes I just want to share that. But as a business person– I know that my image is just as important as my work. As a business person I also began the terrible habit of comparing myself to every single person. And I so wish I had the personality where I believed I was better than everyone else– but I dont. In my head– I credit my success to being the “in” thing for now, but people will move on just as quickly as they came. I fear every single day that people will forget about me and that my time is up. I fear that my work will become stagnate. I fear that I wont know when my time is up. I fear that I will never find a certain level of success. I fear letting people down (shit, lets move that to number 1, because that one scares me the most). These are all things that come with owning a business– but like I said, I never intended on starting a business. If I just wanted a business– I wouldnt have this extreme emotional tie I have. Every single piece of me goes into everything I do. I am failing as a boyfriend because I have nothing left to give at the end of the day. I am failing as an uncle because I dont have time to be around anymore. I am failing as a friend because I am completely uninvested. Every aspect of my life is failing except this one– and at even the tiniest flicker that this is failing– I break. The people around me tell I am just being sensitive and need to grow some tougher skin– but they dont get it. I understand that when someone has a complaint, its not as astronomical as I make it out to be. However, I am sacrificing every single other area of my life to make this business work and when it doesnt– it feels like it was all for nothing. I just want to make everyone happy, but thats hard to do when I am not happy.
I dont want people to think I am not grateful for everything this business has brought me. I really do love what I am doing– but I need to learn to balance it all. I need to learn to say no. I need to learn that my relationships take priority over this. I need to stop comparing every single thing I do to everyone else– its so toxic… but its something I have always done. I need to learn that ugly people will say ugly things about who I am as a person and I need to let it go. I need to learn to take time to enjoy my life. I have to learn that the only person in this world with these crazy high expectations is myself.
Photography definitely saved my life– and all I want is to find that passion for it again. But, I dont know when or if ever that will happen again. I need to do a lot of work on myself and get myself the help I need. For everyone who just read that and said, “Ooooh hes crazy and needs therapy!” You betcha. I dont care if you know. Thats the real me. I am not afraid to admit that I have an extremely difficult time managing my anxiety.
So what does this mean? I dont really know. Here is what I do know… I dont want to be done with photography– I love it. My relationship with photography is in turmoil and I would do anything to save it– but sometimes its too little too late. I want to find that passion again where I never want to put my camera down. But right now, its not there. I will be finishing up this holiday season as planned– so dont worry. However, after that, I dont know. I will not be taking any sessions in the month of January– at all. After the month is up, Ill see where I am at. If I dont feel ready, then Ill take another month. There will come a time and a place in which I will know if this is right and what I still want to continue doing– but I am not going to rush it. I have saved up enough money to get me by and I dont want to feel forced into coming back– otherwise I will be in this same place again in another year. I am not really sure how active social media will be– as much as I love it for growing my business– its the number one contributor of my insecurities and anxiety. We’ll see.
If you’ve already given up on me– thats fine, I wouldnt have wanted you in my life anyways. But for everyone else– I have appreciated your business, but even more so, the relationships. I hope you can respect my decision to take this time to work on myself.
I hope to come back, full of that love and passion I once had. Ive said it before and I will continue to keep on saying it– photography has been my saving grace.