“If you’re alive, you’re a creative person.” - Elizabeth Gilbert
I realize that complex ideas cannot be summed up in a single one-liner but sometimes it can be the awakening splash of cold water to your mind, shocking you back to what is true.
My love for photography was birthed out of emotion. I was handed my first camera in response to arguments with my brother.
“Take a photo of your situation.” My [wonderful, I might add] stepmom urged.
“You’ll be able to gain new perspective.”
Now, as a mom to two, I realize this might have been her last ditch effort to stop all the yelling. Either way, I found my creative craft, which I thought was my only one.
Writing was a different animal all on it's own. I couldn't pinpoint for you when it started, but I know I have a journal for almost every year after my pre-teens. It was always different than photography because it didn't (for me) capture so much the joy that photography can, it helped process confusion and often pain of life.
In my middle school years I had a series of unfortunate events happen to my outward appearance. Those cool straighteners weren’t a thing yet, so my hair frizzed way out, I had braces and an questionable love for all things Limited Too. As most girls in middle school, I loved Teen Vogue. But slightly less for the beauty tips and more for the articles. In the 8th grade I collaged together my first magazine with many ideas of what type of articles I would write alongside the oh-so-fashionable photos I was going to take. In high school I made a friend who shared my affinity for photography. We’d use our little point-and-shoot cameras, miscellaneous lamps found around the house to create a photography studio in my room.
I ended up pursuing only photography at Hallmark Institute of Photography. A whirlwind of an experience educationally and socially lasting only 10 months which left me — a then 18 year old— with $50k in debt, not much life experience or change in world view, dumped into the “real world” to “make it”. Don’t get me wrong, I learned so much in a short amount of time and to be ungrateful would be a disservice to what I did take away. I definitely got to polish my craft but I needed more time to mature before I could start a business and/or make the decision to go into so much debt.
Fast forward to this past summer in my last weeks of pregnancy and first weeks of postpartum. I'm devouring Elizabeth Gilbert's "Big Magic" wherein she encourages her readers to have the courage to bring forth the creative treasures within you and enable yourself to let go of fear holding you back from a creative life. As with her previous notable memoir "Eat. Pray, Love" she uses her journey of creative living alongside the stories of others to encourage the reader to look within. What is whispering to emerge?
Through reading her book, previously reading "The Crossroads of Should and Must" and lots of curious thought I realized it's writing. I really do believe it was there all along but it was such a whisper I couldn’t hear it calling. Of course I love to write! Somehow I missed that. Here I am upset because I don’t have a thriving wedding photography business and I never wanted one in the first place! It feels so freeing, really. Discovering what has always been a pastime for me is an actual passion I need to pursue was a little like realizing you’re in love with your “just friends” best friend.
For the past six months it’s been a quiet journey. I’ve stayed unknown, and haven’t really shared my desire to write but with close friends and Ty. For these past months I've been writing here and there, ironing out what I actually want it to look like. I knew I wanted to write about the things in life I experience and see. I think it originated alongside my desire to photograph what I see and not what I pose. I want to be raw and show others where I am now. The doubt I felt in God, my crisis of faith, the journey of motherhood, etc. It's SCARY. Like real scary. I suppose any sort of creative art or way in which we put ourselves out there is hard. But you know what? We can do hard things.
In the past I’ve been paralyzed by thinking I can only post in the categories I put on my blog. Family, motherhood, summaries of photo sessions …how do I fit what I really want to write into tidy categories? And what if I don’t want to be limited to just a “mommy blogger” but it’s also the season I’m in? The questions of "why?" immediately follow. My story isn't all that interesting, is it? Who would want to read about my life? And I hear E. Gilbert say whisper "What if you just create because it makes you come alo
Here’s what I’ve concluded for me: it doesn’t matter what my inner critic says because I’ve been incredibly impacted by others willingness to share their stories. That “me too” I feel within when I read someone else's story resonating within me is irreplaceable. It makes me feel known when I felt like I couldn’t be. Thats my why. Because maybe writing not only helps me get curious about this creative whisper within but also maybe it will inspire you or my biggest hope— let someone know they are not alone.