Do Something: An Open Letter To My Future Self
I am learning a lot about the lay of the freelance land these days. January has been cold and wet (hallelujah) and the space between "billable hours" has been quite unnerving. Several reliable sources have reported that these days don't last forever, which I am super glad to know, but that knowledge doesn't always equate to making these days any easier to weather. Slow is good (unless you're talking about cashflow) but it leaves an awful lot of vulnerable space for fear and self-doubt to make themselves at home. And that's kind of what happened... until this photoshoot. I had had a crap couple of days in the website creating department and was one step away from deleting the whole thing for the second time and filling out waitressing applications again for the countless time in my life. But then, thanks to Timehop, I was reminded of a sweet friend from an old waitressing job who had expressed an interest in modeling, and a couple of text messages later, we had a date.
It was the best photoshoot I never planned.
We are who we are for a lot of reasons, and I am a big believer in remembering where you come from, so I am writing an open letter to my future self with a batch of photos taken on a whim and the hope that the cold, wet, slow days of future Januarys will feel less unnerving and a little more inspired.
Dear Future Self,
It is okay to be scared. It is not okay to be scared into inaction. Focus on what you can do, can control, and can create instead of what you cannot. Build from there.
It is okay to feel insecure. Everything about what you're doing is insecure except your convictions. You must lean into what you believe is possible, embracing insecurity until you turn it into something beautiful.
It is okay to be unsure. Remember that the race is long, but it in the end, it is only with yourself. You are making an investment in yourself and building a career. It is not going to happen overnight. It may never happen at all. Invest anyway.
It is okay to be discouraged. The Sistine Chapel wasn't Michelangelo's first painting. You must practice. Look at life from every angle. Take photos of things that don't interest you until they do. Study the work of those you admire, but take care to create your own. Ask questions. Listen carefully to the answers. You will find your voice, your purpose, your way.
It is okay to get lost. In fact, it is better to free yourself enough to get lost on purpose. Explore without expectation. Look for inspiration in the places you never expected to be. That is probably where you'll find it... and when you do, do something with it. Something good.
It is okay to take a break. There is no substitute for hard work but knowing when to walk away, unplug, and recharge is essential. Go outside. Fresh air cures almost anything.
The only way this doesn't work is if you do nothing. So put your best foot forward even if you're not sure where you're going, pick up your camera and just go. Do. See. Explore. Restore. Believe. Create.
Do something... and don't ever stop.
Yours Truly, January 2016