Living a Brave and Passionate Story

I came across a blog post recently by Christina at Soul Aperture. The post was simple: a photograph, and a quote. The quote has been on mind ever since I read it: "It's not only children who grow. Parents do too. As much as we watch to see what our children do with their lives, they are watching us to see what we do with ours. I can't tell my children to reach for the sun. All I can do is reach for it, myself." ~Joyce Maynard

It resonated with me deeply, because this, I have come to realize, is a significant part of why I do what I do. Yes, I am a photographer because I love it. I love telling people's stories. I simply love taking pictures. It is my primary means of connecting with the world. And obviously, I do this to make a living, too. Because if I didn't, I would have to do something else. (Unfortunately, we need money to live.) But no one, no one, ever entered this field as a quick and easy way to get wealthy. Trust me. There is nothing easy about it. It is a career of passion- the kind of thing that you would have to do whether you ever made a penny from it or not, because it so much a part of you. And that's the thing- I would do it anyway. I'm pretty sure nearly any photographer you ask would agree with that. So why have I chosen this path- even though it's hard, even though people have told me it's not practical or possible...? It is because of those things. I guess you could say I'm a rebel like that- tell me I can't and I will do everything in my power to prove you wrong. (This goes for myself too- because I haven't always believed I can do this, so proving myself wrong on that point is sometimes my biggest motivator...) I believe that it is a travesty that anyone should ever be unhappy with the the job they are doing. I think our society has come to believe that work is by definition something that is not enjoyable. If you love your work and would do it anyway, then some would even say you're not working at all. I strongly disagree. We will do our best and hardest work if the work we're doing is something we're passionate about. And our lives will overall be happier and healthier because of it.

I want my children to grow up seeing their mom doing work that she's passionate about. I want them to see me working hard and making it, despite all challenges and naysayers. I want them to see me persevering and ultimately thriving. I want them to see that a woman can run a business and a home. I want them to learn from observing my life that they are not limited- that they can do anything they want with this one life they have been given, and that it should be the thing that they are most passionate about. I don't want them to choose the "safe" or "practical" paths. No truly happy person has ever done that, and certainly no one who has changed the world. World-changers are always risk takers.

While I was writing this post, I came across this one on Katherine Center's blog. It was about art that she contributed to the mom 2.0 conference. I simply adore both of the pieces in this post. One says, "You are writing the story of your only life every single minute of every day." The other says, "You have to be brave with your life so that others will be brave with theirs." I want to plaster these words to my walls and tattoo them on my arms. We're writing the story of our lives, my friends. Every day matters. Spending my time doing something that is unfulfilling and not meaningful to me is not a story I want to be written or read about my life. I do what I do because I want to live out an example of a brave and passionate existence for my children, and for anyone else who's watching.

{self portrait 1, may 2012 and freedom {mary}, 2011}