Where have you been?
Honestly, that's a hard question to answer, but I'll give you all a picture of what's been happening. This has been a trying year, one that at many times I've wondered if I could possibly make it through. I haven't known whether to share it all or to keep it to myself, but what I'm realizing is that there has to many others going through very similar situations and they have no encouragement to continue on. To be able to overcome we have to first be able to admit not only that there's a problem and that it will not destroy us, but it will make us stronger. So, I guess I should start at the beginning.
On May 29th, in the evening I was shocked to find out that one of my greatest early inspirations, and quite possibly one of my oldest friends, had passed away. He was only 25, and beyond the initial shock I found myself at a loss for words. From the beginning I questioned whether I was good enough to pursue photography and actually be worthy of your support. I expressed that concern to him, and he told me that not only did I have an eye, but that I was in fact good enough. Honestly without that conversation, and many other like it with him, I'm not sure if I would have continued to grow and allow this to be a source of excitement for me. I want to continue to move forward in this and honor his memory. I must push forward knowing that it's what he would have expected out of me, and I must expect the same from myself. I wish I could say that this was the only major change in my life, but sadly it was not.
As I've struggled to deal with the loss of my childhood friend, I was met with even more bad news. Even as I write this I wonder if I'm ready to share this. To this point I've not written anything about this, which is probably why I'm having the hardest time now with expressing it. July 14, I was forced to say goodbye to my grandmother. When we lose someone that we've known our entire life, it's hard to explain just how it feels. I won't sit here and say that every moment with my grandma was great, that would be a lie, but what I will say is this... I love/loved my grandma, and I really miss her. From the time I began doing this work, my grandma was my most vocal family member. She saw in me what many who actually saw me everyday couldn't see--she saw that I could do this and be great. She always took the time to make sure that I was alright, she always seemed to be worried about me, and there was nothing that would stop her from taking time everyday to pray for me. It was after she died that I realized I had taken her for granted. I miss her more than I could ever express.
This summer has taught me that life is pain and that doesn't mean that we cannot find happiness, or that it will always be struggle, but the biggest part of being human is learning how to deal with that pain and turn it into strength. I will say this, with everything that has been happening it became hard for me to know where I needed to be and who I needed to be. I've spent the last three months questioning everything. I was so gripped by it all that I honestly had nothing left in the tank to be creative. During that span of time I had done two shoots, and I questioned whether I really should be doing this still. I was close, more than once, to selling my camera (not sure if i should have shared that). Here's the thing, in life we are going to be met with adversity, learning the purpose of those adversities and channeling our energy into being a blessing to those around us. What's added more weight to all of the loss (I've said on more than one instance) is that I was even not worthy of people's time. I've written all of this to say whatever you are currently going through or being oppressed by, know that you will make it through. I promise you I haven't given up and there's a great deal of new work coming very soon. Once its all completed I'll be sharing it with all of you, I can't wait to hear all of your feedback.
As a friend told me recently, I have to be patient with myself, there's no need to rush the process. That's what I'm focused on doing and I hope that you aren't thinking of giving up. You've got this!