When I was in college, I was pretty confident in lots of things. I had the certainty that comes from never living one day out in the real world. Staring out at that world from my dorm room window, I thought I had a decent idea of how my life was going to turn out. I was going to travel, have a career as a teacher, get married, live someplace fabulous and gorgeous, and have a bunch of kids--four girls, to be exact. The details, like the names of the children, I was willing to negotiate on (somewhat). But I was pretty settled on the general plan. It was happening.
Fast forward a whole lot of years, and that plan I had basically went flying out the dorm room window. I don't really do any teaching in my job now. I don't travel. The state I live in was once voted the most boring state in the union. And while I have children, I have only one daughter. My dream of raising sisters did not materialize, and at this point it's not likely to. My past dream did not happen. And my dream for the future is still way in the future. I'm stuck in the middle, between the past dream and the future one. It's not a comfortable place to be.
For many years I fought being in this place. This spot, caught between two dreams, is not what I planned. I saw that the things I wanted weren't happening, and what was happening wasn't what I wanted. It was infuriating. It made me angry with my husband, for refusing to leave his home state. It made me resentful of the life I had, and bitter about the life I didn't have. It's incredibly hard sometimes to see the beauty in the "in-between".
At some point I decided I was sick of being unhappy with my life. The only way I could break out of my negative mindset was to find a way to see the lovely things in my actual, present-day life. I knew that I had a wonderful husband, and three amazing kids. Remaining angry about my life was only hurting my husband, and preventing me from being fully present with my children. I wanted to embrace my life, not fight it.
The problem was, I had no idea how to do that. All I could think of was to start doing something I truly enjoyed. When I closed my eyes, there was one former interest that came to mind. Photography was something I used to dream about doing, but over time it had fallen by the wayside. When I thought of finally getting into photography, I felt a little flutter. My heart started doing a little dance, and at the same time a lump of pure fear formed in my throat. But then I remembered something I once heard Iyanla Vanzant say: “If there’s not something in your life that pushes you to the point where the pee is running down your leg, then you ain’t living big enough.” What she means is that if you aren't doing something that means so much to you that the thought of it scares the pee out of you, then you aren't living as fully as you could be. The idea of exploring photography definitely scared the pee out of me, in a really good way. It felt scary, but totally right.
I had been taking pictures of my children for years, and still loved photographing them, but I felt like I wanted to try something else. I started taking my camera out, and simply photographing what I found beautiful around me. As I started to see my world through my camera lens, looking for a potential photo, a surprising thing started to happen. I began to see my surroundings in a whole new light. I noticed how the evening light in autumn made the fields glow. I noticed that the decrepit house on the way out of town looks like it has stories to tell. I noticed the radiance of the flowers in the spring. I noticed how the sun filtered through the trees on our family hikes. I stopped mentally complaining about what I was seeing, and instead started appreciating it.
It took a camera lens for me to see the awesomeness I had right in front of me. Once I started to do that, picturing where I could go with my life became so much simpler, and felt so much more possible. Photography was the beginning of my realization that I am still in control of my life, and that it's up to me to design it the way I want.
I am so glad you are here! Welcome to my blog. This is your space, too. My name is Amy, and I am no stranger to the ups and downs of life. Join me as we search for beauty, authenticity, tell our truth, and hold space for each other in the messiness of life.