I strongly believing in investing in education and make a point of attending one workshop each year. I love meeting other likeminded creatives and draw so much inspiration from being amongst that kind of artistic energy. Timing is everything.
I had just stepped off an airplane after attending a workshop in Iceland…my first BIG solo travel experience. Feeling exhilarated and already longing for my next big adventure the first thing I saw on my Facebook feed is Two Mann’s huge 6 Workshops on 6 Continents announcement!
I had been waiting for over two years…each time an announcement had been made in the past I hesitated and was too slow…the workshops would sell out so quickly…this time I wasn’t going to let that happen.I quickly emailed and asked where there were spots left….hoping that Canmore would be one of them…just a hop skip and a jump away for this prairie girl from Winnipeg Manitoba. Nope. Kenya. All that was left was Kenya. I felt a lump in my throat and a surge of disappointment. My incessant Fear spoke up….thats insane…I can’t do that. I went to bed disheartened.
The next morning I woke up and spent some time with myself reflecting. Sometimes the universe speaks to us and we do not hear her whispers. That morning I was listening and felt that I heard her loud and clear. It was all so perfect. You see…there were many many things in my life that had been steering me towards a turning point…well more of a slow curve because I am stubborn…but nonetheless…I was hungry for change. I had recently lost my beloved father. I was in an unhappy marriage. I loved my work but the paralyzing fear of failure held me back so much. I wanted to live a brave and authentic life more than anything. I needed the push. So I sent the email and said YES to Kenya. I had no idea where my life would be in 10 months time…but I was going to have an adventure to look forward to. In my heart I blindly knew that Erika and Lanny would push me to face my fears….and by pushing past those mental roadblocks…I would become a better photographer.
Fast Forward a few months and I had taken more steps towards that brave authentic life I wanted. However…sometimes your whole life needs to fall apart in order to be rebuilt. I was standing amongst the wreckage when I messaged Erika that I had to back out of doing the workshop. I had just separated from my husband, and needed to refocus on the kids and getting financially stable as a single mother. <<<insert eye roll here>>>….that was Fear talking again….not logic. It took me about two weeks before I messaged Erika again in hopes that my spot hadn’t been filled. “Fuck it, Im coming!” Erika’s response that I was her hero was enough validation for me. I feel that if you want something badly enough…you will find a way. I was doing it. I’d figure it out later. Erika and I spoke regularly during the final couple of months leading up to the workshop. She was so encouraging and helpful. Not only was I going to have the three day workshop with them…but Erika invited me along for the weeks that followed the workshop as well. My heart was so full. SO MUCH gratitude, fear and excitement. I wanted to set an example for my kids…to be brave in the world…to chase your dreams with all you’ve got. Never give up. So off I went…to Nairobi…by myself…to meet two of my photographic heroes…learn….grow…and see parts of the world I never imagined I would see.
Then it happened. The workshop almost fucking broke me. I wanted to quit. I was paralyzed with fear. Exhausted. I was the worst photographer in the whole world. I didn’t have what it took. I just wanted to go back home…crawl in a hole and hide. Sure they taught us some lighting tricks and such…showed us that they fail too…but my fear of failure was raising its ugly head and wanted me to throw in the white flag. There is no way my ego could survive.
“Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.”
I cried harder than I ever had in my adult life. Purging, letting go. Mourning my father and the loss of my marriage. If I wanted my life to be different…then I would need to make different choices. I had always been a fighter. A surviver. This is no different. I realized that I had one of two choices…I could either stay in my comfort zone and refuse to grow and evolve….or I could face my fears and see where I ended up.
“Adversity is change we haven’t adapted to.”
I chose the latter of the two. Photography is the thing for me. Its how I communicate with the world. It is my calling. It makes my soul happy. I realized it is worth the risk. In Lanny’s words “Failure isn’t fatal.” So now I shoot more…I take more chances. I get closer. I get dirty and uncomfortable. I still need to work very hard on silencing Fear when she speaks…but I am getting better at it. I feel more worthy. More confident. More open to failure…even though I HATE it. I know that as long as I have failed…I have tried. I won’t ever stop being brave and trying. Had I ever succumbed to Fear in the first place…I would not have met the Manns. I would not have found myself on the other side of the world making connections with incredible people having the experience of a lifetime.
“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” – Anais Nin
I am so very grateful. <3