I came across this nugget of inspiration on Facebook this morning. It really hits home, so I thought I’d share it with you.
When I realized I wanted to be a photographer and then shared these dreams with friends and family or anyone who asked, I heard every word on that wall, every which-way you can read it. For every person who told me my dreams were in reach, there was another negative voice there to tell me they were worthless:
“You need a real degree!”
“What if you can’t pull it off? What are you going to do then?”
“Don’t you have a backup plan, like nursing? Nursing will always be needed.”
The best reactions were the back-handed compliments meant to make me feel guilty:
“You’re too smart for photography, why don’t you do something useful with your life, like practicing law?”
“Women have ample opportunities these days! You’re wasting it away to be a starving artist!”
“You graduated with honors! Any university would be lucky to have you!”
I’d be lying if I said those words didn’t affect me. My first year of college was tainted with these questions that made me second-guess myself and my dreams, my passion. Did I make the right choice? Can I actually, really, honestly, do this?
I had an “a-ha!” moment when my uncle, who also photographs for a living, told me I wasn’t a “real” photographer because I hadn’t taken some BS online test that “certifies” one is legitimate. I was shocked and absolutely broken. The rest of my family and my closest friends supported me, pulling me out of that dark place where confidence doesn’t exist. After emerging far enough to remember that I don’t take “no” for an answer, and realizing how utterly pissed off I was, I hustled forward more determined than before.
Why should I care about the opinions of the ignorant, the disbelievers? I knew right then that what I am doing is exactly what I should be doing, what I was meant to do, and what I will continue to do – despite what anyone says – because I love what I do.
Eleanor Roosevelt said it best:
“Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent.”