Someone once told me to do what you love and life will follow. Don't we all hear that? Okay, I like to eat pizza, watch netflicks, and cuddle with my dogs. It's a true passion, so who wants to pay me? ANY TAKERS?! It was a struggle to find a career that everyone around me seemed to have and somewhere in the midst of life, my passion found me. And no, I don't get paid to eat pizza and cuddle with my dogs... yet.
I had thoughts of what I could do, but lead with you heart and the rest will follow. Gosh, why do I keep hearing this. So after high school, I went to college. The career counselor ask me what major I would enjoy to pursue. I thought really hard. I enjoy listening to stories and helping people... "okay, a psychology degree would be perfect for you," she said. So I signed up for PHYSC 101. Somewhere in the middle of bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, I felt a bit sadden. "I want to hear stories, but I want to hear happy stories," I said. A semester later I was back at my counselors office. "What else do you have for me?!"
After I thought about it for a month, I signed up for tourism and recreational management. "I love to travel and see the world." I discussed career opportunities at career fairs and talked with professionals in the area of my new degree. "You can manage our resorts in Mexico, live on the beach. Or you can take over this resort in Hawaii," he said. Pointing to the most luxurious place I had ever seen. At some point in our conversation, I was putting myself on a beach and envisioning my future family. Sitting in a small apartment, my kids away from their grandparents, and taking long flights back home to see them. My ideas of becoming a traveling resort manager came to reality. "This is great for a single person, but I want a family," I thought. Back to the career counselor I go!
I remember driving to our meeting and watching the sunset. I told myself, "I don't want to miss it." We met and decided a Communication degree would suit best. It very basic, but you can do a lot with it. So, of course, I dabbled in Sports Broadcasting and was able to work with the Oakland Athletics and Fox News. It still didn't hit the spot. And to be honest, I don't know a whole lot about sports. At this point, it was time for me to graduate. So I put on my cap and gown, walked across that stage and took that degree I wasn't sure still what to do with.
Right after college I got offered a salary position with benefits. I mean, this is what you dream about after finishing college, right? I started the work force and was ready to set into my career, but a little thing called your gut was the only thing against it. I lasted nine months in that cubical, by the end, it had taken a piece of me. How do you spend your whole life having society tell you what to do, to find out you don't like it. I was laid off and at the time very devastated. Although, looking back, it was the best thing that had ever happened to me.
See you go through life and people tell you, "you need to be good at everything." You can pretend and "fake it until you make it." Well, I found out that isn't true. I decided to take a break. Honestly, I had stressed about having the perfect career from the moment I stepped into college. As if I didn't find it right away, I was doing something wrong. The only wrong thing I was doing was not listening to myself. Someone once told me you have to hit rock bottom, lay flat on your back, and look up at the stars. The only other way is up. I got up, brushed off my backside, and for the first time in my life listen to that gut of mine. I did what I wanted to do, I took some time to think, and somewhere in the middle of all that, the camera found me.
Around my 25th birthday, my cousin took vows with her husband. It was a gorgeous blue sky day in Colorado. I sat in the chairs as the perfect breeze crossed my face with the smell of pine trees and warm summer air. It wasn’t until a few hours after the ceremony, after dinner and speeches were made, a moment I would never forget popped on the dance floor, my grandfather. He had suffered through dementia and his health was slowly failing. I think he held on because of the love he had for my grandma and their 65 years of marriage. I could not tell you what song was playing or how I wasn’t somewhere else for the five minutes he walked on the dance floor. Although, looking back, I am happy I was at the right spot at the right moment. Also, that someone was there to capture it. My grandfather had taken the lead while humming the sound of the big band he once loved and we danced. It was for that five minutes the dementia had worn off and he was back to being grandpa.
It was through that photograph, I was allowed to re-live that moment again and again. It was through a camera that someone was able to freeze that moment and through years to come, be in that place with my grandfather.
I was always intrigued by photography. I loved the candid moments between the love of a family and all the happiness they share, but more intrigued by moments in between a couple. I was so intrigued that my husband caught on. On my birthday, he handed my a bag and inside was my first DSLR camera. As much as I enjoyed photographs, I did not have the slightest clue how to work a fancy camera. So I taught myself and took my two Springer Spaniels out and captured them. After ending up with more dog photos than I had ever wanted, I started to work with anyone and anything I could photograph.
My first couple approached me to photograph their wedding. When I showed up to the wedding I was a little nervous, but when I left I was hooked. The raw emotions, the tears, the laughs, the love. A hobby, I said. I mean, who can make a living off doing something they love, I told myself. The following year, I had more couples. "This can't be real," I told myself. The following year, even more COUPLES! I had followed my passion and haven't looked back since.
I can't believe I get to hang out with couples, tell jokes, laugh until we cry, hang out in some pretty freakin' amazing backdrops, and have dance parties in fields. AND I get to capture the love between two amazing humans.
I get to do something I love. Photography is an artful piece of storytelling. I am drawn to different stories, different people, and people that value the experience that I have to offer. So I get to hear the happy stories. I have captured many stories in different countries and I get to travel. I get to communicate what I do and direct my couples to get those laughs, cries, and moments in-between moments. I get to watch all the sunsets. In this weird way of following my passion, it was there with me the whole time. Everything I told that counselor of what I felt and what I wanted to do, fell into the right place when I followed my heart.