And then one day, along comes this crazy idea that I can be a bit creative, a bit whimsical, a bit magical. All of a sudden, a road opens up before me that is so alluring, so enticing, so very much where and who and what I want to be. That road is photography. The destination is for me to have a fully fledged photographic business where I can call the shots (forgive the pun), where I can be creative, where I can do something meaningful, that will last.
At first this road looks pretty straightforward, pretty smooth and even. So off I go! As anyone who has taken on a challenge like changing your profession can tell you, these roads are never without obstacles. Before I knew it, the stroll became a hike, became a climb, became a marathon. This road has not been without complications, but I have met each hurdle head on. And yet the road stretches out before me - further to go than what I have already travelled. Much further...
PLUS, there is a lot of traffic on this road, isn't there? Wowee! Everywhere you look is a studio, a camera resting on a tripod, a flash across the crowd, a photography course here, a discounted lens there. Etching a little niche out for oneself in a very full market is nothing to sniff at. It takes guts. It takes getting yourself out of bed every morning and taking on the world. It takes shouting a little louder to make sure your voice is heard. It takes putting yourself outside of your comfort zone. It takes talking to strangers. It takes learning new skills. It takes support and encouragement from your nearest and dearest. It takes having a fan - someone who believes in you and what you're doing, who reminds you daily that they think you are terrific and that you are not, in fact, crazy.
All the time, I cling on to my dream, my hope that one day I can bravely face the world and say: "Look! This is me! This is what I do! And I'm proud to show you, because I know I did good!"
Very recently, while finding my way on this journey, I was offered an escape route to the road I knew before. I was asked to return to the field of nursing as a research assistant. The pay was exceptional. The hours were great. It was an easy exit. For a moment, I stopped. And I had to take a good long think.
Was it even a question? You may ask. This was a ticket back to a normal life, a normal job, a normal income. Security. Respect. What I have now is not normal. I do not earn a living wage. I do not contribute to the financial upkeep of my family. These are difficult times. The economy is ultra shaky. The cost of living is enormous. Why would I even hesitate at an offer like this?
The job offered would have required of me to be involved in an area that is in direct opposition to my dream of photographing pregnancy and newborns. I wondered how prospective photographic clients would react if they knew I had worked in the field of termination of pregnancy, conducting, recording, facilitating. There was a moment where I held Nursing in my left hand and Photography in my right hand, weighing them up against one another, feeling their individual as well as their combined weights in my hands.
I had to make a choice. And either choice excluded the other option. I was at the point of no return. Either I took up the offer to research second trimester abortions, offering me a foot in the door back into the profession I first qualified in, and forget ever trying to truthfully capture the magic of pregnancy and the newborn photographically, or I turned the offer down, a sacrifice, and continued my journey on a road which is difficult, to say the least, which takes me further away from the profession I started out in, with no guarantees regarding my safe arrival at my imagined destination. I chewed on my options for a long time. Really, I did.
I chose the dream.
I wonder... what would you have done?