Thursday, May 18, 2017
The Creative Unknown
I've never really considered myself a creative person. In fact, I've actually said the opposite, that I'm really not that creative. In reality, when I look back on my life as a child, I was very creative and was always interested in activities that involved creativity like dance, art, and even poetry! I'm not sure when it all came to an end, I think probably when I stopped dancing. I spent my entire youth fantasizing about a life in New York, dancing on the big stage with Alvin Ailey Dance Company and living the life of a creative. Things happened and that dream did not become a reality, so maybe that's when I shut it down. I remember feeling a sense of loss that came with the end of my dance career. As I sit here typing this, I can feel a swelling in my chest and a heaviness on my heart. That was a loss much greater than I ever admitted.
After buying my fancy camera and beginning my journey into photography, I felt that little spark again. I was thrilled to take that very first photography class and I spent days and nights studying everything I could about taking photographs and editing in Lightroom and Photoshop. I feel that over the last few years, I've grown tremendously and have come to appreciate connection I seem to have developed with my intuition. In yoga, creativity is associated with the lower chakras, especially the second and third chakras. As I have allowed myself some freedom in exploring my photography, I've connected with my inner voice in a way that I haven't been able to before. The interesting thing is that as I've tried to study and perfect my craft, I get a little lost in the perfection of it and lose that inner feeling so I'm trying to remember that there is a balance between the two.
The challenge for me in the moment is that I feel totally stuck right now. I feel a longing to do more than what I can yet I don't have the technical understanding to produce what I envision. I'm doing a 365 project where I shoot daily to help me further along in the process. I think what I'm missing in the moment is the feedback of the outside world. It's time for me to put myself out there in a way that I've never done before, AND THAT IS FREAKING TERRIFYING. Having this little hobby where I take pictures here and there and post them on Instagram and Facebook is one thing; getting the feedback from peers in your field is a whole other beast. I joined a small Facebook group, I'm talking a group of 6 or 7 people, with a goal to achieve CMPro. I won't go into a bunch of detail about what it is, but just know it's a difficult task to achieve and to get to the point of this post, involves the critique of others. It hit me hard when I sat down to critique the photographs of others and then read their feedback of mine. As I thought about each person examining my work, I felt a panic rise in my body. I felt a burning in my stomach, a tightness in my chest, and a frantic desire to hide and quit the group. Because I was having such a visceral reaction to this, I wanted to explore it further. As I thought about my fears, this is what I came up with.
1) They're going to discover I'm a fraud, that I don't belong to this group, that there is absolutely no reason that I should even be considering a feat such as this
2) They're REALLY going to discover I'm a fraud when they read my critiques of their work because what the heck do I know?
3) They're going to think that I think more of myself than I should
4) Oh gosh, maybe I do think more of myself than I should
5) I'm the "worst" one in the group
I think that's it, though I'm sure I could come up with several more.
Wow, that's a lot! I mean, wow. I let those feelings of inadequacy come up because I needed to feel them. Then, I let them go. Because the thing is, those things might be true. I might be the worst one in the group, I might be a little inexperience technically and not ready for this process, but I'm ready to put myself out there. I am ready to here the truth about my work and to learn from women with the knowledge I seek. I am ready to be raw with my inner voice and trust that it's all a part of the process. I am ready to enjoy the process and be where I'm supposed to be, in the process.
The next thing I did was go to that Facebook group and tell them, hey guys, I am totally nervous about this and worried y'all are going to wonder why I'm here. Of course, they were all very supportive and the fear disappeared. For now, anyway. I've learned, though, that this whole being authentic thing is a lot of walking through fear and trusting in my ability to handle what comes my way.