Sunday, September 30, 2012

HINGE MOMENTS REVEALED

Lonely
It's Sunday and I'm at rest. A half a day's respite from the flux of family issues and people moving in and out of my life. It's 90 degrees outside and I could be at the beach but no, I'm indoors alternating my reading between 2 books, Quitter by Jon Acuff, and Caged by Cameron Conaway. 

I took this photo with my iPhone while walking the streets of Santa Monica this summer. My eyes were riveted to the older lady and her pug watching life parading past from the upstairs window and hoped she didn't mind getting her picture taken. When I raised my phone to take the picture I was surprised as well as saddened to realize the geriatric spectator and her pet were cardboard cutouts. One of my greatest fears is living my octogenarian years plagued with regrets for not possessing the courage to take risks with my dreams. The tragedy being a cardboard cutout version of myself.

I bought Quitter hoping it would provide a magic formula to effectively quit my mindless day job and make my dreams to become a full-time photographer and abolitionist a reality. But I was slammed with Jon Acuff's words in the first chapter: 

"We demonize our day jobs when we dream. We make them enemies of what we really want to do. But if you dream the right way and learn how to quit the right way, your day job can actually be your dream job's greatest ally." 

Gulp.

I'm only a few chapters in but my perspective has been shaken with a magnitude of 8.9 on the Richter scale. It's the in-your-face-booya wisdom I needed to read especially on a Sunday when I battle depression over the prospect of my dreary day job on Monday morning. Jon writes about a hinge moment. It "occurs when you are planning to do something standard and normal, something you've done many times before, like turn a key in the ignition. And then seemingly out of nowhere, something, a small detail usually, hinges you in a different direction."

He poses five questions which help determine your own hinge moments. "Ask yourself these questions. Love yourself enough to actually write down your answers." While I read over the questions my answers popped into my mind like overzealous microwave popcorn. 

1. What do I love enough to do for free? 
Hello, easy question! 
Photography- I love it so much I DO do it for free which has been detrimental to my business. I've learned to value my work in portrait and event photography but with street photography it quickens my blood. Trolling the streets  with my camera doesn't provide income. I photograph on the streets because I LOVE the people, the thrill of candid shots, and the unexpected. 
Abolitionist- For the past 5 years I've volunteered for a non-profit organization, My Refuge House, to help victims of human trafficking/slavery in their restoration, rehabilitation and reintegration. I've used my photography to raise awareness during various human trafficking conferences. When I meld the two together-photography and abolitionist work-I am fully engaged with love for the work
Writing/Blogging-I write because it's as essential as breathing. I'm never without a journal and I'm grateful for technology and the writing apps on my phone. I write on my blog not for revenue, comments, or number of views but for the love of writing.  


2. What do I do that causes time to feel different? 
All of the above. When I'm photographing, volunteering, or writing, the hours are filled with so much exhilaration I ignore my stomach's insistent growling. I'm deaf to my body's pleas of nourishment when I'm involved in one or all of the things I love doing. 

3. What do I enjoy doing regardless of the opinions of other people? 
Again, all of the answers in question #1. I was raised in a family where affirmation was a foreign concept and I've learned to operate without it. The source of my fulfillment and enjoyment manifests from utilizing the gifts God placed in my hands. Regardless of the number of "likes" I receive or the number of followers I've acquired across all social media sites, I will continue to photograph, write, and volunteer because they make me happy. I will admit, though, that sometimes I fall into the trap of comparing myself with others. I DO question why another photographer's image garnered hundreds of likes on Facebook, why a blogger has thousands of followers, or why a volunteer was invited to an event. But falling into that abyss is short-lived because I'm quickly reminded of why I love being a photographer, abolitionist, and writer.

  4. If only your life changed, would that be enough? 
This is the question that I struggle with a little. If all my years as a photographer, advocate, and writer didn't impact anyone's life but my own I'm not sure if it would be sufficient. Part of why I do this work is to influence or help someone. I always say I can't save the world but my experiences can help someone. I won't stop being a photographer, abolitionist, and writer but I'd like to believe my efforts are helping someone.


5. Are there any patterns in the things you like doing? 
The decisions I've made and the experiences I love are centered around people and community. To me my photographs are uninteresting and lack depth if people aren't my subjects. My abolitionist work is all about helping the voiceless. My writing is an outlet for my mind and heart to help others through my voyage of revelation. 

What about you? What are your hinge moments?