Friday, May 31, 2013


“It's seizing the day and accepting responsibility for your future. It's seeing what other people don't see, and pursuing that vision no matter who tells you not to.” ~ Howard Schultz

There is a narrative I've lived with most of my life. It went something like this: 

"You're never going to get anywhere in your life because you screwed up." 

"You don't have a degree. You'll amount to nothing." 

"Writing and photography won't make you any money. Stop thinking about that and go into the medical field where you'll make a lot of money." 

I come from a family who believes put-downs are ways of pushing you to excel in life. Their strategy escapes me as words of encouragement are more powerful but I've learned to accept it and move on. 

My choice to work in the medical field came from necessity and desperation as I became pregnant at 19-years-old. The photojournalism career I dreamt of wasn't an option as I raised 3 kids but I found ways to channel my creativity through writing and taking pictures. I was never without a journal and my film camera was always on hand. 

In the medical field I moved up in my company and learned valuable skill sets which helped me get to where I am today. (Without a degree.) My job as a pharmacy technician in the corporate world gave me the knowledge to interact with my photography clients and meet writing deadlines. Living hand-to-mouth wasn't a result of lacking a degree but poor financial stewardship on my part. 

Perseverance is key when you feel deflated. 

In the past 20 years, between the chaos of life, I continued to build my dreaming muscles in writing and photography. They were the outlets for my creative energies fueling the vitality of my life. 

I wrote on this blog even when I thought no one cared about my written words. Waiting for affirmation before taking action meant stagnation. Fascinated with the rhythm of powerful sentences I practiced writing in different ways until my unique voice sang from my pen. Writing was and always will be synonymous with breathing. 

Consistency builds your dreaming muscles. 

Five years ago I took a leap of faith and resurrected my dream of becoming a professional photographer. I taught myself by attending workshops, reading hundreds of blogs and books, practiced consistently, joining meet-ups, taking short courses, and aligning myself with other inspiring photographers. You can find the results of my hard work here.

As for my writing I have an arsenal of journals I write in, have taken a few online writing courses, continue to write in this blog, and photography blog. Each year I re-read my collection of grammar books and never fail to learn something new.  

This month I became a monthly contributor to the social justice team for the online magazine The Good Men Project. Through providence and hard work this opportunity came in my direction through a connection I made during my volunteer work with My Refuge House. Thanks to my editor and fellow justice warrior, Cameron Conaway, he was the impetus for making my writing dream become a reality. 

My journey has been fraught with naysayers, haters, doubters, obstacles, unwise decisions, disappointment, discouragement, and disillusionment. But the reward for my persistence in making my dreams come true outweighs the negative. 

I'll remain deaf to the voices of the haters and keep pursuing the vision no one else sees.