January is a time of reflection for most. I suppose it’s a time of reflection for me, too. I’d be lying if I said I haven’t spent the last two months entrenched in what has happened over the past year, and what I want to happen in the next. It’s consumed me, really. I have made so many lists: goals, to do, budget, more goals, making it happen, workshops, more to do, branding, more goals. Lists, lists everywhere; strung on walls, crumpled in trash cans, scratched into Anthropologie catalogs and Moleskines, on post it notes and fashion spreads. I have big plans for my business. Big dreams.
I heard somewhere that if your dream doesn’t scare you, it’s not big enough. I assure you, my dream terrifies me. Wakes me up in the middle of the night sweating and gasping for air. What if it actually comes true? What if I actually do this? Or worse: What happens when I do this?
A few weeks ago Mary wrote a post about being honest. Really truly deeply look-yourself-in-the-face-and-tell-the-truth-dammit honest. She wrote about writing. One. Honest. Thing. So here I am, being honest. Hiding behind an assortment Instagram photos and laying it all out there. Raw. Unfiltered. Real.
I’m terrified, really. I’ve never had a dream come true and then stayed with it once it did. I wanted to be a professional snowboarder in high school. My first chance at sponsorship landed me in a voluntary retirement. “I’m getting hurt. I fall often. I’m going bigger, harder, faster, and it is putting my body at too much risk.” I quit. I wanted to dance. I started taking ballet twice a week at two studios in the arts district of downtown Minneapolis. I danced whenever and wherever I could. Then I quit. “I am starving myself. I am obsessed with dancing. I want a normal life.” I hung up my pointe shoes. I’d love to tell you I never looked back – but I look at those shoes often. And with a quiet longing that surprises me still. I took on the collegiate world, and by storm nonetheless. A 4.0 student with her eyes on Harvard, I filled out the application and had it reviewed by top professors from my school. “This application is strong, young lady. I am very impressed. Best of luck out East,” they’d say. It sat, postage paid, in an envelope on my kitchen table until days before the deadline. I finally picked it up, breathed a heavy sigh, and tossed it into the recycling. I didn’t even chase that dream — I said no before anyone could ever tell me yes.
Fast forward a bit (as I fear I’m losing your interest) and I find myself here. Sitting at the counter in the home where I grew up, a clothes-less toddler next to me eating Japanese cookies, writing a blog post about the very core of who I am: a quitter. A giver-upper. A quit-before-you-can-fail-er. I quit. Before I can fail. That’s it. That’s my honest thing. I quit before I can fail. Even though I have never had reason to believe I would, there was always the chance that I might.
I’m not afraid to fail anymore. I’ve written down my goals for this business, this dream, and the steps that it will take to get me there. I have also written down what it looks like if I don’t get there – what failure actually means. Once I did that, the fear dissipated. Because it’s not failure. No matter how this journey ends, no matter where I end up a year from now, five, ten, fifty, this road that I am on right.now. is the absolute right one. With every mistake I make, with every frame I shoot, with every chance I take on this venture I become deeper rooted in my belief that this is exactly what I was born to do. To live a creative life. To be a photographer. A mom. A blogger. A quilt maker. A knitter. A quitter. A dreamer. A laugher. A hoper. A wisher. And insane overuser of suffixes-er. To be exactly here, exactly now, exactly who I am, at precisely this.very.moment. Happy twenty-dozen, friends.
Here’s to dreaming so big it’s scary. To being okay with failure. To being honest. To being me. To being exactly you.