Ever since I was in 8th grade, I knew I wanted to be a family therapist. I loved listening to my friends and helping them through the drama with their schoolgirl crushes. I wanted to help people live healthier lives - not by telling them what to do, but instead asking them questions and helping them explore their situations and see them in a different way.
In college, my love affair with counseling grew. I got my Master's degree in Marriage and Family Therapy and I thought, "This is it. This is what I've been working towards my whole life and I have found my purpose." I loved it. I loved learning about how to get people to re-frame their situations and see it in a different light, helping parents set boundaries with their kids that would work for their family, and teaching couples the power of 'I Statements'. It was slow work. It was frustrating at times. But I loved it.
I started working as a school counselor at high school but I had this interest in photography. I was always the friend with the camera, the one taking the photos of everything on family vacations and I wanted to learn more. So I enrolled at the Houston Center for Photography so I could learn how to take photos in manual mode. I had always loved photos and creative-type things, but I wanted to learn how to take a good picture and what makes a good photo a good photo. While there, I learned about composition, aperture, ISO, shutter speed, panning the shutter, and so much more. It was hard getting the hang of "the triangle of exposure" but I kept working at it (i.e. taking a lot of photos of my dogs) until I figured it out. Learning that was so foreign to me, but I was hooked.
After I had the hang of getting proper of exposure, then the real work began - photographing people. What a learning curve! But I found that my therapist skills came in handy when it came to calming people's fears about how they looked and easing their anxiety.
I loved photographing people. So much so, that in 2012, I filed for a DBA. That was the scariest decision I have ever made this far in my life. I know that may sound silly, but it meant that I was really starting a business all my own. I never set out to have a photography business. I never learned how to be a small business owner. And yet, here I am, doing my thing paying sales taxes and making websites. It's still so weird to think that I own a small business and it's profitable!
Eventually, I left the therapy field completely and went to photography full time. It was a hard transition, but it was something I knew was right for me. You see, every time I pick up my camera, I get a rush of adrenaline. I love being creative. I love learning new techniques. And I slowly realized that I never got that same thrill from therapy. Being a therapist is one of the hardest jobs out there. It will mentally tear you apart if you let it. Every day, people tell you their struggles, heart aches, and downright horrible situations - and it's your job to hear it all, not freak out, and help them through it. It's a honor that people entrusted me with such sensitive material and I am so thankful for all of my therapy clients that I had in the past.
But this is a new day and a new me. I'm no longer plagued by thoughts of 'how can I help so-in-so find purpose in their life?' but instead it's replaced with, 'will so-in-so be happy with what I've created?'
I want to end this post by asking you one question: What does your perfect day look like? The answer to this question should be the end goal for your life. Your life is what you make it, so if you know where you are headed, it's a lot easier to take the steps to get there and make that happen. It wasn't until I asked myself this question that I realized that I needed to leave the thing I had worked so hard towards for so many years. You see, in my perfect day, I have a camera in hand, so I know I'm on the right track...