24 August 2010

the road to success is paved with... angst?

I know even the word itself sounds dramatic and kind of old-fashioned, but there's something to be said for brooding. Sometimes you just have to take a few hours, a weekend, or a week, to mull over something, and to let all the stormiest of emotions flood your senses. Feeling bad, and allowing yourself to do so, to feel the worst of it, can feel so good. I was so into brooding this past weekend that I spent 3 hours wandering alone in the Botanical Gardens with my camera. With my iPod blasting and hoodie pulled up, I was the picture of teen angst.

There have been a lot of changes going on in my city, in my life, and in the lives of the people I love. Some heart-wrenching, and some wonderful. Life is growing more complex and the right answers are eluding me, both at steadily increasing rates.

I try to write about these things, but I also try not to write about them, here. I try to write, but the moment I hold back or try to transform my posts into something more simple and digestible, I succeed - my words turns to mush. No one wants to read mush.

I'm going to be honest with you and tell you that as my life is changing, so is this blog. As my parallel careers start to bloom and my audience grows, I kind of feel like the world is getting uncomfortably small, and that I should be somehow shaping what I write to meet my changing audience. I'm succumbing to the pressure to act like a grown-ass woman with a burgeoning career, basically.

But, I always swore that I would never affect my writing to earn a job, that if someone wouldn't hire me because of my blog, that company wouldn't be somewhere I'd enjoy working. I still believe this.

I'm thinking about my personal brand a lot, but not just for the sake of self-indulgence. I'm thinking about what my dream career and the company I plan to build with my own hands will look like when it is at its peak. I'm thinking about what I want to build the foundation of so that it can grow strong and successful. I'm thinking about what kind of people and businesses I would kill to work with.

I want my brand - the way I present myself here and everywhere - to be consistent with what I want to become. In doing this, I want it to be consistent with myself and what I love most. I'm hoping that if I do and say what I really feel, I will find opportunities that are what I really want to do, and what I'm honestly good at. I want people to want to hire me or work with me for what I'm really like.

I've been laying low and hiding beside my photos, using my lens to show what I've been seeing. Photography is something I'm comfortable with, and something that I work hard every single day on getting better at. I'm ready to work at my writing, at and getting better at being honest and expressive. This may mean my late-twenties angst (yes, I'm 27 now, so y'all know what that means) may surface from time to time!

A photographer who I greatly admire, Jasmine Star, talks a lot about how building a brand as a photographer is all about putting your real self out there, for better or for worse. Jasmine truly leads by example, and her work — and the way she presents it as something intimately tied to herself — is inspiring.

After a lot of thinking, brooding, feeling sorry for myself for not being where I dream of being yet, and then finally listening to Jasmine and other successful business people I admire, I've come to realize this: the best way to get where I want to go is to earnestly pursue what I love, and to be honest with myself and the whole world (critics included) about what my biggest dreams are, and about the process of achieving them.

So here is me being honest:

- I try to learn something new about photography or business every day because I feel like I know SO little

- I think I suck at Photoshop, so I signed up for a night class

- It's hard working full-time, teaching, planning a wedding, trying to become a photographer, and having long-distance relationships with my family and most of my close friends, but I always feel guilty when I say this because I feel so lucky, too

- I feel like I should be stronger, smarter, better, thinner, and more assertive than I am

- I'm so nervous about shooting my first FULL wedding next weekend. Help!

Here's to honesty, to my next post being more coherent, to being there for everyone I love in the best way I can, and to being okay with making huge mistakes and not knowing what the hell I'm doing!


Amanda DiPaq [Not A Model] said...

I loved this post Dallas. It really resonated with me. I think we are told so often to bury our feelings and just keep "smiling" when sometimes the best way to get through things is to feel our feelings, even if they are unpleasant.

I also really liked this line: 'if someone wouldn't hire me because of my blog, that company wouldn't be somewhere I'd enjoy working.' I'm constantly struggling with my own blog and how employers view me because of it. There were times when I even considered getting rid of it. But thank goodness I didn't.

I put a lot of pressure on trying to find my dream career while balancing my own ambitions of becoming a writer and dabbling in photography! Sometimes too much pressure.

I admire your honesty.

Dallas said...

Hi Amanda,

Thanks so much for commenting. When I write more personal posts, especially ones like this wherein I bare everything, I'm always nervous about the comments. I'm most afraid that no one will comment! Thanks for your kind words

I am so surprised to hear that you ever considered getting rid of your blog. I get so excited for every post of yours! It is so honest and you bring a great energy that is much needed on the sometimes grumpy internet! Please keep blogging.

Emmett said...

Hey Dal,

I took down my blog entirely when I entered the academic job market, simply for fear that any personal or political views might make it harder to get hired... I might be particularly sensitive to this concern in the context of trying to get a job at a university department (in political science no less), but I wanted to say I nevertheless definitely like the sentiment you express here about it, as well as the rest of the post (as usual).

Steph D said...

Great post Dallas.
I know things around us have been sucky lately so brood away :)

boucher said...

dallas you're such an inspiration!! I can relate to so many of the challenges you are facing, and your honest, determined attitude is such a positive and important thing! its easy to know but sometimes so daunting to do, and I think that breaking it down and really considering your goals and dreams makes them so much more tangible!

xxoo, ps beautiful engagement photos!!