I'm a night owl. I love venturing Richmond during the day of course, but there is something magical that happens once the city lights start gleaming. They bring about a strong desire to practice teaching myself long exposure night photography. So much so, that I am unable to fall asleep until I get out there and take at least one image for the night.
For the first time last night, I wandered over to the Manchester Bridge. I honestly never thought it was possible to find complete peace and clarity within city limits, but this stroll turned out to be one of the most serene and profound walks I have taken yet. There were no people in sight, and only a few cars would pass by here and there. As I walked along the pedestrian walkway, I took in the night air and the city lights, along with the sounds and smells of the James River — all the while being completely lost in thought. I really got to thinking and contemplating the person I am — who I have become, and who I will become in the days that continue to swiftly pass me by.
I have always been the type of person who has had a very artistic soul. The kind of soul bursting at the seams to break free. I have not been able to find my "niche". I am unable to draw more than a stick figure — could never sing more than a hum — certainly unable to dance very well — too much energy to burn for sitting down to sew, and my attention span is too short for writing novels, but photography — photography is something that is in my blood. Something I think I have been too afraid to set free and too afraid to discover. I come from a long line of photographers — grandpa was a professional photographer, his brother, my cousin, and my younger sister as well. The list goes on and on I am sure... For whatever reason, whether it was fear that kept me away, or just that maybe it was always too obvious to see because it was in front of me all along, either way — I am thrilled this passion has finally found a way to me somehow.
I know we as human beings, tend to live our lives in unnecessary fear — maybe we are too afraid to fail — maybe we feel we are too old to learn anything new — maybe we feel like we are never good enough, or the people around us are discouraging us from finding something better. These are all thoughts and scenarios that have plagued me over the years, but I have realized that sometimes people are just unhappy, and sometimes they want others to stay unhappy with them, including ourselves. Sometimes we can be our own worst enemy, and sometimes it is easier for us to just remain still.
During this particular walk yesterday, and during a long conversation with my sister, I have accepted the fact that I am a natural born dreamer, it is my purpose to dream. It is my gift, and my responsibility, to do everything in my power to keep dreaming until I achieve something in life that sets my soul free. Not to make others happy, or to make others like me, but for myself. Something that has to be done to bring my life, and my time here on earth newfound meaning.
Even if I may not ever become a professional photographer, or become the best at anything, I will always get better than the first day I started, and most importantly, there will always be people in life that inspire me to be better and to keep me moving forward. If it were not for these special people, the beautiful city lights of Richmond, Virginia, and the ability to break free and wander — I may have not ever come to this realization.
If you are a lot like me, my hope is that you find what makes your life worth living and that you won't stop dreaming and trying until you find it, and even then you won't stop. At that point, my hope is that you will use your gifts and talents to help inspire others and make their journey through life a little lighter.
I will leave you with a few thoughts to ponder:
As I recently read from Richard Wilkins:
"Miracles start to happen when you give as much energy to your dreams as you do to your fears."
As my sister Emilee once told me when I was starting out:
"It is not the camera that makes the photographer–it is the vision."
And as I have just come to understand right as I am writing this:
Life was never supposed to be about ourselves. Life was meant to be about spiritual growth, and doing everything in our power to help and inspire the world around us.
This is the path I am currently wandering and I'd love for you to come along.