Recently, Girls Behind The Rock Show featured me in their Photographer Friday segment (which I'm still so stoked about by the way) and part of that segment was completing an interview that included some questions about how you got started. They asked when I knew I wanted to be a photographer and that got me thinking about my journey and how much my life has changed.
I started my young adult life thinking that I had to land a career job but only after I spent my years in school obtaining a college degree and doing the societal "norm" for the most part. So I did just that, I went to a state university and spent my three years there getting a Bachelor's of Science in Psychology. Immediately I started working full time in a group home taking care of individuals with developmental disabilities, typically working up to 60 hours a week and trying to shoot shows with any free time I had to keep some semblance of decent mental health. Taking pictures was always just something I was doing, but I never would have imagined it would take me to where it already has and to the places I hope to be soon. I was still so set on the idea that I had to do that same old societal routine, I had to get that 9-5 and I definitely needed benefits and I could not work in the music industry or in photography and gain either of those things. And at the time, I had all of those things; I always had an excess of money, a set routine, a day job. Now, I don't really have any of those things and I don't think I will again for the foreseeable future, because despite having financial and job stability I had little to no happiness in my day to day life. I didn't have any intrinsic motivation in these jobs at all.
So that's when my priorities shifted majorly, I was deciding to pursue happiness over stability. Since I left my very stable day job I've accomplished so much more than I could've hoped. I finally had the time that I had always wanted to invest into my publication, and since I've been able to commit more to it I've become Managing Editor at Kill The Music. I have been able to travel to LA twice (which would've been unheard of before. Can you imagine burning all of your vacation time within the first four months of the year?) and was able to attend the Independent Music Industry Conference which has opened up so many doors for me and introduced me to some truly beautiful people. I'm working several Warped Tour dates and I've been able to travel out of town for shows/festivals and go on short runs with local talent and I'm only continuing to plan more of this.
And this all sounds fabulous, don't get me wrong, but I'm also writing this currently technically unemployed. I'm looking to get two part time jobs that can pay my bills while allowing for flexibility for me to photograph and work music festivals around the country and tour. Sounds kind of cool and all but that also means living with a lot of uncertainty and barely scraping by most weeks. But this is it, there isn't a back-up plan for me. Music and photography are what I know and I've invested every fiber (and dollar) of my being to pursue my dreams. It's definitely not easy and it's always a little unnerving never knowing where your next paycheck is going to come from but I'd rather take that over the monotony of a routine day job that isn't fulfilling. And that's not to say the conventional path is wrong at all, we need people in those paths or else the world wouldn't function. But man, would the world be a boring place without the people that dare to follow their passions. One of the greatest pieces of advise anyone has ever told me (please keep in mind when he told me this I thought he was SO full of shit) was that as long as you're truly passionate about something, you'll find a way to make money doing it. And damn, it's true. I'm far from living off my photography, but everyday I'm a step closer to being there.
So this blog is half to help the people out that were like me and thought they couldn't pursue their dreams because of societies standards. Take a risk, (politely, or rudely if necessary) say "fuck you!" to anyone that doubts you for half a second or scrutinizes you for living a life that doesn't quite work into societies convoluted plan for you. Chase your happiness because you don't want to look back on your life and wonder why you wasted all of your golden years being miserable and hating what you do. But as I said that's only half why I wrote this blog, I also wanted to thank every single person who has ever supported me in any way along this process. My life has always been turbulent and chaotic and I truly can not thank everyone enough for helping me do what I'm meant to be doing. I could not be surviving and growing without the support I've received and DAMN I am forever grateful.