During my drive to work this morning, I reflected on a few things: my sentimentality and my desire to stay safe.
It's now deer hunting season, which is my least favorite season of the year. This is the season when I avoid FB like the plague, cry when I see hit deer, and set boundaries with so many people in my life about hunting discourse. I've been a vegetarian since 3rd grade- initially because meat seemed gross- but I've recently come to the conclusion that there was no way with my personality, likes, dislikes, and neurodivergence that I would have turned out any other way. I have been diagnosed with anxiety and self-identified with ASD and ADHD. All that neuro-spiciness absolutely affects the way I think and I know that I have lots of nostalgia and feelings about the past, present, and future. I think that is one of the reasons why photography appeals to me so much. It allows me to capture the past as it was, slow down the present, and look forward to the future knowing that it is in my power to move into it.
My second thought about feeling safe came to me as I was reflecting on why it feels so scary and hard to contemplate leaving teaching for photography full-time, even though it remains one of my life goals. I go into fight/flight/freeze so frequently and it usually ends with a freeze, inaction, perpetual analysis of decisions, and the desire to stay safely in what I know. In the past year, I've considered why I decided I want to be a teacher beyond the desire to share knowledge- since we all know that's not what teachers spend the majority of their time doing. I appreciate the relationships I build, the breakthroughs and positive impact I can have, and all the Spanish we get to share... [AND] (hehe shoutout to UWEC!) I chose it because it was what I knew. It was safe. I made this decision in elementary school. It became a huge part of my identity as I got older. I did a mentorship. I wrote about where I wanted to teach when I was in EIGHTH GRADE. I am so stubborn that as I was taking ACTs and SATs and scoring well enough to do STEM as a woman with a full ride to a few different colleges, the more people questioned my path to education, the more strongly I resisted considering any other career. Engineering entered the picture solely for the idea of becoming an Imagineer... which would be the least safe goal I could have set for myself involving permanently relocating and working towards a job that few ever reach. I set myself easily (and timely) goals, all of which I have hit. Graduate in 4? Check. Work at Disney? Check. Masters? Check. Spanish immersion? Check. High School Spanish? Check. Tenure? Check.
And here I'm left asking myself... now what?????
For me, photography and entrepreneurship are those scary, unknown, murky goals. What does success look like for me in a totally new field that could veer in so many different directions? Branding, wedding, family, senior, landscape, real estate, newborn, maternity, engagements... you name it, there's a niche for that.
While I'm not ready to launch myself into the deep end full-time, dabbling in the shallows and learning has felt safe. It has not required me to overexert myself, try something and fail. Who wants to feel embarrassed? Absolutely not me. For now, I will continue to let my day job fund learning for my new dream job and enjoy the journey with everything it entails.