Not so long ago I celebrated my 31st birthday with my amazing friends and family and it occurred to me that I have the best life! I have friends who love me, a son who is awesome, my cats; Horus and Marceline, who make life interesting (even when they crap in my room-i still love you guys) and a business I absolutely adore at least 99.9% of the time. My life is far from perfect and it is something I am actively and with intent putting some effort into. What surprises me is that even tho life can hand me the occasional shit sandwich, I have far more confidence and vive to deal with said sandwich, pick myself up, dust myself off and move on.
One such sandwich came about recently when I lost my job due to the contract coming to an end. The funny thing is, while the job itself was ok, the kids I worked with were so sweet, the work environment was stressful and my lovely child was not particularly dealing with Mum, never being home and would become sick all the time. However, I digress, let’s go back to the beginning…
I have always loved cameras, and I have been snap happy since a young age (although if I am honest I sucked right up untill recently), I got given my first camera when I was about 6 and somewhere in my house I still have a blurry picture of an emu I took at Auckland Zoo. It goes as far as having about 20 undeveloped rolls of film sitting in my downstairs fridge from throughout high school, just waiting till I can be bothered to develop them…ain’t nobody got time for dat.
So, you could say that I was destined to be a photographer all along right, but you would be wrong, I finished high school and I had no idea what I wanted to do. Hey who really does, I have been a chef, an early childhood teacher, a business person (I owned an online Jewellery store at one stage and kind of wish i still did so I could own allllll the pretties) and a copywriter. None of those were what I really thought I wanted to be and photography still does not fit with what I had intended for my life which was what “everyone” wants when they are growing up; to go to university, get a well-paying job as a doctor or a lawyer or something else well paid and to basically be successful. It has been somewhat of a rude awakening to find out that success comes in many forms and that particular form just was not for me.
What came as even more of a surprise was being jobless, stuck in a dead-end town with no prospects and hating my life. There is nothing like being monetarily poor to pull your priorities into perspective huh. Taumarunui is a gorgeous central North Island town with approx 5000 people. The money is all old, and to get a job it is as with many places all about who you know and hustling your butt off. After moving there about 2 years previously (about 5 years ago now) I had no clue what to do with myself, I had stopped looking for copywriting work because writing whole sites on travel around India when I couldn’t even afford Indian Takeout on what I was earning was depressing. I was at a complete stand still.
What made it all worse was the fact that having grown up in Kerikeri I left school with a class who have been wildly successful, I am in the company of world-class sailors, rugby players, Olympians, Nz representatives, Cleo bachelor of the year nominees, models, actors and business owners. Hell, even the girl who said she was going to have a huge family has like 8 kids so even she was successful at what she wanted to be successful at. And here is the issue, I have no clue if these people feel happy or successful, but social media would tell me that if I was to compare myself to these people at this stage of my life I was utterly and monumentally failing in comparison.
So, as I said I was horribly poor, had no life, lived in a town where I had very few friends and i didn’t even have a job, whats more I didn’t want a menial job I was “too clever” for that. And so I started taking photos again. I remembered how much I loved taking photos. I remembered how good it felt to create something beautiful, what was all the more important at a time in my life when I felt ugly and unsuccessful in and of myself as a human being. Photography for me is all about creating beauty, pulling it out or even dragging it out of whatever or whomever I happen to be photographing, and I have to say there is beauty in everything.
My epiphany came when I realised that if I was going to be poor (atleast in a monetary sense) then feck it i was going to be poor doing something I loved, and something that made me happy. What I didnt know at the time was that when you are doing something you love the money will surely follow.
So now, here I am, still doing everything I can to drag beauty into the world kicking and screaming if i have to. My confidence is sky-high, which mostly comes from the feeling that I am helping people, I have a purpose and that purpose is to show people how unique and gorgeous they are and what they have to offer the world. And I choose to do that through photography. And there are still many, many, many things that I need to work on personally, but I feel fulfilled, I feel wildly successful even if my bank balance may at times say that I am not. While I am continuously striving to better myself, I am also content with the type of person I am and the type of work I do.
I believe that purpose is the reason I feel so madly fulfilled now, I have found mine and I am doing everything in my power to do the best I can to realise my potential. I have to tell you being an entrepreneur and a business owner is forking hard work. I go to bed every single night exhausted, sometimes depressed but mostly elated because this little thing I am a part of here is going to become a big thing, and I am right here making it happen.
And here is how choosing a career I love boosted my confidence 100 fold, I have to tell you guys, if you can find one thing that makes you happy in your life and there is any possibility that you should be doing it as a career, but you are worried you wont make money from it do it anyway. Confidence comes from being authentically you, being true to yourself and doing what you are meant to be doing. For me that is creating beautiful artwork, and building people up so that they feel beautiful too. That is the reason I do what I do and I have to say a huge thank you for being a part of that. When I finally let go of all the stuff that would supposedly make me money and started focussing on what I wanted to do, what makes me happy I became happier. And a happier me has resulted in a more confident me, because it means there is nothing I cannot do.
So what do you do? What do you want to do? Let me know in the comments below I would love to see what amazing people I have in this community.
Gallery features a shoot of
MODEL: Kayla Bush
Photographer: Christiaan Gough
Edited By: Hayley Walmsley