I want to start this post off by saying that I really am not fishing for compliments right now. I just want to write out my feelings. I am putting it out in to the universe in the hopes that perhaps it will ease my mind somewhat. Maybe it will heal my heart. Maybe it won't do anything. Maybe someone will read it, maybe no one will, but what is important is that I am feeling it and that I'm expressing it instead of keeping it locked up inside like I usually do.
Have you ever been to a party, and you've gotten all dressed up for it, you've done your make up a little more dramatic than usual, you think you look hot. You think everyone will be looking at you thinking how hot you look. Then you go to the bathroom, and you see you have a gigantic piece of spinach in your teeth, or that you've started your period and it's gotten on your pants, or you have a giant zit on your forehead that you had no idea was there. Suddenly perspective sets in, and you realize that you aren't as hot as you thought you were, and in fact, you feel a little bit ridiculous... a little bit embarrassed. The rest of the night you feel completely humiliated, and you spend any amount of time left at the party wondering how many people saw, and thinking that everyone is laughing at you. You don't feel hot anymore, in fact you feel quite a bit like a joke. Like a poser.
In February I started a photography business. I've gotten a few jobs, and I have loved every single minute of every shoot I have done. I love meeting new people, and I love capturing moments in their lives.
Now, don't get me wrong, I don't think I'm the greatest photographer or that anyone else thinks I am, but I am proud of my accomplishments and what I have learned in such a short amount of time. I look at my photographs and do think to myself, "You should be proud of yourself."
I have gotten several compliments on my work, and that makes me all the more proud of myself. However, I also lack confidence in myself, and find myself seeking validation... maybe a little too much. I analyze and overanalyze my work, and see all of the flaws and how it needs to be better but isn't. Then I start to worry that the people I have taken pictures for don't like them or won't like them. My stomach turns in knots, and I find myself just absolutely stressed out until I hear from them whether they like them or not.
Then I feel pretty good again... And all of those compliments make me feel so good about myself and help me to have more confidence in my abilities as a photographer.
But, it only takes one negative comment to trump all the compliments and make me doubt myself enough to feel ridiculous, that maybe I'm not good enough. Maybe people think I'm a joke. Maybe I should too. I become that girl at the party who felt on top of the world one minute, and stuck in a corner wondering who else is mocking her the next.
I'm not saying anyone has said anything bad about my pictures, but I guess I feel like if people aren't ecstatic about them, that they are just being nice. I'm sure they think the pictures are fine. Enough people must, because I am getting jobs. I just have to admit that I feel like I'm trying really hard to be something that I don't deserve to be.
I didn't go to school to learn this trade. I have taken a class or two in high school and that is it. I feel like I can't call myself a photographer. I feel like all other photographers would laugh at my efforts. Perhaps they look at me as a wannabe, or someone trying to be something she's not.
I think I worry too much about what people think of me, but I can't help but wrap my own self esteem up in everyone else's opinion of me and my work.
I don't want to be a wannabe. I don't want to be a "fake pro photographer who works from her home," - something said on another photographer's blog... I actually really resent that statement. It actually pisses me off quite a bit.
Is it wrong for someone to try and help provide for her family? Am I any less of a photographer if people see something in my work that they like, and are willing to pay me for it? Because I didn't go to school, that makes me a fake?
Yeah... maybe it does. I don't know. But what I do know is that I love to take pictures, and I love to make people happy. If I can do both of those things and ALSO help provide for my family, then I guess I'm a fake. I'm a great big, giant, fake, wannabe, poser, joke. And it does sting a little bit, and I will probably continue to feel like a fake, a phony until a magical day when I won't anymore.
The truth is, I love what I do. Other people love what I do. And who is anyone to make me feel like there is something wrong with that? Why do I let it affect me so negatively? Enough to almost, (ALMOST) want to throw my hands up and give up...
Now I have a choice to make. Do I let myself out of the corner and laugh about the giant zit on my forehead, and enjoy the party? Or do I exit stage left and never show my face again?
I'd like to enjoy the party. Is that okay? Is it okay to try hard not to feel ridiculous? Is it okay to crawl out of the corner and dance and sing at the top of my lungs and try not to worry about what other people are saying? I would very much like to do that, but it seems so many want to see people suffer and feel less than they are.
So, there you have it. I feel like a joke. A bit ridiculous, and a lot foolish for trying to pass myself off as a photographer. But, do you know what? My husband and my son and the rest of my family and most of my friends are cheering me on, and that really should be all that matters.
But why isn't it?
Anyway, that's how I feel, and it kind of sucks to feel this way. I honestly teeter between feeling like no one cares, and everyone cares too much... (like other photographers who think someone like me is lame, or makes what they do look bad).
So, whether anyone reads this or not, it's out there, and it's how I truly feel right now. Kind of sad and depressing isn't it?
I have no self esteem anymore.