Brave, Admirable, and Scared Shitless...

So, it’s been some time since I announced my indefinite wedding photography hibernation. I focused on creating personal art for months (while still wrapping up remaining wedding clients), and then announced and embarked on my new path - creating dramatic and artful studio portraits. I found a studio, the perfect one in the perfect location, and got to work. Oddly enough, I very vividly remember driving past this studio years ago, wishing it could be my space.

I invested time & money… made updates to the studio, purchased products I would sell, and tested many many prints and companies… The dust settled, and people began to hop on board with my new venture. As I booked new clients or sold art, a little part of my ‘wtf am i doing voice’ would silence and I felt fleeting confidence that it would all be OK. Because guess what, I didn’t always feel OK. In fact, I felt nervous as hell. Being vulnerable is scary… sharing my heart and creative soul is really scary… and lastly, not being certain about that money honey is real scary - especially with the overhead of actually having a studio to call my own. I often found myself bumping into fellow creatives / artists/ etc… in Kansas City, many whom I’d never actually met in person before, and words were thrown around like…


Though these words really and truly meant something to me, I often felt plain DUMB for following my heart and leaving behind such a lucrative and comfortable career.

I get it, I get it… I’m not saving lives, or curing disease… what I do on the day-to-day as a photographer isn’t life changing, and this is not lost on me. My career pivot likely doesn’t warrant these types of big and bold adjectives. But it kept happening… and I am listening. So, either all of these lovely people took pity on my DUMBass or something about this transition was actually speaking to them. I’ll hold on to the latter.

A decade ago, with nothing to lose, I picked up a camera and with ZERO expectations just hoped it would work out OK… and it did. It worked out pretty OK, in-fact… and then there in the middle somewhere it started working out really OK. And then well, apparently all of that nice & warm really-OK coziness stopped being as fulfilling as it once was. In that decade I had grown, my skill had grown, my family had grown, my passions, desires, and hope for the life I wanted to lead had grown.

And guess what, all of that growth is exhausting… The past few weeks have been what I would describe as ‘low mental’ or ‘low vibe’ weeks for me… weeks where I have felt mentally and emotionally drained.

Somewhere in the middle of my self-loathe and doubt, I was reminded - thanks Mama - that we can’t see all of the things all at once… and we aren’t supposed to. I absolutely did not clearly understand the purpose or foresee my success as a wedding photographer when I ran a Groupon (Lord help me) in 2011. If I had, I would have never ever ever tortured myself with that experience, but it was a necessary stepping stone and ultimately I continued on because I loved what I was doing… And, guess what I really really love what I’m doing today. Often scared shitless, and some days just feeling like a big effing failure (patience isn’t my forte), I continue to ride this wave, creating wild art, dramatic portraits and all of the things in-between.

Vulnerability & bearing your creative soul isn’t supposed to be easy. It’s work, and can feel especially personal for us creative, artistic, EMO types… But pleeeeassseee, fellow artists, business owners, creatives, etc… choose that path despite the work, because not only will it fulfill you, the world needs it, man. When you choose the things that light a fire in your soul without giving a damn what other people might think, you forge a path for others to do the same.

So today, with something to lose, I pick up my camera hoping this will all work out OK… and it will. Somewhere in the middle, if my journey encourages someone else to follow theirs, then I’ll call it working out pretty OK, in-fact. And in a decade, when that nice & warm really-OK coziness stops being as fulfilling as it once was, I will choose to be brave, admirable and scared shitless all over again.


Cassandra CastanedaComment