There is only one time we get to be alive.
And that is right now.
We place so much weight on the future and
We forget that the right now is the only
we’re ever going to get.
climb up a tree where you can see how green the grass really is.
Not on the other side.
this is right now
And right now is beautiful.
It’s the ifs, buts and ands.
What if it doesn’t work out
but I never have enough time
and I just don’t know.
And I just don’t know,
really I don’t,
but I know that my time to be alive is
And right now is the only time I have.
Who were you created to be?
I’m going to be honest with you because I feel like the Internet can be a very dishonest place, or at least a very distorted place. Not intentionally, no, but many things are glamorized, which makes it hard not to think that everyone has a perfectly successful life aside from you. I’m going to be honest because I’ve been told so many times before to not talk about this, maybe it’ll look bad to clients and you won’t get hired, or yada yada yada. But honestly, this is me.
I’m a starving photographer that has to work every second of the day to be able to afford to eat. On a good day my blog gets like 30 hits. I try and take pretty pictures but I’m telling you, out of the 400 photos I’ll take on that one photo hike, there’s like 9 of them, tops, that are any good. I literally take thousands of photos that look terrible. I only post the ones that are good. This past year was filled with so many adventures and I feel very blessed for all the opportunities I received. But please don’t think I live a glamorous life. Please don’t think I am better than you, or that my work is better than your own, or that my life is more glamorous than your own, or that I'm a higher up photographer than you. I'm not. I'm just me. I show you the parts I feel okay with showing you. My online life is exactly like my portfolio, I show the good bits, the successful bits, but that doesn’t mean it’s all great. There are good days and bad days, just like I take good photos and bad photos. I say this only so that you don’t compare yourself to me. I say this because I don’t want you to ever look at my online presence and think my life is more exciting than your own.
I say this because I am constantly comparing my life to others on the Internet and it makes me feel like absolute shit.
I say this because I don’t want you to do the same things I’m doing. I want you to do you. I want you to focus on your work, your voice, your desires, your passions, and not mine.
The Internet is amazing because it gives people a voice. “Finding my voice” is probably my greatest struggle. It’s something I’ve struggled with my entire life, and I’m sure it’s something I’ll continue to struggle with. I’m an introvert and have blamed my “feeling like I have no voice” on that. It’s hard to have a voice when your voice is literally (physically!), very quiet. I couldn’t yell if I tried. I don’t even know if I know how to yell. And so the Internet makes me feel good because I don’t have to yell, I don’t even have to speak, I just get to type. Verbal communication is not my strong point and so through typing I feel I can properly express myself. I suppose through photography I feel the same.
The thing is, we all want voices. We all want to be heard. We all have opinions and things we want to say and share, and the Internet is filled with just that. But the Internet is also filtered. We leave only tidbits of information for others to see. The pieces of information we give are what people then take and make our life out of. I remember many years ago a guy once emailed me and asked me why I was so depressed. I was puzzled, and it took me a few days to write back. I was not depressed in the slightest. I wrote back asking him why he thought that, and he said to me it was because everything I wrote about was always so sad. I laughed, because in reality I wasn’t sad at all. But I realized the sad moments were the only ones I ever felt like writing about and posting about. On the Internet, I seemed really sad.
Fast forward to just this last year and a friend messaged me on Twitter. He told me that I sounded so happy, free and alive. Again, I was puzzled, because at the time I was going through a more difficult time of my life, and yet here I sounded like my life was amazing. But it was him saying that, saying that I seemed so happy, free and alive that made me realize that I actually was so happy, felt so free, and felt more alive than I ever had in my entire life.
I don’t know if many read my words. I don’t write for that reason. I write because writing makes me feel alive. Writing helps me process. Writing is my therapy. And I write sappy things like this because I’m a photographer, and I know that an image can speak a thousand words. Despite a pretty picture, I don’t want you to glamorize my life. I want you to focus on your life. I want you to look at all your accomplishments. I want you to look at your own desires. I want you to stop looking at what everyone else is doing and start looking at what you’re doing, because, as much as the Internet inspires, sometimes we look at it and we glamorize it and we forget that our own life and the things we are doing are equally as important.
You’re doing a really great job. Please don’t forget that.
Environment is everything. I’ve come to realize why I have loved living in cities like San Francisco and New York. New York is an easier one to explain, New York is much more iconic and movie-magical, but San Francisco is, too, in it’s own way. The two cities in many ways are complete opposite, but they both foster inspiration and creativity. I thrive off creating. My friend and I were talking the other day about whether we prefer the process or the result of “x”, in our case photography. It’s a mix for me. The results definitely feel amazing, seeing your piece finally complete, but the process is where I thrive. At times it’s stressful, at times I walk into a shoot with a great amount of social anxiety, but as soon as I start shooting, I feel completely in my element. It’s because I’m creating.
I can’t live in sleepy cities. I like coming back to sleepy cities, often when I’m burnt out and need a complete detox from everything that normally makes up my life. But once I’ve been able to get a full night’s rest, I’m always driven back to these places. No, not driven, it’s like a supernatural force shoots me back into the place. I crave being in a creative city like I need air. It's like living on a gigantic blank canvas and your feet are the paint. The other thing is, San Francisco and New York are sofa king expensive that you don’t have time float. Every single waking moment you have to put every ounce of your energy into surviving. It’s the most exhausting experience that at times will absolutely deplete you. But it’s like a balloon. If you keep blowing into it, eventually it will inflate and rise. You’ll realize that the struggle was entirely worth it. Creating isn’t easy, it’s just something some of us feel like we absolutely must do at every moment. Creating is breathing.
The thought of moving to Vancouver does scare me. I’ve visited the city enough times to know what it’s like. It is absolutely beautiful, but it can be a little sleepy. Not everywhere, though. Definitely not everywhere. There are parts of the city that are thriving with creativity, and I know it’ll be these parts I’ll gravitate towards. I also believe you can make any place feel inspiring. It depends on how you view the place and it depends on what you do with the place. You can jump into normalcy and what’s easy, and then anywhere, even San Francisco or New York, can become sleepy. Or you can force yourself to get inspired every single day. Maybe it’s by waking up early and going outside. Maybe it’s by locking yourself in your room for hours listening to music and painting. Maybe it’s running. Maybe it’s putting stuff together with your hands. Maybe it’s making coffee. Maybe it’s gardening. Maybe your cities aren't the same as my cities. Maybe your cities are quieter, smaller, bigger, quirkier. Maybe your cities will change as you change. Whatever it is, wherever it takes place, there is something inside of each of us that makes us tick, where no matter where we are, as long as we are doing that one thing, we feel alive. It’s the something that fits into the key hole of your core, unlocking an ocean of treasure.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned about myself, it’s that I love to create. I need to create. When I’m not creating, I feel like my life suddenly turns into a whirlwind of i-don’t-knows and what-am-i-doing-with-my-life and i-don’t-feel-like-myself and I question everything.
Perhaps my desire to create is because I was created. The first thing I’ve ever known is creation. From the moment I came into physical existence, my being was being created in the womb. Creation is what gave me life. Creation is what made my heart start beating, and I think that’s why my heart only feels like it’s really beating when I’m creating.
It doesn’t have to be anything extravagant. It’s the simple, private things. Maybe it’s taking photos, or writing, or drawing, or even pressing flowers. As humans we are incredibly complex, and so creating what’s simple is a break from myself. A break from my own wandering mind. A chance to focus my thoughts onto one thing, and see it start to finish. To create something and see something come alive makes me feel alive.
To create is to bring something that was not in existence into existence. The Universe is so big. However you believe it was created, we all agree that at one point, the Universe had a beginning, a starting place, where not much seemed to exist, and then one day, all of this, then all of us, did. To think of something as big as our Universe, coming from next to nothing into something so big we can’t even reach it all?
Let’s keep creating.
I think if we stopped trying to live perfect lives, we’d start living really beautiful lives.
If we stopped trying to live perfect lives, we’d remove the grasp fear holds on our lives.
We have fear because we have expectations. Expectations that we have to do something a certain right way.
We put a lot of weight in the right way, which narrows our focus away from simply doing things our way,
Our way is the way that makes us happy.
There are going to be bumps in the road.
There are going to be things that really hurt and there are going to be things that are beyond euphoria.
What matters is that we simply live.
Live with the good and live with the bad.
And stop trying to be so perfect.
When we let go of perfect, when we let go of fear, when we let go of expectations,
when we start holding onto grace, when we start holding onto humility, when we start holding onto acceptance,
we walk into this beautiful thing called freedom.
Don’t stop being fascinated with the little things.
The little things that are so powerful they could make the entire earth shake,
but we forget to see what’s directly below our feet,
or way up in that deep, blue sky,
down into those deep, blue oceans,
up into that deep, blue space.
It’s the little things, like those yellow, little things that fall without sadness in the fall.
They touch the earth and become part of its soil.
Ready for growth, ready to strengthen.
For when spring comes, the leafy veins that once fell will bloom again.
But we forget to bloom again.
We forget that when we fall,
we aren’t crashing, we’re simply diving into a place that brings us into our depths,
Our beating hearts, our pulsing veins.
Once we grab hold of our roots we can stand up tall again.
Taller than the last time.
It’s the little things. The little things that determine how we will handle the big things.
Fascinate yourself with what is delightful.
I read a quote last night, “you hung the stars and you still know me.” I’ve always been fascinated with space. The thought of more. The thought of endless possibilities. On earth we are limited to gravity and what we know. It’s as if life on earth can only reach a certain high, but we forget space. We forget that above us is this vast unknown where everything we thought impossible very well might be possible. Everything we hope and wish for may be a reality. It’s another dimension. It’s something bigger and greater than us.
Each night I look up in the sky and there Jupiter sits. To most it looks like any other star, when indeed it is Jupiter. It mutes the chaos of life. Each day comes with its challenges, which can invigorate or deplete us. We don’t know what the next moment will be. We can predict but we must wait it out. We must react gently, so our spirit can remain stable and in peace, much like Jupiter. Whatever happens throughout the day, this planet that is 11 times bigger than Earth, something we try to understand but will never be able to fully comprehend, sits there stable each night. It is untouched by our problems. It’s the constant in my life. It’s the reminder that life is important but life is also short. The universe seems timeless. And yet, I can’t help but think that perhaps we are each important. As a whole, as a community of people, but also as individuals.
You hung the stars and yet,
you still know me.
Want to find Jupiter? Download my favourite app, SkyView.
Anyone who knows me well knows that I struggle with online persona, a lot. I am a very private person, and yet I am constantly leaving tidbits of my life all over the Internet. If I can’t tweet it, I’ll Instagram it, if I can’t Instagram it, I’ll Path it, if I can’t Path it, I’ll Snapchat it, and so on…
I like the Internet for three reasons:
- I like meeting people through the Internet, and being inspired by so many talented people.
- Verbally, I am not a strong communicator, and so the Internet (through writing, tweeting and taking photos) makes me feel like I have a voice.
- I’m an artist, and this is the platform most of us share our work through now.
The thing is, I never know where to draw the line. How much do I say or not say? Do I really pretend like everything is pretty and perfect? How do I be real with people? How do I be vulnerable, open and honest online without exposing all of life’s hardships and sounding totally depressed? I’m not depressed, really I’m quite happy, but I don’t live in denial thinking everything is la-dee-da and rainbows.
The other problem I juggle with as an artist is sharing my work to the world without blasting it in people’s faces saying, “look at me! Look at all the cool photos and adventures I’m going on!” Truthfully, it’s not about me, it will never be about me. I don’t share anything to get a name, and if you ever see an ego rise in me, please tell me immediately so it can be stopped. My work is a part of me, and so I try and balance showing my work (me), without making it about me.
The two years I spent living in San Francisco full time was an incredibly big shifting phase for me and my work. I was frustrated because I couldn’t figure out how to help people. I felt guilty for being a photographer and not being a nurse who was stitching people back together. It took some time, but eventually I realized that I have a right to my own happiness, and photography and writing does make me happy. Becoming a nurse wasn’t truly what I wanted to do, helping people was, and so I finally realized, why not help people through what makes me happy, and that is my work.
I don’t write or take photos or post Instagram photos for an audience. I write and take photos and post Instagram photos because I believe those things help others feel more connected to one another and like they’re not alone. That’s why I feel the need to vulnerably expose my writing, photos and so much of my life. If I can shed light through the things I experience each day, if I can be real, maybe someone else will read my piece or see my photo and relate to it, even slightly. Maybe it’ll help make them feel not so alone. Maybe it’ll make them feel better about their own situation they are going through.
That is why I’m online. I’m online because I think life is beautiful and worth sharing. I’m online because maybe my work will help someone feel not alone. I’m online because maybe something I post will inspire you, which will cause you to create and inspire someone else, and the domino effect of happiness and acceptance can begin. I’m online because that is what technology wants to do, it wants to bring us forward, together.