Decisive Days

2016-04-18

girl in front of cave

Alone. Radio on to chase away the silence that echoes in the empty house. Anxiety runs through my veins, I’m restless and want to do unhealthy things to calm myself down. Don’t. Tomorrow is the decisive day. I’ve been brushing it off, thought that portrait and fashion photography is what I want to focus on, but only now I realise how much I want to continue with my documentary photography and thus get into the course. Of course, in the worst case, there will be other ways. But this course would be perfect.

Calm down. You’ll find your way. Things will turn out the way they have to, so you’ll get where you’re meant to be. Look back, all the bad things that have happened so far have led you here, right where you’re supposed to be.

And I keep stumbling over amazingly talented young photographers and feel horrible after looking at their work. Monika, you’ve been on this journey for less than a year, give yourself a break.

Things will be fine. Trust yourself, keep your head high.

∙•∙

To distract myself, I do some research on the topics “photography in favelas” and “street photography in dangerous places”. There are no slums in Uruguay, but some barrios [quarters] are impoverished. It’s a challenge, but I’d love to do a documentary project there. Get to see something I wouldn’t see if it weren’t for photography, use the camera as a means to talk to people I wouldn’t know how to approach without my camera. Bring an instant camera and give photos instead of just taking.

And just like that my focus is on something else, things I can control. The next day, I play with the twins and sometimes forget that I’m waiting for an email that decides over so much. The internet connection dies a couple of times, a red “1” appears at the email icon more often than usual, and every time I brace myself for the dooming message and rejection – only to notice that it’s just another insignificant email.

Finally, the kids are taking a nap and I open the email program once again. Another red “1”. My eyes spot the word invitation in the “re” and I greedily devour the rest, breathless. I’m in. Not fully admitted yet, but in the second round. I’m stunned. I was prepared for rejection, but the admission means for me that I’m going to go for it now. I’m putting all my hopes into it. I didn’t dare to imagine that I would get so far and there’s no way I’m going to ‘fail’ so close to reaching my dream.

And I didn’t want it to happen, but of course I feel some kind of acknowledgement because of their “approval” of my work. But it shouldn’t be that way. My worth doesn’t depend on other people’s opinion. Letting others judge it will lead to my downfall. I have to believe in myself even when nobody else does – I’m lucky that they see my potential, but it doesn’t change anything about it. So if they decided I’m not good enough for them, I should be able to walk away, knowing that there is something else waiting for me.

∙•∙

Anxiety has chased away the initial joy. My sleeping schedule is messed up, I hardly get anything done. I’m so afraid. I see the finish line. If I tripped and fell now, it would break a part of me that probably will not recover quickly.

First I was stunned and wanted to let my friends know that I’m in the next round. Congratulations, cheers! Happiness and joy. I thought that I’m through the hardest part. But I have no idea how many are left to compete for those 15 spots. I’m not there yet, so I don’t want any congratulations anymore, afraid it would be for nothing.

These days are driving me crazy. For now, I can at least prepare for the interview. But after Thursday, I have to endure three weeks for their final decision. Maybe new projects like street scouting with my new business cards will help. We’ll see. First comes the interview. Let’s hope for the best.

45 Comments
      1. Thank you very much for your kind and uplifting words! I had the interview last week, didn’t go too well but I’ll find my way :) have a beautiful day!

        1. I’m sorry to hear that. If you don’t get it, that only means something better is on the horizon. One thing I’ve learned is to trust the process and position of your life.

          1. You’re right, I’m sure life has amazing things in store for us and sometimes they’re not the things we expect to be :) I’ll see what comes next. I hope you’re doing well :)

      1. Thank you so much, Josh! :D it’s lovely to know that I have so lovely supporters :))

    1. These past years I learnt, though I knew this before, but I never lived it so as to say yeah I agree on it, that the best things in life come through the hardest path. I think that is a challenge, and that it is just a test of life itself to see how much we want that…if you really do, you will get where you want to be, it won’t be easy, no. But after that you will appreciate and dedicate every single minute of your life to it and you will be realized as a person, which I think is one of the hardest but most beautiful things in life, to be realized… to stop in the middle of the road look back and see all the way you had taken so far! and then look forward! Good luck with all your projects ^_^ <3

      1. Thank you very much for taking your time and leaving this wonderful comment! <3 I agree with you, we have to take a leap of faith and risk getting hurt in order to gain something of value. And your words are exactly what I needed to hear, currently I'm falling and have trouble stopping the fall because I've lost my goal out of my sight - but if it's what I really want, and it is, I should get myself together and start fighting again. Thank you for reminding me of that again :) can't wait to see you soon! <3

    1. Congratulations! I know anxiety can definitely derail a lot of the joy and pride of these accomplishments, but it still means something. Your work is great, even if you don’t get into the final round, as you said. You should still be proud of yourself for getting this far!

      1. Thank you very much for your kind comment! <3 you're right, I didn't really feel proud for getting so far, but actually, I should because one year ago, I never thought I could get here, where I am today. I should start moving on again and don't let anything discourage me :) I hope you're doing well in Poland! A question, because I didn't find it on your blog - what's your name? :)

    1. Your hard work and nurtured talent are paying dividends. Don’t be afraid or ashamed nor consider yourself lucky: This is recognition, not luck. Keep fueling your passion and others will recognize it and help you grow.

      Yet also take a moment to revel and relax. Recharge, get ready for round 2 and keep having fun and documenting the process.

      1. Thank you for your encouraging words. I know I’m very late with my reply, but I read them back then and immediately felt better :) now they motivate me to move on and keep doing my best while also take care of myself.

        I hope you and your family are doing well! :) hugs from Switzerland.

    1. I understand exactly what you feel. Even I have been at similar crossroads many times in the past. Fashion or journalism? Advertising or Marketing? Copywriting or Art Direction? Uncannily, today, I have an interview for a features writer. And I so so so wish I get it. Because it’s always been stories that have captivated me. Since I was little.
      If you get time, do have a look at my blog https://chaihigh.net/

      1. I took a look at your blog and your path sounds so interesting! how did your interview go? I hope you got the job! <3 thank you for your kind comment, you've got a new follower :D

        1. My interview didn’t go too well. Guess I was kidding myself again. It was for a decor magazine, when indeed my primary interest is fashion. So yes, I’m back on the road to find myself. :)

    1. Glad to read this… and yes, I say, congratulations on this first success!

    1. “The only photographer you should ever compare yourself to…is the one that you used to be!” :)
      I used to compare myself to other creatives a lot before, until I realized it was pointless. That quote above changed everything for me and I hope it will be able to help you too.

      As for feeling anxious regarding what’s coming, I can relate to that and I know it’s not a nice feeling. We can quickly get caught up in too much emotion – more than we can handle. What I do on times like this is take one thing at a time and stop thinking about possible problems or difficult situations. It’s just better to deal with things once they’re a reality and not a possibility. It’s a wast of time and energy to suffer from anticipation ;) (better said than done, I know… but still!)

      1. That’s a lovely quote! I knew the general version of it (“The only person you should ever compare yourself to…”), but this is a perfect reminder to focus on myself, thank you for sharing :)

        Are you actually a full-time photographer?

        Thank you for sharing your experience! That sounds like a healthy way to deal with it, I spent the weekend watching series and reading novels in order to forget reality haha but now I’m trying to focus on getting myself back on track by doing one thing at a time, as you recommended :) I’m really glad to have met you here in this blogging word – have a lovely day <3

        1. haha sometimes I do that too ;) I go to youtube to watch videos from vloggers and ignore my own life :p

          I’ve been doing photography full-time for more than a year now. Back in 2014 I felt I needed a break from the career I was in, so I quit my job and embraced photography as my main activity. However, by the end of 2015 I realized freelancing wasn’t a good fit for me… Right now, I’m trying to figure out a solution so I can find the perfect balance between keep doing photography but not having to depend financially from it.

          Indeed – it’s great to be able to connect with like-minded people online :) Have a great one as well!

          1. haha I’m so relieved that I’m not the only one who does that! :D

            oh wow, I’d love to chat with you about this one day. One of my “dream professions” is being a full-time photographer, but I have no idea how it actually is here in Switzerland/Europe. I hope you’ll be able to find a good solution for yourself soon :)

            Take care! <3

            1. I hope so too – thank you <3

              We should totally get together one day (Switzerland is such a small country!), chat about all things photography & take photos of course :)

    1. Good luck with everything, Monika!! stay positive, and yes: never judge your worth based on others’ opinion. I know is hard, cause I also have my fair share of doubts and anxiety, but the only thing that matters is for you to feel that you’re making progress with your own work. I sometimes feel is good to look at other photographers, as that gives me motivation to work more and better myself. But I also try to remember that quote that says ‘Don’t compare your beginning with someone else’s middle!’ Take care :)

      1. Thank you, dearest Christina! <3 Thanks to all the uplifting comments I received here I was quite confident when the interview began, too bad it was taken away by their questions haha but life goes on :) I still think it's amazing that you got into a photography course in London! :) also thank you for sharing the quote, it's really true we have no idea what other people have gone through to get where they are today. Take care as well <3

    1. I just wanted to comment on your post and just to say that no matter who you are and no matter what the state of your life is, you will always have the ability to make yourself better. I think if you look for the best, then you feel your best, and that doors will open for you. I have to keep reminding myself that confidence is always a very good thing to have on the battlefield.

      1. Thank you for taking your time to write this. You made me realise that I’ve been focusing so much on photography that I’ve started to neglect my body. I should (and will!) start to move more, eat better and aim to become a better person. Thank you for the inspiration, I hope you’re doing well! Have a lovely day and thank you for commenting.

    1. MONIKA,
      Don’t Settle for anything less. By not Settling, you may take different avenues & boulevards to reach your objective, but it could turn into an adventure and a valuable learning experience. A variety of input will only inhance what you already know.

      1. Dear Jane, thank you for your encouraging comment. I’m definitely not planning on settling for anything less, even though I know it won’t be easy to pursue my dreams. But as you said, life doesn’t happen on a regular, straight road and detours are full of new experiences. I’ll see what will come next :)
        I hope you’re doing well :)

    1. Beautifully written! Good luck with the next round and hold onto the belief :)

      1. Thank you very much! <3 I went through a phase of extreme self-doubt, but at the end, I made it! :) have a wonderful week x

    1. Thank you so much for sharing your self talk. It is very affirming to know that I’m not the only one who has these internal conversations.
      Moshe

      1. Thank you for your kind words, Moshe – I’m sure that we’re not the only ones having those internal conversations. :)
        Take care!

    1. Congratulations that you took a risk, you’ve crossed that hurdle, and that alone is worth congratulations. What interesting work, I wish you the very best in your endeavors. May you find great favor and opportunities.

      1. Thank you so much! In the meantime, I’ve found out that I was fully accepted – it was a rollercoaster of emotions, but taking the risk was so worth it! All the best to you too, take care :)

    1. Stay strong, stay positive, where 1 door closes another one opens! Believe in yourself and enjoy every moment of your life journey, good or bad it’s all one big learning path and you will come out where you want to. :)

      1. Thank you very much for your encouraging words! In actually made it through both rounds and got admitted :) and yes, I believe that everything happens for a reason and that things will always be fine eventually :) have a lovely day! x

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