Bona’Fridays: the introduction

I started late in life. While everyone else was accepting their first jobs fresh out of college, I was still changing my major. It took me eleven years to get my Bachelor’s degree, and even then it was a weird mishmash of credits: theatre classes, painting and drawing, psych courses, history and English, all lumped under a fancy header: Interdisciplinary Studies (code for “I couldn't make up my mind”). 

Why did it take me so long? Well, aside from legit having no clue what I wanted to “do”, I was married at twenty, a mom of twins three years later, and pregnant again two years after that. I finished school online, in between putting toddlers down for naps, never-ending laundry, and taking tests while bottle-rocking an infant in her bouncy seat on the floor. But even after I graduated at nearly-thirty, I didn't know what I wanted to be when I grew up.

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A full decade later – after immersing myself in being a Stay-at-Home Mom, homeschooling our three daughters, learning how to Pinterest menu plan like a champ – it finally hit me: I wanted to be a photographer. Granted, I had only just wielded my first Real Camera, a Christmas gift from a good husband, but I'd served my time in auto mode for a good year or more before struggling to learn Manual settings. I liked it. I loved it. I wanted more of it.

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But lawd, I had no clue what I was doing – I'd never so much as taken a formal photography class. I chanced upon a fabulous friendship with a woman who HAD taken photography classes (even knew her way around a dark room which is one place I still have yet to step foot in), and she has been the single most encouraging force in this dizzying rollercoaster-world of photography. Nevertheless, mine has been a journey of sheer dumb luck, basic instincts, and (mainly) Struggle: trying to figure out how to legally make money doing it, trying to figure out if I even wanted to make money doing it, trying to figure out how to get people to pay me once I figured out I did want to make money doing it, then banging my head over Lightroom, banging it again over PhotoShop, and (most importantly) roaming near-aimlessly in the place where my art breathes life into my soul. All of it was struggling, struggling, struggling.

And here I am, age 42, and I'm still struggling.

BUT —

I'm beginning to embrace The Struggle, because I think that's how it works, this Being an Artist, Being a Photographer, Being an Entrepreneur thing. It's just one series of mistakes after another … sometimes learning what works and (more often) what doesn’t. I'm getting comfy in this role now, the never-ending trial and error. And now that my daughters are practically grown (heading off to college to figure out their own paths, God bless ‘em), I'm finally getting started.

Except something happens in this 40-something stage of life: a sense of urgency. I read the other day – via some highly-scholared-and-researched Reddit article that was not even remotely clickbait, heavens no – that people in their forties shouldn't be working more than three days a week; our aging brains apparently can't handle the stress nor the time-management skills necessary for coping in a career —

Which is super bad news for me because I'm only just now getting revved up. In the words of that poor schmuck in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, “I'm not dead yet.” I have places to go, things to do, people to see, “I've got a lot of livin' to do” (name that movie). My brain is so full of ideas it might explode at any moment. I've been sitting on them since college you see, crafting them over changing diapers and grocery planning, sculpting visions in my spare time as chief bottle washer and pre-algebra teacher.

My time has come.

(Heavens it feels plucky writing that out …)

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I am finally at a place in the game where I don’t care anymore what “they” (whoever “they” are) think makes me a successful This, That, or The Other. There’s a time for listening to the wisdom of those who waged war before you … and then there’s now: the time to do business on my terms, create art in my way, and learn photography by the rules … so those rules can be broken — artistically, of course. This is the next chapter in my story, and I'm inviting you to learn and grow right along with me!

WELCOME to Bona’fridays! (See what I did there? Bonafide …. Bona’fridays … get it?) Where we get down and get gritty – with struggles and triumphs, with carving out a place for art-photography, bridging the gap between House Frau and Photography Superstar! Grab your favorite cuppa and settle in; it’s about to get Real.

UP NEXT: Tune in as I whip up — from scratch! — a home-based art-photography studio!