everyone has bad days. i had one yesterday that turned me into a ghost, but not in the way you would imagine. i was a ghost as in being stuck in this dimension unknown to others without being able to escape and with no idea what to do other than wander around in my own mind. photography is definitely my escape, but there are days where i wonder if this escape is healthy or not. i think it’s more of the business side of things i struggle with, but not in a practical sense. it’s in a mental sense.
i feel as though i am VERY open through social media. ask me anything you want and i’ll do my best to answer. in turn, i share a lot of things about myself, because i look at social media as a place to share who i am, my work, and to interact with others. i feel like i’ve always been myself in this way, but i have to be honest. one thing i’ve never really touched on is my biggest struggle……
UNWORTHINESS AND UNDESERVEDNESS
now, i feel like i need to preface this by stating, this is NOT a post to gather followers or likes or a pity party, no no no. this is a post about something i’ve struggled with outside of the photography world, but i believe that becoming a photographer has put this struggle on full blast for me. it’s nice receiving accolades, being published in magazines, getting the cover of a magazine, being interviewed by industry websites and podcasts and video platforms. there is no denying that. my struggle kicks in behind the scenes, though. when receiving any type of “atta-boy” from anyone, my response is to thank them, and then i usually go find a place where i can be alone. the struggle begins. the questions begin. we’ve all heard of The Impostor Syndrome, yeah? it’s similar to that, but it’s kind of…..deeper. it’s not that i fear about being a fraud or am looking for approval from my peers, to be honest, i couldn’t care less about either of those things. it’s…….it’s asking myself, “Do you really deserve this? Why?” which then leads to TELLING myself, “Nope. You definitely don’t deserve this. It’s not you.” this is my struggle.
i’m sure this is more common that i’d like to think, but that doesn’t really comfort me in any way. this struggle has led me to believe that everything i tell myself is truth. that i don’t deserve good things in life. that i will never be financially comfortable in life. that i will never find love. that i will never actually take steps to do anything to improve, because i don’t deserve any of it. it’s fear. it’s telling myself that i will definitely fail at whatever i’m trying to do.
where does photography tie into all of this? well, photography is the FIRST thing in my life where i’ve received an abundance of “atta-boys” or praise or pats on the back or whatever you’d like to call it. therefore, it has AMPLIFIED my struggle. yesterday, it all came down on me at one time, as it tends to do. i stayed in bed most of the day. being a ghost caught in this dimension of confusion and worry and doubt and i just could not fucking get out of it. i created this fucking dimension, so why can’t i get out of it? this all led to reaching out to a few people and speaking very negatively about myself and my struggle and all of those things that come off as looking for pity, but it was actually what i was feeling at that moment. i felt guilty by bringing others down with my words, when in reality, i likely wasn’t at all. they were just simply listening to my thoughts. it’s a fucking rabbit hole. our brains are designed to keep us safe and comfortable most of the time, but damn, it can come off the rails really quickly if the situation is accepting of it.
and i’ll be honest, i DO speak at a fair share of photography events, workshops, and conferences. this is the crazy part. i feel like i’m pretty talented at inspiring others, encouraging others, and getting others to believe in themselves. then i ask myself, “Are you good at this, because you aren’t able to tell yourself these things, but only other people?” HOLY SHIT. maybe, right? maybe i’m telling others these things that i so badly want to tell myself and believe, but never have.
why do i share this? why did i write this little post? i honestly don’t have a solid answer, but if i were forced to provide one, it would probably be simple………..maybe this post will comfort someone else knowing they’re not alone in this particular struggle? again, i’m sure it’s common to experience these things, but maybe my words and thoughts will help you.
what’s the solution for me? how do i work on this? i have no idea, but i’m going to try like hell to work on it, because i know it will lead to a better, healthier, happier life.
i’ll let you know when i’m no longer a ghost and i enter back into the dimension of reality……