I'm Abbie. And I feel incredibly awkward in front of a camera. Today I want to talk to you about being BRAVE.
But first we have to talk about FEAR.
I'm going to get real with you (because is there any other way to be?), and tell you that I am one of the most fearful people I know. At least I used to be. I definitely used to be. I had super strange behaviors as a child. I hated the dark, was so irrationally afraid of the worst, most grim outcome, and generally had a really hard time speaking to...just about everyone. I would just sputter when I tried to speak and think way too hard about what I was saying.
I thought I was so DUMB.
This led to a serious fear of failure. It also meant I had a really hard time taking negative feedback, and that I cried and felt unloved even when the exact opposite was true. Fear is absolutely crippling, my friends. It is the root of our self destruction.
Do you know what I now think the worst part about fear is, though? It's that we then spend soooo much time thinking about ourselves.
"What's going to happen to me? What will people think of me?" And on and on. The base of all insecurity is a focus on self. I also think it's fair to say that it can be caused by hurtful people in your life. If that's the case for you, I am so sorry that you've been treated in this way. You are so much more valuable than you know.
You may be wondering what this has to do with photography.
Photography is more than using a camera. It's my VOICE! It makes me BRAVE.
This is what art does for people, and why I will always consider it absolutely vital in life:
Art makes you accept failure. It's does not say "anything goes," but instead it says, "I can and will do better." You know why? Because you have to fail at art. There is no getting around it. And no matter what you do, there is always another step to take it to the next level. This is a magnificent thing.
Failure is absolutely amazing for you, because failure was never the issue. It was fear the whole time. Failure makes you stronger. It makes you better! It keeps you humble, and helps you to grow. For the longest time I was afraid to tell people I was a photographer. I was even afraid to call myself that in my own head. It took years! That was years of me holding myself back!
Working with art pushed me out of my private life of photography, and into the world. I finally challenged myself with it, and learned what I was capable of. What's more is that while you are making art, you can see the progress in a very tangible way. You can see what you're creating. When you finish something on your own from start to finish, there is nothing that makes you feel more confident. To create is one of the greatest pleasures of life. It's in all of us, and just comes out in many different forms.
God has used art to turn my fear of failure into a desire to try things I am not certain of, and to test what I am capable of. My desire to achieve excellence no longer keeps me from trying, but pushes me further and further. I share this not to turn every one of you into an artist, but to share my story of crushing fear, and to let you know it’s okay to fail. It’s okay to not be perfect. I still feel fear and anxiety at times, but I fight it and resist all that I can.
I want to give you permission to fail, and the confidence to do so. What's more, I know that without God holding my life in his hands I would certainly be overcome with it. It's all in his control. Even my little business...it's all his. What a peace that brings. I love that I get to do this job, meet new people every week, go to unknown places, and experience all sorts of trials that make me grow.
Place value upon all that you do, and all that you are. You have something to offer this world.
Thanks for listening to a small part of my story! If you were touched by this, let me know and share with me your story of fear and of bravery.