"I can tell you, the effect you have on others, is the most valuable currency there is. How will you serve the world? What do they need, that your talent can provide? That's all there is, and all you need to figure out." -Jim Carrey
Recently, I listened to a monologue that Jim Carrey wrote for a speech he gave. I think I listened to it 30 times. I could listen to it, a million times. And, feel the same way. I get it. Man, every fiber of my being feels it.
When I was a child, my only goal was to be a ballerina. The feeling of sore feet, aching bones and endless hours of class would dissipate as soon as those lights turned on. The feeling of performing, the exhilaration that runs through your blood and the rush you get of doing what you love, was unlike anything else. I felt free.
My father never understood this. He never understood my love of this art form, and couldn't understand why math and I didn't get along. The thought of being an artist for a living was not something he could understand. Many can't.
When I was 18, my dream of becoming a dancer ended with a severe injury. I died that day. I felt lost. What do I do now? That feeling of joy, and drive, and ambition and fight was, well? Gone. Stolen from me.
My spirit died. I can feel it now. Just heartbroken.
So, I did what many do, I pulled up my boot straps. I went and got a "real" job. A respectable one. I had an office. I LOVE it. I felt pride again. And, it was a job that my father would deem acceptable. I, actually did great at it. And, ironically, it involved math! GO figure! What ballet did for me, was teach me how to NEVER give up. Keep tying, and plug on through pain. Until you get it right.
But, I missed that zing. The rush. The love. I longed for it. The purpose.
Then, like life often does, the world changed. The market crashed, and with it my job. I felt the earth drop from under my feet. My whole life was taken from me. Again. In an instant.
Then I had my first daughter. And, for some reason chose to pick up a camera. And my life, forever changed. That zing, it was back! My heart felt happy. I couldn't stop! The joy came back to me, the gift of making others happy, creating art was the piece of my life puzzle that I was missing.
The rest they say, is history. But, how does this help the world? How does taking pretty pictures do ANYTHING to assist the universe or leave an impact on those around me? I am desperate for this. I don't want to go to my grave not doing anything with this life I have been given. Not change something, for the better. Or in the very least, die trying to do some good.
So? I choose to give. A lot. I give to families who can't afford photographs. I volunteer. I give hugs and memories tied in bows. I give a tangible image of moment to parents of children with terminal illness. I give to friends who trust no one else and think they are not worthy. I give to people who otherwise would never, ever be brave enough to be photographed because of what this world has pegged as beautiful.
I may have died back in 1998, but I was reborn. Everyone has something to offer. Everyone.
"Choose love. And don't ever let fear, cloud your playful heart."
Go on, find your zing! And, once you do? Let me photograph it. :)