Will you do something for me? I want you to say this, out loud, no matter where you are:
“I have FAITH, COURAGE and ENTHUSIASM!”
The odds are high that not many of you did it, but can you imagine being a 16 year old kid, in a room full of adults, standing up, punching your fist in the air and screaming that craziness? I don’t quite recall how it all happened. Something tells me my parents took the course first and I ended up there soon after.
Yeah, that was me. Thrown, by my parents, into some horrible situation that made me completely uncomfortable. The Christopher Leadership Course was every Thursday night out at the Legion in Coxheath and there was a plastic orange chair with my name on it. fuck.*
Skip ahead a year and there I am again. Legion. Orange chair. Pale faced air punchers and me. But this time I’m sitting in the orange chair facing the crowd. I’m a seventeen year old instructor of a public speaking course and looking back, it was one of the best things my parents ever made me do.
(there was that other time, at 15, my Dad told me to “get ready, we’re going to Dairy Queen.” “Sweet,” I said. “Sweet nothing, you’re getting a job,” said my Dad.)**
Have I gone all Billy Graham? Hell no. It’s 9am and I just got back from Global after doing a short segment on photography gifts for Black Friday. Now, when crazy shit happens to me I always think back to Malcolm Gladwell’s story about airplane crashes and how its not just one simple error that brings a plane down. Most often it is a series of circumstances that are the result of the crash.
I planned to work from home last night but the power went out for a few hours. I ended up working late and fell asleep on the couch (sorry, Mar). The power also went out downtown so my studio alarm set off an alert and the alarm company was calling all night. I was terrified about sleeping in and missing the show so, awake since 4.30am phone calls, I got up at 6, got ready and drove to the tv station. I figured I’d have a coffee and hang out behind the scenes before the segment. Traffic was brutal. I still arrived half an hour early. Someone who was on ahead of me was stuck in traffic and not going to make it. Jill was on vacation at Global and I was doing a spot with Rebecca Lau, who was doing her first show.
There would be no coffee. There would be no chit chat w Rhonda. I got bumped up and was on in less than three minutes. I was lugging a big sac of gear that Marco, from Henry’s had given me and needed 5 minutes of stuff to say about it.
The alternative to being terrified is being comfortable and that’s just boring and predictable.
What does this have to do with wedding photography? I have no idea. I’m trying to get this writing thing going again and when I walked into the studio this morning I just felt compelled to sit down and write. I’m leaving for Calgary tomorrow to hang out with my best of friends and see Pearl Jam. We’ve been doing it for years and it always makes me sentimental/nostalgic/introspective and big feeling…so maybe its that.
If you really need a message, its this: For $1000 anyone can buy a great camera kit with lenses and a bag. A few Youtube videos later and, click, you’re a photographer. Now, you don’t have to pump a fist into the air and scream encouraging words…but for the love of god, get out there and terrify yourself as much as you can.
Comfortable is predictable.
*many years later, while at University in Halifax, I ended up on the steps of the Maritime Center with a friend (who is a well respected doctor now and cannot be named), slowly opening a door that would lead to yet another public speaking course. Being late and irresponsible university students, we quickly shut the door and went home to smoke pot and play Mario Cart. We never did show up.
**My career as a wedding photographer almost died before it began as I was stabbed in the eye with a hot chilli spoon in the kitchen of Dairy Queen by the same man I will sit next to on Monday night for the Pearl Jam show.