Today is a day we celebrate our freedom. We'll gather with friends and family to BBQ. We'll have one too many adult beverages. We'll stand in awe as we marvel at the brilliant colors dancing across the sky. We'll remember the brave men and women who gave their lives to protect the freedom of their families and the generations to come. To be free is to be American. But, to me, freedom contains a complexity of other meanings.
Today marks exactly one year since I left my former career as a Casting Director. I spent my last 3 years at the company completely and utterly miserable. What may have seemed like a glamorous job on the outside, was eating away at my soul on the inside. It was torture to wake up every morning knowing I had to survive through another day at work. It wasn't so much that the job itself was terrible, but rather, that I wasn't in alignment with my own heart. I wanted nothing more than to take pictures and travel.
Freedom means...being authentic to your heart.
I had this vision of a life I didn't have to survive in. I wanted a life I could thrive in. I have distinct memories of sitting at my desk while staring longingly at the travel photos hanging in my cubicle and wishing I could be there, the echoes of my office phone taunting me as if to remind me of where I really was. In retrospect, it wasn't my cubicle walls I felt trapped by...it was my fear. I was afraid of leaving a secure job to pursue a passion without a certain future. More so than anything, I was afraid I wasn't good enough.
Freedom means...choosing love over fear.
My road to freedom was not easy. There were many nights I would come home to edit photos after working a 14 hour day, many weekends I dedicated my only days off to shooting weddings or portrait sessions. I knew with complete certainty taking pictures was my calling because it didn't feel like work. I ached for the moments I could create photographs.
Freedom means... living with passion.
I still remember the moment I walked out the doors of my office for the last time. My soul literally felt a lightness I can't explain. I could see my dream and it didn't feel so far away anymore. I made the choice to trust that the universe would provide me with what I needed to be successful as long as I worked hard. I closed my eyes and jumped into the great unknown. I felt free.
So far, the universe has delivered.