I Fell Out Of Love

Does anyone that creates for a living feel like you’re compelled to love it in order to be paid for it?

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This last year I have been slowly climbing over the mountain of imposture syndrome - partly because my mental health turned into a quivering goo pile and partly because I genuinely started to feel like a fraud.

Remember that thing where I said I surrounded myself by people bigger and better than myself to try and be one of them?

Very likely that you don’t because you don’t actually care - nor do I expect you to.

If you’re just here for the tits, that’s fine. I appreciate you just the same (if you pay me).

But the truth is as I’ve seen my humans move up and on technically and creatively, I have felt like I’ve been standing still.

Because I have been. Because everything else was a swirling clusterfuck and how can you learn when you can hardly breathe?

Excuses

Absolutely.

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People struggle constantly with far worse and still achieve. Some find pain to be a motivator. I am one of them, but it doesn’t motivate me to create. It motivates me to deconstruct, analyze and assess.

And when I’m lucky, write.

This past year I’ve asked and answered some of the toughest questions of myself and those around me and I’m endlessly proud of how far I’ve come in terms of understanding my reality and my place in it.

I give myself a pile of gold fucking stars for not quitting on trying to understand how I got to a place of suicidal ideations and not acting on them.

I give myself a solid C- on professional and skill development in 2018.

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And yet I kept shooting. Because I had to keep working.

Should I have?

One of my mentors took a 4-year break when his mental health hit the wall - something I kept telling myself I was working towards to create the space I needed to heal.

But the reality is our reality is not the same. I have a safety net he doesn’t and he has one I don’t and therefore our journeys would never be the same.

So I had to keep shooting to keep working in order to have the means to heal.

There has been this question in the back of my mind the entire time - am I doing my clients a disservice by not showing up as my best self? Am I irresponsible for taking on more work when I don’t feel 100% invested in it?

I stopped loving photography because I focused too much on earning and not enough on learning.
I stopped loving photography because the synergy became stagnant.
I stopped trying new and focused on doing what I knew.
I started complaining more than creating.
It’s no accident how this trajectory can be traced with romantic and platonic relationships between humans.
It is a relationship; with ebbs and flows and challenges of all sizes.
So just because I don’t love it now, doesn’t mean I can’t again.
But it won’t happen if left to its own devices. It requires real work and real time.
If you want something to live, you have to nurture it.
But in the interim, does that mean kill it all together?

No.

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A better question is “who loves their job 100% of the time? Who shows up to work as the best version of themselves 100% of the time?”

Statistically speaking, those numbers are super low.

For some people, that question isn’t even on the table.

Work is work and their best selves are reserved for anywhere else.

The answer to my own question that only I asked of myself is irrelevant.

The more important part is the fact that I get to love my job.
Sometimes I get to show up to work as the best version of myself.

Over the last year, I didn’t love my job - but I still did it.
I didn’t feel like the best version of myself, but I was still me.

As a result, I did not create anything for myself.
I only created what others asked me to.
But I still made some pretty cool shit.

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A friend of mine asked if I would shoot him as I saw him.
I needed to be me being me in order to show him who he could be to him; something I hadn’t done in about a calendar year.

But I wanted to so badly because I care about this person and want to see them be happy in the way I know they want to be.

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He drunkenly asked me a question along some lines that required me to access that information and I gave him a response like an insecure drunk girl typically does at a bar; one void of emotion, full of ego and pushing away with both hands when that’s the opposite of what they want.

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Because I’m still in a place doing my shadow work and coming to a level of understanding and acceptance with my issues around abandonment and emotional exposure and therefore my knee-jerk reaction is to maintain control and be the one setting the proximity of any relationship 100% of the time.

That’s a terrible way to have meaningful connections and is probably why I’ve also entered a tumultuous phase in the one I have with myself and the creative part of my brain.

It’s there and it’s loud and often it feels like a burden.

When I first started professionally tapping into this part of myself, I fell madly in love with the doors that it opened for me because largely those doors lead to new people and new relationships; something I had struggled to build and maintain prior.

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After I accessed it and began to harness it, I started using it as a tool to shape my business and my approach became highly emotional for myself and my clients.

Empathically, that gets heavy.

Slowly, the burden shifted.

I began carrying the weight of others because it allowed me to ignore the weight I presented to myself, but also because I feel an obligation to.

I see those around me burdened by their self-limiting beliefs built on past traumas, experiences and fears.
I hear others stunt themselves because they worry about the opinions of others more than their opinions of themselves.
I feel their anxiety, sadness and trepidation on a level I don’t fully understand.

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But I’m learning about and building my boundaries.
I do not feel obligated to fix anyone.
I am not capable.

I feel obligated to witness them.
I am capable.

So when my friend asked if I would do that for him, all I kept saying to him was

Be Boon

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Taylor Oakes