The untold truth about failure…
The sweet idea of what is actually failure? To me failure is a substance deep rooted through trials and experiences gone wrong in the moment that they are suppose to go wrong. The older I get and the more people I meet, you begin to realize fear cripples the soul where they are so afraid to fail they don’t even realize that we have all been failing this entire time. We fail in life, relationships, jobs, opportunities, etc. It is apart of growth. It is a vital part of growing individually.
Greatness is never seen as great while the person is pursuing greatness, it is only presumed great after the sweat, bumps, falls, fails, bloody knuckles, & anything else that comes with trying to pursue greatness. People who we love will project their fears upon you because what is on the other side of fear is so beautiful and terrifying that most people can not comprehend the idea.
I am 32 years old and chasing this dream of being not only good but the best photographer ever! I don’t want to just be good, I want to be great. The obstacles that I have had to go through to even get the courage to pick up a camera full time is very humbling.
The idea is the simplest part but the action of putting this idea into motion is the biggest hurtle. When you start speaking upon a dream you begin to realize a lot of people around you are going to tell you the same stuff… But what about your job? What about your bills? What about your future? Its a poison that they spread through your thoughts. Its conforming & to no fault of theirs, this is the common theme in todays times.
What makes failing scary? From the time I was a little kid, I realized what failing was. I spelt mud wrong in the 3rd grade, I had a scattered relationship with my father, my step dad did not like me that much, and my mom could be eternally damaging by just being worried to much, which I would later blame my vast amounts of anxiety on. With these things set in motion it will be two decades before I realize what I am doing with my life is a complete waste of time.
Wasting time is just trying to figure out what to do next…
We are not all going to be lawyers or doctors. This abnormal way we have been brought through the educational system is flawed. They don’t teach you how to recover from failing they just teach the fundamentals of A’s are amazing and F’s is that you are a failure. They miss the whole idea that not all children are build for this structure of obedience. Some need to fly and be free (without being so corny). It wasn’t until my senior year that I would be taught about the greatness of rebel authors, and understand the beauty in poets & bands or really capture the essences of characters like Bob Dylan, or Charles Bukowski. I know you are probably wondering what this has to do with failure, but I am slowly getting there.
There have been people in my life who I have allowed to seep into the central cortex of my brain and alter the exact thing that would eventually making me nervous to break away or detach myself from the idea that I am not like everyone else around me. I feel as a young man even now in the upright battle with age, its easy to normalize your life instead of complicate it with such things as conforming. And if you know me conforming is not something that I do without some sort of fight.
THE WORDS THAT WOULD CHANGE MY LIFE
Photography is something that I started at a very early age. I was always fascinated with old cameras, point and shoot 35 mm cameras, and just the idea that images were on the black strips in the camera.
I was obsessed through my teenage years, and into my early 20s. Life would knock me around a few times before I picked it back up and took it seriously. Through my mid 20s I would always have a camera in hand not to make money but to capture everything and anything. My style was whack. Hated everything about it now that I look back on it. But I guess that comes with the territory of growth. The photos below are probably from 12 years ago.
Not the worst of images. I definitely have taken worse but these images I am comfortable to release out in the public.
Fast forward until I was 26 years old, I am going through the roughest time of my life up until that point and I am sure the ones who know me are very aware of the story. I won’t get into it but this particular person said one of the most influential things a person could say to me, “YOU WILL NEVER BE ANYTHING. NO ONE WILL EVER LOVE YOU. NO ONE WILL EVER HIRE YOU TO TAKE THEIR PHOTOS”. It was like a glitch in the matrix that happened after these words were said...
I ended up breaking my back in Hawaii visiting my sister and nephews. Ouch. “Why would you jump off that cliff?” the nurse asked me, while saying “don’t you regret it” and my answer was “No ma’am I don’t regret it but if I didn’t jump I would have regretted it”. This time period would allow me to gather composure, reinvent myself and become a better me. Now there are people who will always live in a past tense where they don’t understand to become better you must learn from the past and make the now better. Breaking my back ultimately changed my life for the best. It was a long hard road back too having what I have now but the actual incident changed my whole thought process. Before I broke my back I was swallowed whole by peoples actions which I took as karma for my actions when I was younger but navigating it was tough at the time. I now reflect on that time as a learning curve and realizing if you can survive times that you thought were the worst you can survive anything.
Ah failure here we are again. It’s months later I am finally back home but home is Connecticut because in this time I lost my apartment, my job, my car, & pretty much one of my children. I am now 26 years old living on the sliver of floor in my grandparents house and let me tell you I felt like a failure beyond words. Everything had crumbled around me but the positivity I possessed was remarkable. I still had demons deep down inside that would be confronted with the first girl I would speak to after all this.
Having to move into your grandparents house is one hell of a transition, from your grandfather waking up at 4 am and him calling your name until you are awake then say things like “Oh your awake” to your grandmother telling you to lower your volume on anything you are listening to until the only option is mute. But this shit will humble you. 10 Months later I finally am cleared to go back to work and I get this job that would last maybe 2 months before I was let go, for reasons I was never explained. I cried, and I mean I cried hard. I was embarrassed to tell my grandparents that I lost this job because fuck I was just failing left & right. I wish I knew what was exactly happening then but like most of us we never really get it until later on.
I would get a phone call from a family friend who owns a business where he goes to factories and strips them all down to sell the scrap. He wanted a website built and at this time he was in Fort smith, Arkansas so me being me I went and this is the first time my knowledge of creative things felt valued by someone other than myself.
The portal that I was about to walk through was not one of a financial structure but one of everything else in my life is going to fall into place.
I get back from Fort Smith, Arkansas right into a job as an iron worker, a week later I have my own apartment and the wu-tang mobile I just bought for like 800$ is finally on the road. It was called the wu-tang mobile because it came with a wu-tang sticker on the hood.
But the most important person or thing from this time is my now wife.
She believed in me when I had absolutely nothing, she was there when I was sleeping on that sliver of floor at my grandparents, she would drive back and forth to CT for almost a year before I got everything situated. Because of my irrational thought process I would tell her numerous times that I could not do this because I believed I was not good enough. She would constantly tell me that I was dumb and I was plenty good enough. I was very close to losing her because I held onto the failures in my life instead of viewing them as failed attempts. Failed attempts just means you had the courage to take them chances.
I would finally get the courage to move in with her back in Massachusetts. I continued to work as an iron/metal building worker in this time, never really feeling like I belonged. I loved the chaos of it but I was surrounded by individuals who never thought of anything else, and that is no blame to them, it was just not me.
I became a foreman of my own crew rather quickly, which wasn’t too hard considering the people in this trade. Everyone was so happy for me. They would say things like, you seem so happy, you are doing well for yourself, you got off your feet, but this would just make me feel for like shit about myself. Because once again I was eternally failing at this time, my happiness with myself was gone, but hey my child support was being paid and I could afford to do things. I was hurting eternally, I wanted to create & everyday that went by without me going after that dream made me more and more pissed with myself. I went from failing to societies standards of success, to failing myself. This is the poem I wrote when I was on a job site sitting on some steal waiting to make connections.
I would eventually be hit in the knee with a piece of steal and put out of work for awhile but on December 8th 2016 I woke up looked at my wife and said I could do photography and video full time, and she looked at me and said do it.
I have never looked back. Somedays are a struggle. I fall behind on bills sometimes, but with all the struggle I have endured prior it made me ready for what is next.
If I allowed failure to hold me back I would have never succeeded at this
And would have never turned this…
To eventually Marrying her…
So the moral of this story is don’t ever be held back because of failure take it as a stepping stone in the right direction. We live in a digital platform of a world where everyone can make their lives seem perfect. If I was to take my failures and not learn from them, I would not be who I am today and what I am working towards.
Life has a beautiful way of working itself out around you. Embrace your flaws and go after your dreams.
My failures are ultimately my successes
Thank you to everyone who allows me to keep doing this thing that I am doing. I love you all!