I have a hard time with the in between, the in progress, the becoming — it never seems worth documenting, commenting on, acknowledging. Despite “enjoy the journey not the destination” rhetoric, the journey isn’t always pretty (most often it’s not), and it usually requires a lot of patience, something I’ve never been very adept in.
So here’s an attempt to document that in between:
It’s been just over a year and a half since I returned to nyc (mid-pandemic) to pursue freelancing full time, and it’s been a slow growth. I’ve found myself in assisting gigs, a semi-regular digital tech job, some miscellaneous work shooting, but it hasn’t come without its fair share of challenges (scheduling difficulties, payment neglect, big egos & misogynistic treatment); and there are a lot of days spent with no jobs/work at all.
The freedom is intoxicating, but is also daunting with the pressure to be working nonstop, constantly growing, pushing for more connections and opportunities, fighting for a seat at the table. I’ve found myself questioning if anyone really cares about knowledge, talent, technical ability, etc., or if it’s just about knowing the right people, being in the right place at the right time, and/or having a huge following.
I recognize that everything takes time, and the slow progress (in some way or another), is all a part of “the plan” — but in the slow weeks, it’s hard to see it that way. You get wrapped up in comparison, self doubt, imposter syndrome. There’s no guide book, step by step process, or mentor to guide you through things — you have to believe in yourself over everything else.
It makes me want to retreat inward, share less, hide behind anonymity; unwilling to participate in hustle culture and self promotion, the networking and “putting myself out there”, the social gatherings that always seem to revolve around drinking.
I shoot self portraits alone in my apartment that fulfill the need to create, and release creative energy, but ultimately feel inefficacious and unprofessional. My inability to make connections, source equipment, a studio, models, stylists, H&MU, art directors, etc. makes creating full-blown shoots feel intimidating. I don’t have a “team”, it feels like it’s just me, and therefore it feels almost impossible to make “portfolio worthy” work in order to submit to jobs.
I used to talk about wanting to achieve success so that I could be of help and guidance to other’s who are coming up. I still feel like there’s such a lack of mentorship in the professional world, but I also feel like I may never really feel like I’ve “made it” enough to be giving advice to others; doubting that the experience that I have is worthy of passing on. And as I try to step away from living my life on/for the terms of others, I feel as though I should find purpose in my work outside of the need it may fulfill for other people.
I hope that one day I will look back on this chapter and feel grateful for the time I spent in the in between - the time spent working through the challenge of patience and trust. I hope there’s a version of me in the future that achieves things she genuinely feels proud of and continues to grow and learn. For now, I have to keep reminding myself this is just the beginning.