Align your personality with your purpose.
On a trip to Washington DC last spring, I was reading [The Path Made Clear: Discovering Your Life's Direction and Purpose] by Oprah Winfrey – ““Your real work is to figure out where your power base is and to work on that alignment of your personality, your gifts you have to give, with the real reason why you are here,” she said. “Align your personality with your purpose, and no one can touch you.”
Am I aligning my personality with my purpose? I know photography was what I wanted to do. It’s half true, I love the photography part of it, brainstorming with the idea, photographing people, editing etc… but I am still frightened by the social part which requires me to be extrovert, to put myself out there and be surrounded by people.
Social Media is a platform where I most likely will never be able to conquer. I can’t remember how many times I told people, if I wasn’t a photographer, I probably wouldn’t even have an Instagram account. It is true, I have always been an introvert, I wish no one will notice me if I go to a party (which I do not normally get invited), I stay in my room and read and daydreaming… You must have met a girl like that in high school, so quiet and a little quirky, and you don’t remember her name, do you? That is me!
But here I am, I am a portrait photographer. I love portrait photography so much, more than photographing birds and flowers, landscape, or astronomy, I must get out there and talk to people. It is my greatest fear, a huge step out of my comfort zone. I am too shy to even engage with strangers in my own language in my own country, how much more in a foreign language in a foreign land. What if I pronounce that word wrong? Will they think of me as stupid? What if they don’t like me? Why would they even come to me for photos in the first place? Am I good enough? My imposter syndrome kicked in.
The scariest thing is to post my ad on Facebook mom groups or creating Instagram / Facebook ads, I felt like I was stripped naked and being displayed in a window. I care too much about how people would think of my work, my price, my style … what would they think of me?
If I could get pass that first encounter, everything would change. When I finally got to be behind the camera, I became that little girl again, who sits in her safe corner and silently observes. It gives me peace and power at the same time, “they can’t see me now, only I can see them”, I watch the light jumping on their hair, watch them laugh and dance, tickle, gaze into each other’s eyes, I feel what they feel, I laugh their laughter and cry their tears. Those moments that you can feel but cannot see, I got it; that side of your face, the way you tilted your head when you think, I got it; It is my world, I didn’t need to explain to you what it looks like, you will see all of it in my photos.
Undoubtedly Photography is my calling and my passion. Not everyone gets to do what they love for a living, or even discover what their passion is. It is my ultimate privilege to get to pursuit this photography dream.
As for me, being a portrait photographer completed me as a person, it is a self-discovering journey. I face my fear eye to eye every day, and the reward is those gorgeous moments unfolding in front of me like the petals of lilies, those beautiful eyes looked right into my camera, and the faces imprinted in the bottom of my lenses.