A burgeoning California morning. An abundance; fields actually, of colorful blooms. A camera. Thus began a promising day.
The homeschool field trip to The Flower Fields in Carlsbad left me with time, while my children were attending a workshop, to take in and attempt to capture–in my psyche and in my camera–the intoxicating beauty surrounding me.
Click, click. Smile. Click. Smile. Click, click, click. Smile.
Arriving home, exhausted but happy, I could hardly wait to view my shots. I loaded them up, hit “Import,” and waited. It would be a while. There were hundreds. I pulled up the internet to check out the photos of an award-winning photographer I had met that day, Donna Pegakis.
I was tired. Too tired. Way too tired to view amazing photos expertly massaged into fine art; photos worthy of the awards they had received.
I clicked over to my photos, now loaded, to see if any were keepers. I didn’t get very far before a wave of creative deflation hit me. What had I been thinking? Me, a potential professional photographer down the road? Who was I kidding? Her shots were amazing. Mine paled in comparison, despite the brilliance of the flowers. I took a nap.
Weeks passed. I received an e-mail from Donna with her newly updated site, and I ignored it.
This. Is. Not. Like. Me. At all. In case you don’t understand. I am not a jealous person. I used to be, but when I decided that being insecure was NOT an option, I eradicated jealousy–seriously (it took many years). I am the kind of person who will compliment a drop-dead gorgeous woman on her calves, her stunning low-cut blouse, or her form-fitting capris. So this fresh round of envy, in response to Donna’s amazing work, depressed me. Still, I ignored it, until I finally decided to look at my shots; not to see if I could out-do my new friend, but to see if any of my shutter clicks matched my vision for them. Lo and behold, since I wasn’t comparing my work with Donna’s; wasn’t letting the atrociously ugly green monster control my thoughts about my aspirations, I found some I loved.
Today I will contact Donna and share this post with her. I will apologize for not responding. I will tell her how her work has inspired me to keep my own creative vision alive–versus comparing it to someone else’s and deciding to quit, or to settle for less than my progressive best.
As for those demons I thought I had wrestled into oblivion? I’ve realized that they are always waiting to rear their formidable heads–especially when I forget to remind myself that my dreams cannot be touched by someone else’s accomplishments. In fact, if I am smart, I will let other people’s genius inspire me to new heights.