February 10, 2022

2020 Isn’t Real, 2020 Can’t Hurt You

Personal, Floof, Cat Blog, Origin Story

Seriously, screw 2020! I know that was rude, but she knows what she did.

In a year tons of people died, lost jobs, and all hell broke loose. It was an absolute dumpster fire, hell on wheels, or whatever you want to call it. Though the good thing about fire is that even though it can cause extreme destruction and devastation, when it goes out there is a blank slate. Opportunity if you will to move forward stronger and even build things back stronger than they were before. At least that’s what I tell myself to keep my anxiety at bay when the world flips me on my head and kicks me in the pooper.

The few good things in 2020 that came for me essentially were, I had a job, my partner and I are alive and didn’t kill each other in our Boston sized apartment, even got engaged once we figured that we actually could stand each other in constant day to day settings wearing sweatpants and being disgusting. For the bad, we lost a cat to cancer named Bowser RIGHT before the holidays (still really butt hurt about that 2020), had to figure out how to manage depression and anxiety over zoom, and nearly washed my hands completely raw about 150 times a day.

King Bowser the Magnificent

2010 - 2020

Apply pressure and glue to fix.

During the reflection from home, and having the ability to think for a second from bed or couch rather than jet, I realized a few things that I wasn’t happy with anymore.

Backstory time!

In 2010 I set out to be a professional photographer and realized I had no idea what I was doing professionally or financially. I had never run a business or had to “budget” for things. I also had no idea what marketing yourself meant. It felt like something that should be illegal in most countries, but apparently I needed to clean up my mind a bit. Needless to say I failed hard and fell on my face. At the same time, so did my relationship that was holding me in place and felt like my only anchor point to life in Florida, my home.

Fast forward to May 2013

I took a job in Boston, cut bait, and schlepped over 1,000 miles in my beater car to a city I visited ONCE, and knew ONE person who was a friend of my (now) ex. I felt like a complete failure, train wreck, sell out, fractured human, and complete idiot. I was a very weird vase sitting on a shelf at an antique store that had been dropped and glued back together. I had to pick myself up, put some glue on the cracks of my life, and get to work. So I did, and this was my life for the next 9 years. Pressure holding a glued being together while the shop attendant tried to describe the cracks as “rustic character”.

Apply time, and energy to restore.

Fun fact, sometimes just holding the shit together isn’t a fix. You need to actually do something to secure the structure, and then put the imperfections to the background. There may be visible cracks, but the thing is solid and sturdy again.

August 2021

The vase began to crack again, and I broke out the third brand of glue to try to push shit back together to hold it together. I realized I was taking another job at a company that was a good move for me, but why was I taking it. More money? Obviously that came with it, but part of my training there was asking very pointed WHY questions. Questions that I began to ask myself on so many other fronts. Like why don’t I take pictures much anymore, or why do I get sad looking at my old work and other people’s that I used to look up to?

Get it together man

At this point, I had given my late teens and twenties to The Technology Industry, but what had I given back to myself. I made stupid amounts of money, spent it on stupid things, but was really at my all time low of happiness with my life. Why would I neglect the thing that mattered most, my own personal happiness? I had the partner, the car, the apartment, and the life so many people strive to get to and don’t reach until their 40s or sometimes never reach. What the hell is wrong with me? In the guest room closet I found a light kit I bought in 2019 to start using again. I promised to get back to doing the things that make me happy.

Next stop, Chinatown

I talked to my partner about starting to shoot professionally again, and that I really wanted to give it another shot. I was not happy with what I was doing, and I really needed to do this for me. Win or lose, I had to swing the bat. Or I’d never forgive myself and resent myself for not having the courage to get back up and ride this horse again. This time things were a little different though. I’d been working in Technology Sales Engineering for the past 5 years and it taught me a good amount about how businesses should run. I learned this little thing called “ROI” Return on Investment. Then, cost of doing business followed, and suddenly I had a business plan in the back of my mind for a photography business. So I got my legal in a row, and got a little studio space I could shoot in before my partner Chad made me live in the basement with my camera stuff. Though one still wonders if getting a studio in Chinatown was a good idea. Rent is super cheap for Boston, and space is great. However, I’m a little fat kid and being surrounded by all kinds of Asian foods, that’s how you wind up with buying different sized jeans multiple times a year. I just have to remember to pack my lunch because Generals Chicken 4x a week is not good, and I will do it if you let me.

I had a dream, I got everything I wanted.

After weeks of blood sweat and some frustration driven tears, my partner and I had set up a little studio business, and it was my little professional haven. Looking around the little space, we both were like DAMN we did pretty good. The next thing I know, he’s helping me price out options for sessions, and getting butts in the seats from his coworkers and our friends. Something is different here! There isn’t the “let’s be realistic here, do you think this is possibly a good move long term”, like before. It’s more like “let’s get this going, and you got this kid!”

Tits up Midge!

The single most important thing I have now in this business is support. Much like Midge and Susie in The Marvelous Mrs Masel, I have a Susie back stage making sure I remember that all I need to do is go out there and knock ‘em dead, but also TITS UP. As artists we’re hard on ourselves, and sometimes when things get rough you need someone next to you to bring you back to earth and ground you. Else you’re just a balloon fumbling around about to pop at the slightest sharp review or email.

Next stop, 2022.

If it had not been for the pandemic and some serious thinking and reflecting, I’m not sure I would have made these changes in my life. A lot of bad came for us all, and those that remain have a duty to move forward and really do things that not only make us proud to do what we do, but also give us a future we want to look forward to. Not just chase a passion, or envy someone else’s life, but live the one you want to live.

Thank you 2020 for being such a complete mess, and allowing me to sort out my mess.

Now as I tie off this TLDR of a post from my Delta Flight to LAX at 36,000 feet, I can only think of one thing to end this with.