krista-michaels-fashion-portrait-photographer-picLet me just start this out by saying that it took me an extremely long time to find both the courage and inspiration to follow my dreams, passions, and to attempt to accomplish my goals. Couple that with twists & turns, ups & downs, roadblocks & hurdles, naysayers & deniers, hurt & pain, regret & wrong decisions, and well… you get the idea. Let’s face it… finding your passion, alone, is quite the difficult gig… let alone staying true to your intended path.

Sometimes, we all must do things that we really would rather not do in order to get on the right track; some of these things are completely useless and, seemingly, a waste of time, whereas others may be very necessary, nonetheless. You must be the one to decide what is necessary for you. All things considered, I’ve experienced the useless and the necessary first-hand, though I highly doubt that I would change a thing in what has happened to this point in my life, as I firmly believe that these things – both good and bad – are what have defined and/or shaped me as a person.

I don’t claim to have had the hardest life in the world, nor do I conclude that my path has been the easiest. What I do know, however, is this: it is personally very important to me to go the opposite direction from those around me, to try new things, and to explore the unknown areas in my life. I have tried my damnedest to turn my weaknesses into strengths, and proving to myself and others that something extraordinary or of somewhat magical qualities can be accomplished. An accomplishment, in my mind at least, isn’t entirely the outcome of said journey, but rather the journey in and of itself. Why do I believe this?

Headshot - ©2014 Krista Michaels - Fashion Photographer
Photo: Krista Michaels
Model: Jessica D’Amelio
I grew up in a rather small city, filled to the brim with very discouraging people who – with a moment’s notice – would find any and every excuse, rhyme, or reason to crush any dreams or goals that one may have; these people included acquaintances, friends, and, yes… even family, to a certain degree. People even spoke of a “veil” that seemingly covered the outskirts of the city, casting a sort of negative darkness over everyone and everything. Take what you will from this, but either way… I do believe that growing up in such an environment made me a much stronger person than I otherwise would not have been had I been raised elsewhere. We all have our stories and inspirations to grow from; with that in mind, it may not take much for you to figure out what you draw inspiration from.

The act of following my dreams is so very important to me. We live in such a cynical world, and for most of my life… anything outside of the ordinary, mundane life – which included having a typical slave-wage, nine-to-five job that I despised, the pressures of getting married and building a family (which, by the way, can be such a beautiful thing for those who want it), and last, but certainly not least, “getting one’s head out of the clouds”. My response? Have fun! I, on the other hand, have a much different perspective. Which brings me back to the journey. I feel such an accomplishment by staying on my desired path against all odds… and against the lifestyle(s) in which others so freely wish to cast upon me. Mind you, I don’t get a thrill simply by doing the opposite, but rather by doing what makes me fulfilled… or whole.

To say that life is short – as many so often do – is quite the understatement; it is all over in the blink of an eye. If you want something bad enough, you’ll soon realize that time really isn’t so much on our sides as many of us like to believe. It’s simple to say to oneself, “Ah, well… I’m only twenty-five… so I’ll continue to do things that I don’t want to do for a while, and I’ll plan for the future.” That’s all well and good, though I can’t tell you how many people I see – myself included – that continue to have that same exact line of thinking five years later… or ten years later. Time is ticking, it really is.

One of the joys of life is the uncertainty of things. I tend to love the surprises that life throws at me on any given day; I also tend to loathe many of those surprises. Perhaps one of the biggest uncertainties for us all is our mortality. It’s true that many individuals prefer not to think of the end. However, for me, the end – meaning my own death in this case – is what drives me the most. Why? Because I don’t know when it is going to happen. I could pass away at age seventy-three, or it could be an hour from now. And, god forbid, when that time does come, I want to know that I was at least doing what I loved.

Headshot - ©2014 Krista Michaels - Fashion Photographer
Photo: Krista Michaels
Model: Donald
There is a famous quote from a small, green alien that I never let out of my mind; this quote comes from the wise Yoda of Star Wars fame; it is a well-remembered quote, and for good reason, as it says a lot in so few words, and applies to anyone: “Do. Or do not. There is no try.” This quote sticks with me, because nearly everyday I see people “trying” and/or simply making excuses for why or why not something is or isn’t happening. Everyone, myself included again, has at some point or another made numerous and, might I add, unwarranted excuses; these are nothing more than reasons for not doing what you want or need to do to further yourself. So, when you catch yourself in a rut simply because you are trying, rather than doing (at least in the aforementioned context)… well, just make yourself conscious of that fact. Stop yourself in your tracks, and decide what it is that you have to do… and do it.

Do not, however, let others be the judges nor decision-makers in your life. It’s your life; write your own story, and, thus, your own ending. Early on, I did a lot of – what I consider to be – bullshit in order to please others or to “blend in”, if you will, with what is usually expected or deemed “a good life” in my particular society. Though, at the same time, I suppose my character is that of a rebel by nature, as I’ve always wanted an exciting and/or meaningful life of my own, even against the advice of my peers. Sometimes – and more often than not… most of the time – doing what you love is going against the grain… especially if it doesn’t involve working in a cubicle, or the like. And that’s what makes it so difficult; your chosen path can and sometimes will be quite lonely. But, just remember one thing, you are not alone. For every “outrageous” dream that you may conjure up, there are others out there doing even more extraordinary things, seemingly against all odds.

Don’t get in the business of letting others pave your road; sometimes, the difficult path is often the best one to take. Good things rarely come easy. The clock is ticking, and the questions remain: Are you willing to journey through the fog… into unknown territory? What is the best path for you? Do you love what you are currently doing?

  • Smiley Guy

    wow, well said!