Guilt-Will it ever go away?
Hands up if you feel guilty. I don’t mean you’ve run over the neighbour’s cat and told not told them guilty. The quiet guilt, the nagging and the back of your mind guilt. The kind of guilt that creeps in when you are having a lay in on Sunday morning and you think you should be doing something else.
Guilt: The Start
It’s something I’ve been battling with for a number of years. Starting with going to gym and then eating a doughnut-minor really. What you would expect when you’ve been a bit naughty. Recently though it’s becoming stifling, crippling even and starting to impact my daily life. It escalated when the lovely Mr Frog and Field purchased me a DSLR. Just over a year ago as I wanted to take nice pictures up the yard. I enjoyed this, loved just spending a few minutes snapping away and then rushing home keen to see what I had captured. I progressed moving on from shooting in Jpegs to shooting in RAW and started to learn how to edit. Granted my early mistakes were quite shocking, Time Hop takes great delight in showing me how shocking!
However, there was no pressure. No need to get it right all the time. The camera was relatively low cost and all the editing was being done on the home laptop. Then I started to watch other photographers, analyse their work. Suddenly I wanted crystal sharp pictures and I wanted to create works of art. People kept telling me I should do it as a job, that I had skills. The pressure was on. Maybe I could make this a job I thought? I wasn’t happy in my teaching job and I knew I couldn’t Vet Nurse for ever. So I did it more and more. Mr and I started looking at cameras and then we decided to upgrade my camera.
This was brilliant, so much faster and I got the confidence to start going manual. Mainly thanks to Nick who I’d met at Plumpton who encouraged me to just play with settings. It was all for me so just experiment. So I did, and eventually I got the confidence to shoot in manual, to edit and to start building my portfolio. With that came a computer upgrade and then a new lens. All of a sudden we had spent about £5000 on a hobby!
A hobby that I was keen to make into a job but I began to feel the pressure. With the pressure came guilt. If I wasn’t out shooting all weekend I felt guilty that we had spent so much money and I should be out taking pictures.
Then when I was taking pictures I felt guilty I wasn’t at home, spending time with the family. Playing with the dog and putting the washing on. Silly I know but it peaked when we lost our Labrador. I’d had a shoot booked in the morning for ages, I considered cancelling but it wouldn’t change anything. The Mr Frog and Field wanted to go, he wanted some normalcy in a stressful day.
So we went, we did the shoot. Came home and then got in the car and did one of the most difficult things I pet owner has to do. We had to let Bailey go and be free from pain. Yes, he probably had another year or two but the winters were crippling him, drugs weren’t working and he had stopped enjoying his simple pleasures. It was perfect, we couldn’t have asked for a nicer passing over rainbow bridge. He was at peace and went with some chicken in his mouth held in his dad’s arms. Not mine because I went into work mode, this led to guilt number one and me not being able to get out of the car the next day and go to work. Secondly I went and did pictures, I was that heartless that I just carried on my day when we knew what we were going to do. Guilt hit me like a ton of bricks and it’s taken a long time, lots of kind words and a little bundle of fluff to ease it.
Still though the guilt follows me around. I go to a show, take some pictures. See some friends. I feel guilty if I don’t stop and spend time with them and then I feel guilty that I’m not taking pictures if I allow myself some sort of life. It follows me everywhere and is starting to take the joy away from events. I have been very lucky to be accredited for many events and it’s a constant battle between staying all day or having a life. Do I stay from dawn to dusk to get that magical shot. The one that’s going to make me a renowned photographer and allow us to have a wonderful life and me to pay back the debt. I can’t I have a husband, a life, another job, a home and pets. That is the balancing act.
Guilt: What is the point?
With that though comes the trade-off. No time spent at home, no husband seen and then it’s back to the day job. I love being a vet nurse but now the guilt has followed me there. I’m constantly trying to balance the roles and writing an article for Tara Punter really made me question what it was I was trying to achieve. If I were to jot it down it would look like this:
Photos- I love taking pictures. I love everything about it. Getting home and editing, seeing that magical moment you managed to capture forever. Seeing people happy faces when they see their pictures. Looking at the canvases that feature my work. That’s what its all about.
Money- I want to pay back the start-up costs, I want to be able to contribute and comfortably pay bills and go on holiday
Life- I want to be able to spend time with my family, with my husband, with the animals. I want to see my friends and enjoy myself with them. I want to be happy in both my jobs and not feel guilty when I can’t clone myself or be wonder woman.
Guilt: Will it go away?
This is going to take time but I need to allow myself to achieve it too. I need to stop beating myself up. I am not wonder woman. I am only one person. You cannot please everybody all of the time but ultimately health and happiness needs to come first. This is becoming my new mantra and now I am off to Pilates guilt free (for the moment!)
P.S I’ll let you in on a secret we all feel the guilt.