Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Being Brave (Beyond Layers Day 28)

For Beyond Layers this time, Kim Klassen challenged us  to write down our bravest moments. Oh gosh. I am not brave. I have never been brave and I do not and have not done many brave things.

I've only done normal things; fulfilled normal obligations--went to school, did my work, went to college, did my work, got a few internships, did my work, went to graduate school, did my work, got a job, did my work, got a new job, did my work, got married, had children, did my work. I am persistent and stubborn and, often, determined, but I am not brave. That is just not the word for me.

There are a couple of things that I have done that others have said were brave, but I did not do them with that sense of courage. I did these things more out of stubbornness:

1. I had unmedicated childbirth two times, but I decided to do that and once I decided, I was not going to back down. I was stubborn. Also it was easy; not bad at all. I really believe any woman can do it if they want and the circumstances are right (e.g. no emergencies arise). It was not brave.

2. On a work trip to Belgium, I found myself alone and with a day off from work; my trip back was not going to happen until the following day. Rather than sitting in the hotel in Brussels, I decided I was not going to waste my chance to see something else special in Belgium, so I walked to the train station and boarded a train to the town of Brugge, not knowing the language and not knowing the country at all. But it turned out to be easy and well worth it. I got to Brugge, followed my nose into the downtown area, went into a local shop,  bought a map and spent the rest of the day exploring that beautiful town. I only wish now that I had been into photography at that time. One of my friends exclaimed afterwards when I was telling her about how fun it was that I was so brave to do that; perhaps I was, but I did not feel that way at the time. I just did not want to miss out.


I find dandelions to be symbolic of many things often, especially when I capture them in a photograph. These two photos symbolized acts of bravery to me because I think it is brave to take the plunge, go out on your own, let go of the familiar. 

Yesterday, I did do something that was a bit brave for me: I applied for a new and different position in the company that I work for. I do not know what will come of it, but I have been ready for a change for a long time. I have been reluctant, though, because athough I do not really like it, I am comfortable with my current position; I know what I am doing; I know the people; I know what to expect every day. At the same time, can I really spend the next thirteen or so years (until I reach retirement age . . . ugh) doing this same thing that has become so unsatisfying to me? Maybe. Well, yes, I can, sure . . . but should I? So I decided to take that first step and apply for something new. For me, that was a bit brave.

 Of course, it would be even braver to try to start over and do something that I really want to do for a living, but there is more to it than that; that could also be quite foolish because it would come with a massive pay cut. I know I have a responsibility to contribute to the financial stability of my family; that is the way it works in our household because my husband and I have fairly equal earnings and always have--and we both want to have an early retirement!

Kim also challenged us to write down our photography dreams, as an act of bravery . . . yikes. Here they are:

  1. Get a photo or two published in something (something that is not self published; something where someone else actually picks my photo) . . . a magazine, a map, a calendar, a book.
  2. Win a photography contest (this is just a dream; I do not feel like it is important for anything in particular, but it would be nice.)
  3. Collaborate with someone or a group of people on a photography book or some sort of project.
  4. Admit that I am a photographer and join a photography club (I know this should be easy, but it is not for me. It is so hard).
  5. Sell photos more widely and/or participate in a photography exhibit locally and more 'in person' (whether that is actually doing a booth or putting work in my local art co-ops or getting in on a show of some sort--many possibilities, but so hard to do because I have lots of hang ups about putting myself out there). 
(I have actually sold a couple of items on Society6  . . . earned a total of $10.70 . . . BUT, though, that is not enough money, really for anything, I am still over the moon that anyone at all would even want to buy anything I did. It is a lot easier for me, though, to put myself out there online (behind a computer screen where I can be relatively anonymous). I was able to post on Facebook that I sold some things, but that was difficult for me, too. It is always in the back of my mind that people who I know in real life will be thinking just who does she think she is? I think it all the time myself . . . just who do I think I am?  With strangers of virtual online 'friends' I know they do not know or care just who I think I am :) I guess it is time to be brave and get over myself, huh?)


  1. This is beautiful, Bonnie! (I had unmedicated childbirth 3 times -- I can relate!) I love your photos and your goals! And I hope your job situation works out. You go, girl!

  2. I think you're underestimating your courage - even sharing all this is really brave (I haven't plucked up the courage to share yet...). I hope things work out with your job and you should really celebrate selling a few things on Society6 - it may be small but it is a FANTASTIC start. I love your photos here too and your photography dreams. :)

  3. i believe, you have it in you, to do the things you want. your photography is beautiful.

  4. What a lovely post, you are a lot braver than I am!