“When you don’t know what to do, get still. Get very still until you do know what to do.”-Oprah Winfrey
It has been exactly one month since the last time I had the courage to create another blog post. I decided it was time to be vulnerable, to stop worrying about what my viewers think, to let go of opinions and validations, and again begin to create. When I write it can be nerve racking. There are a few places in my life where once I go there I am free. The first space is my photography. Second, is when I write. I had an amazing English teacher in college who effortlessly encouraged me to write. Her name is Kathleen DeVore. We would read short stories about culture, and laugh while being thoroughly entertained by the ever so witty, Margaret Cho which I had the chance to meet and photograph this summer at one of her shows. (Funny how things manifest.) My teacher knew how to get life out of us and taught me how to put it on paper. I will never forget our sessions of reading our vulnerabilities out loud, sharing what we had written based off of the stories we read. When it was my turn, the class that I grew to love was beautifully silent, and by the time I was done spilling my life lessons, they were moved out of their comfort zones and wiping the tears form their eyes. My teacher had taught me that I could find the empathy that resides in someone’s soul and force it out of them through my experience and deliver it through my words. Kathleen told me to publish my work, honored and a little in disbelief, this is when I fell in love with expressing myself through empathetic emotion.
I am an artist, born into this world to create. From photography, to writing, from cooking to styling, I thrive when I am able to shape and mold an idea and to make someone feel emotion when they encounter my work. Creating takes bravery. It takes the ability to feel safe enough to escape from reality and embrace the unknown, trusting that I will become what I feel and create my vision based off of the limits of my own imagination.
A month ago I told my friend Jose Ruiz, who also mentors me on the fabulous life of marketing, that I was blocked. I had tapped out of the blogging world, I have spilled my soul onto my website for all to read, and I needed a break. Jose, being the calm and collected type of guy that he is said, “Okay, take a break.” This coming from the guy who gets all of my notifications sent to his phone so he can keep tabs on what I put on the internet. He is invaluable in the fact that he supports me, he listens and he trusts my energy to create when I need to and to take a break when I need to. I can hear my wife Kesha saying to me, “People need time to recharge Brooke, it’s okay.” All I can think is that when I am not creating, I am not being, which is totally hypocritical to everything I preach about being present in life. Someone in Brazil has visited my website fifty-five times, my photos and blogs have been viewed from admirers in Australia, Ecuador, Chile, and Moscow, and those are just a few. My business is growing in ways that I imagined, and with each accomplishment and opportunity I am ecstatic, but I had so much pressure on me to create, that I forgot to just be. Once I let go of all of that, I began to photograph the most incredible moments, I was able to see things I had never seen, and my imagination is now able to create freely, without limitation.
I still wake up every morning, thankful for every opportunity to photograph a new client, a new horse, thankful to travel to new places, and to learn new editing techniques. I am grateful for being put here as an artist, pressure and all. I am never content, always challenged and have gratitude for being grounded and present in all of it.
The moral of the story, as they say, is that it is alright to own your creativity, it is humbling yet draining at times to share yourself in this way with so many different people. I learn from being still. You have to learn the discomfort of being still in order to create, in order to imagine, in order to grow.
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