But I am not a writer. The writing has never really evolved beyond a few modules for my literature degree, a few classes at school, a few half-finished stories lost on the internet. This blog is my longest-running work to date but I couldn't really call it a story - it is a keepsake, a diary, a place to store thoughts like these. A creative outlet.
So I am not a writer, although they all told me I would be.
Instead I have been, in ascending order: a hairdressing assistant, a babysitter, a film extra (such fun), an editor's intern, a customer services agent, a supply chain coordinator, a buying assistant, and now an assistant merchandiser. Somewhere along my little career journey I fell into the wholesale accessories industry, which, although not terribly lucrative, is rather fun - things move very quickly, no two days are the same, and there is constant planning ahead. I can pretend it is a fashion career, because we deal in seasons and at any given time I'm thinking at least a year in advance. But I never planned on having a fashion career. I like buying things, I like consuming, I like samples and editorials and selling to people. I like spreadsheets and order and formulas and cracking numbers. But I don't love them (although v look-ups are life-changing, I swear).
I am not a corporate person by any means and the idea of working in a formal office never really took hold inside my head, so I have been very fortunate to work in such casual, fun, relaxed environments, where samples spill from the walls and inspiration can be found in every nook. But the creativity so rampant within my workplaces so rarely aligns with my own abilities - words have no place when you're selling to businesses, you see. You don't need to enthrall a business owner as much as you would a consumer. So I kept my head down and played my roles and saved any creative input for the blogging world, which has been my saving grace so many times over the years. And then, my colleagues discovered my blog. And they were supportive, and congratulatory, and encouraging. When we needed product shots for a catalogue, they asked me to help, on the basis that I was capable of producing halfway decent images for my own blog.
I'd always enjoyed photography, you see, but I was always told I'd be a writer and so that was my identifier, my creative focus. As a teenager, I used photographs liberally for art projects at school, I took ridiculous selfies for forum icons, I tentatively learned to use Photoshop to create banners for my online stories, I collected and devoured fashion magazines, ripping out my favourite editorials and creating collages for my room. But it was always secondary to my writing - and now for the first time, in my late twenties, I wondered if maybe I had been following the wrong path all along.
So I started small. I invested more time and money into my blog images, I dedicated time to my Instagram, I made a concerted effort to take my bulky DSLR out and about. If nothing else, I decided, I'd have plenty of material to fill future photo albums, for any offspring to enjoy and laugh at. I took my camera to my best friend's wedding, with the simple intention of taking some nice photos for my own album, but then she printed them. My little snaps, displayed alongside her professional images.
Having struck up a rapport with her wedding photographer, the lovely Laura DeBourde, I started putting together a little plan.I signed up for an online photography course to make sure, once and for all, that I understood all the technical aspects (and passed with 98%!). I invested my birthday money in a new lens. I started dragging my friends out for weekend strolls, just so I could take snaps and play with lighting. And then, last week, Laura asked me if I'd like to shadow her for a wedding, and before I properly knew what I was doing, I agreed to cover groom preparation. Me! With my little camera, shaky hands and over-reliance on VSCO!
It was terrifying. It was tiring. But it was also exhilarating, and I didn't stop smiling once. Even after looking through my photos the next day, identifying things I need to improve on, angles I should have checked, people I should have focused on - there were a few I actually felt proud of. When I posted some on Instagram, I was overwhelmed by the response - and when the bride herself commented, I could have cried with joy. I have rarely felt more emotional about putting something of my own creation out into the world, and all the words in my expansive arsenal are not enough to accurately describe my state of mind.
So what I'm trying to say is, it's all linked, somehow. If I hadn't loved the world of words, I'd never have felt compelled to start a blog. If I hadn't joined the blogging community, I would never have felt the need to work on my photography. I would never have realised how much I enjoy taking photographs. And I would certainly, never, ever, in a hundred years, have dreamed that people might like my photographs. I would never have reached this stage where I might even be considering making this a thing - but here I am, and I don't know how I'll do it, or what I might achieve - all I know is that I love taking photos and now I know it's something I want to progress with. People change so much over time, it's only natural for our dreams to grow with us.
I've started a fledgling Facebook page here if you're interested - just a teeny space at the moment, and I am so hesitant to even call it a business while I'm still developing, but every dream needs a starting point, right?