Friday, November 20, 2015

Showing Up

I met the thoughtful and creative Vanessa Jean and her #365 Quote project by way of my letter-writing friend, Miss Polly. Vanessa sends a quote and a letter every day of the year to her faithful readers.  She's figuring things out. Me, too.

In today's letter, Vanessa writes . . .

I am working on being good enough. As in, whatever I do, however it ends up - that's good enough. That the practice is in showing up, not necessarily in the output. 

I find this notion to be simultaneously liberating and terrifying.

It's facing that fear of making mistakes every day.

For as long as I can remember, I've hated to be 'in trouble.' I like to follow the rules, not so much because they mark the best path, but because following them pretty much ensures that I won't make anyone angry at me, disappointed with me, or open the door for anyone to know the real me. Make no mistakes. Nice and safe.

This worked pretty well for most of my life . . . until it didn't. Dwelling on past mistakes is keeping me from moving forward and from enjoying what is right in front of me.

And the fear of making new mistakes is paralyzing me.

I'm stealing quotes from Vanessa Jean because they are perfect guides for my photography and my life – TODAY.

No longer forward nor behind I look in hope or fear; But, grateful, take the good I find, The best of now and here. –John Greenleaf Whittier

May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. –Edward Abbey

I am scared to death half the time, but I keep showing up.  That's gotta count for something.


  1. I can so relate to this, my friend! Being perfect = acceptance. Of course, one cannot be perfect all the time! And, over time, a life built on trying resembles a prison. So thankful to know the One Who can break the chains. I have to say, you are becoming quite the street photographer! Your images entice the imagination! Weekend blessings, my friend.

  2. I had to do a double take on the first pic It looks very much like something I took this week. I though maybe you were in my haunts...but no, it is just a look alike. And anyone who hasn't made a mistake hasn't tried anything new! Mistakes are the best teachers.

  3. Love your street photography lately Donna... No mistake there. You are simply good, doing what you love.
    Ah mistakes, I've made so many it's not even funny and I'm still making them, in many catagories. Each time I figure it out, I say " ok". Who knew and I have to move on. Life is set up for mistakes. It's how we learn. I know longer worry about others opinions because in truth, my mistakes are usually minor and they are my own.
    Living life fully, as best you can, each day is all that counts. Forget about mistakes. Your perfect just the way you are. I have to say. Each time I read one of your posts you really get me thinking. Thanks, I needed that.
    Have a wonderful weekend.

  4. That counts big time! I gave up long ago, and became the rebel, and that is where I found the real me, not the girl that hid in the shadows being Glen's wife and Mallory's mom, and not just plain and simple Sarah. That is definitely who I am now, Sarah - writer and photographer - but probably not so plain and simple.

  5. Showing up and you do it so beautifully each and every time Donna. Don't let your inner thoughts tell you other wise. I too have always been a safe person but to me that is ok, that is who I am and why change something that isn't broken. Yes we can always improve that is what life's all about, trying to be better but there comes a time in our lives we need to stop second guessing what is wrong. At least that is how I see it maybe I am way off base, you see that is how I second guess myself! :)

  6. wonderful post - straight and to the point - I like that...yes, showing up is over half the battle! love the Edward Abbey quote - one of my favorite authors - Desert Solitaire is one of my favorite books...

  7. Showing up is EVERYTHING, if you really think about it. It's all that we have, this present moment.

    I've been fascinated lately with Ghost Signs, similar to the faded Pepsi ad on the brick wall in your first picture. They are endangered artifacts, for multiple reasons, and beautiful in their own right. Present moments, faded into the past. I live in a mostly new area, so I have to travel a long ways to photograph a single one. Lucky you, to have more within reach! Incidentally, there is an international effort to raise awareness about their importance (cultural value), and to preserve them for posterity. Here's a link, if you're interested in learning more:

    One last thing, if I may: Can you recommend an online tutorial for Lightroom? I thought I remembered you & Donna taking a class together a while back...?

  8. I'm trying to get away from be rooted to the same spot because of fear. My goal for 2016 is to work past the unhealthy fears and challenge myself to try things that make me uncomfortable. Love the quotes and photos.

  9. I love your street photography Donna, especially the black and white portrait ! I too am a very "safe" person most of the time, but occasionally I will rebel against something ;) I have no clue where I want my photography to take me, I'm just enjoying the ride !

  10. Maybe all this has come to a head because it's just the right time to deal with it so you can move on. I have found this to be true in my life. When I was really ready to deal with an issue, things would come together to force me to take a look and many times I would wrestle with it for a while before I was ready to let it go and move on.. I am in such a situation right now and I am finding it very hard to just let it go because my motivating factor in being "good" has been so people will love me. You will figure out what you need to do with your current issue because I believe anyone that is willing to search for answers and open to others support will find what they need and obviously you are that type of person.....

  11. Mistake. Learn. Mistake. Learn. I'll continue to make mistakes and learn. I think that's what life is all about. Now continuing to make the same mistakes over and over...well that's concerning. But keep showing up for sure!! Wonderful images!


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