For years I have listened to too many people around me blame the limits of their potential for why they aren’t living the life of their dreams. I choose to believe in a limitless world where we can do anything or be anything we want, but not without a lot of really hard work. I don’t believe in anything be handed over freely; that kind of success takes work even where there is no natural talent, and practice, and heartache. Those are all things that I value. How can we know the depth of our potential if we do not take risks that threaten to scrape the bottom?
These perceived limits are what hold most people back. We have setbacks, hardships, pain, and circumstances that do not always lend themselves to success. Some people are predisposed to be optimistic and others are not. There is no denying that the universe appears to line up from time to time in such a way that raises the hurdle too high. While we encounter problems and roll with the setbacks, none of those things interfere with what we could achieve. Our future might not look the way we imagined, but there is always another way to view your dreams that will turn them into reality.
“Nothing can be inside an edgeless universe.” ― Toba Beta
Limits are a funny thing; they exist if we believe they do, and they disappear when we stop believing in them. They are a construct of our insecurities. The most successful people in the world live a life without limits. It is clear in how they create new boundaries that no one thought was previously possible. They expand our ways of thinking and thrust us into a new reality.
You will find that when you let go of your constraints, there will be no ledge you won’t jump off.
I wanted to channel this idea in my self-portrait today. I was thinking about being limitless and how powerful it is to embody that. I try to do it everyday. I am not always successful, but I do try. I started to look around my house to challenge myself to use an old object in a new way – to remove the limits that the object is perceived to have and repurpose it.
I found this old metal tool box and it felt perfect for a good makeover. I started looking at what it could be instead of what it is. The utility of the box is where I started: “What more could I put in this box?” But soon I felt that I was keeping with the constraints of the object. I started turning it over and looking at it from afar, wondering what else it looks like instead of just what else it can be used for. That was when I decided to use it as a futuristic cliff (for lack of a better description) and see what I could create with my little tool box.
I chose a fluffy dress and ballerina shoes to contrast the sharpe edges and metallic finish. That combination provided a mixture of textures that I found really pleasing to pair together. After photographing the box from many different angles, I photographed myself to match. From the beginning I had a vision of a smoky/textured background, very foggy and mysterious. After the image was put together, I adjusted the colors and contrast to my signature liking, and stepped back.
It felt fantastic to see this metal box transform into something entirely different. As I was editing the image I forgot what it was and saw it only as what it could be. Is there any better lesson? To stop putting limits on ourselves, the people around us, and even as far as the things we see everyday? When we finally take that pressure off of ourselves to fit the definition of who we are we become free to be the person we could be.