There exists within each of us a certain fear that hangs above our heads like a black cloud, threatening to pour rain down upon us at any moment. The more we believe in this fear the larger it grows, and the threat spreads beyond your control, to other people who are passing by, who cannot escape the rain when it pours. Some fears float out in front of you, looming in the distance, a storm cloud rolling in, while others fade into blue skies behind you, and you’ve seen their demise.
Fear is a funny thing. No matter how often we confront them we find a new one. When the clouds clear up and the sun shines through we find another cloud to take it’s place. And that is the human condition. It is the desire to find fear and face it that makes us unique. It is our undying affection for challenge and rebirth that makes us interesting.
We shelter ourselves with umbrellas and hats and rain coats so that we cannot feel the sting of the rain, but the rain is rarely as bad as one thinks it will be. It can be unpleasant and cold and lonely, but it lets you know you are alive. Just the same with fear: when we let it touch us, when we do not run away, it has no more power. The more we ignore it or shield ourselves from it, the larger it grows, an ever-present entity in your heart. But when it is unleashed, and we feel it’s full effects, we know it for what it is. We call it by name and look it in the face. We understand what our fear has to say, and we respond in kind.
Do something that requires bravery every single day.
That was the thought I had the other day that changed everything for me. I no longer felt bound by life’s rules. I simply wanted to be brave, to do something that scared me, and to face that thing head on. When we do something that takes courage, we diminish fear. It will never leave our side completely, for if it does we know we are complacent, unchanging, and stagnant. But that cloud will grow smaller, as I have watched mine for the last few years, until it is a friend, a companion, waiting to challenge you.
Don’t let your storm cloud grow so large it changes the lives of others. And just as importantly, don’t let it cast a shadow over your life. Take control of it. Embrace it. Learn to see the good in it. And when you do, you might find that it has moved on without unleashing the storm you were expecting. Because when we love our fears, we make room for blue sky days.
Model: Mia Hutchinson
Share here a fear that you are currently struggling with.
Share one way that you exhibited bravery in the last month.
My current fear: That my convention won’t be a success.
Moment of bravery: Emailed new galleries to request exhibitions.
Sam - My fear? Maybe I’ve gambled too high, loaded too heavy a workload on me. Maybe I’ll fail. Fail so hard that the (huge) company I’m dealing me might just crush my company on legal grounds like a mosquito.
But, as always: If I make it through this, I will have grown. Maybe grown enough not to take such stupid assignments where I risc not only myself but the jobs of other People, too.
I love challenges 🙂
robin spalding - fear: that im not good enough in photography
i forced myself to a local critque and shared some work and i made an appointment with a local gallery rep to review my portfolio and help me learn how to approach galleries which i am going to today.
jen sulak - My fear: that no one will ever want me to teach anything to anyone – and that all my workshops & retreats are for nothing.
Moment of Bravery: creating the 2nd look of Silent Hill in the nurses character amidst the rain and lack of makeup on site and iffy backdrops. 🙂 We did it ANYWAY!
Paulo Carvalho - Great post! It made me well to read it, given the circumstances. 🙂 I loved this analogy of the rain and fear and I could not agree more. It is curious that I am listening to the radio and Kelly Clarkson, and she says, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. 🙂 As for me, the fear with which I struggle today is not to disappoint myself and not let me go down again. Thing I did recently! But maybe this is necessary to make us stronger. Leaving this stage, in fact, I feel more strongly, no doubt. I plan for this weekend, create, create and create… 🙂 Another fear I had was shooting an event like a wedding. Interestingly, at this stage I went through, I was invited by a friend to photograph an event in the Catholic Church (the communion of his son), and I accepted the invitation with all the fears of the world. But went very well and right now, I’m editing the photos to give him. Think of it, fate has these things. This experience to face this fear helped a lot to get out of this phase. 🙂 Brooke, I love the picture with the black cloud and at this moment tells me a lot. XOXO
Rachel - Fear, for me, is that one emotion that connects everyone. I know people can understand and it’s not a platitude. Some people have never truly felt self-esteem, joy, love, anger, deep sadness or success but we all know fear.
Years of trying to be anything but an artist was because of fear. Artists almost never “make it.” They starve and I desperately wanted success. Then I got a D in my Photo II class. That was supposed to be me facing my fears.
What does it mean exactly, to face your fears? I’m an adult with a learning disability who keeps enrolling in college semester after semester even though my grades are dismal. It seems to me rather than facing my fears I’ve built my life around fear. If I’m scared of it I do it. Then I expect that effort alone will be enough to conquer my fears. In my mind that means to get good grades…to pass, to graduate, to be considered a successful artist.
But nowhere in the phrase “facing your fears” does it suggest that you will overcome them, that you will succeed or that they will vanish.
So I have to ask myself. What is it I dream about every day (besides the family that I love because they always come first)? That’s art. If I don’t spend every day with my camera and PS I feel withdrawal. Sometimes I paint, others I knit, crochet or weave. Life without creating something from nothing would be meaningless even if I never succeed. That’s what it means for me to face my fears, even though a big portion of my fears are that I will never know success (or be talented at anything).
I have to remember that the next time someone suggests to me that, “college may not be for you.”
Thanks, for all the inspiration.
siva - I could go as far as to say I am afraid of living. but that is because I believe Living is so much more than most of us are taught. Living is exploring, creating and enjoying our senses and feelings. yes, even the unpleasant ones. Right now I am applying for a job far far away in the countryside. I feel joy and fear at the same time. I am saving money to go to University in another country in the fall, pursuing my dream of singing and acting. that is scary too. but it is much more scary to NOT do what you dream of.
thank you for the inspiration! reminds me of not being so afraid of my fear 😉
Steve Shepherd - Such an inspiring post, Brooke!
I’ll do these in reverse order… My moment of bravery was asking some friends to model for me. I’d never done that before and I was so nervous asking. They seemed a bit afraid of being in front of the camera so I’m not sure whether they’ll agree, but at least I took that first step of asking. Seems like such a small thing but it was a big leap for me.
My current fear is that the photoshoot I’m planning with these models will be a complete failure. That’s a realistic possibility and I’m just reminding myself that I’ve learned more from failure than success. 🙂
Jenessa Schultz - Current fear: that the new career move I’m making will fall flat. That I will work in a pharmacy for the rest of my days, leading a strange double life.
Moment of Bravery: sending out the emails I needed to regardless of the above fears. How can my passions ever catch fire I’d I don’t show them?
Kate Cee - Brooke, you always have such wonderful words of wisdom to share. And such heart. Thank you. I love the idea of doing something brave everyday!
Kate - Fear right now is being a photographer, my work is being stolen a lot recently, even when providing a clear deterring at the time of publishing… so I have to take charge and follow through on getting tough with people who have bad attitudes.
I have also got to charge people and funnily I have a little issue with actually asking and being upfront.
Another fear is growing up and taking control of my emotions so that I can stop and think then rationally respond, instead of reacting and taking things personally.
Being brave.. well there’s two examples above, how I’m facing these issues head on.
Another instance of being brave, is allowing my ex back into my life, he is a decent guy, but he’s abrasively honest about his opinions, which means I’m pretty much the only one close to him, that’s a responsibility I’m a little daunted by.
aimon - Hi, I have always had the fear of success. I have always left things half done and never waited for them to finish, to succeed basically. I really don’t know why that is. Maybe not believing in myself.
However, since I have ventured into photography and especially fine art photography it has made me extremely brave. I have not been hesitant to publish my photos on social media. I will say this that I have been following you and you have also inspired me alot to meet my fears head on.
I would appreciate it if you will look at some of my work.
Carrie Lopez - I have many fears, unfortunately. Lately, the most debilitating one is leaving the house. The bravery portion of this question…I still force myself to to do what scares me the most and despite the fear, I always survive. This trip to Colorado is going to be a big challenge but because of all the positives involved once there, I’m not going to let my fears cause me to miss out on possibly one of the best experiences of my life! So excited to meet you- <<>>