When I Was Little…

When I Was Little…

When I was little my mom told me I could be anything that I wanted to be, and I believed her.

When I was little I told my dad I wanted to be a writer, and he let me write.

When I was little I wanted to make movies in Hollywood, and my parents showed me how to apply to film school.

When I was little I thought I’d try photography, and so I took some creepy pictures of myself in my bedroom.

When I was little I wanted to be a fairytale character, so I got some cheap dresses, dyed my hair red, and pranced around in a forest.

When I was little I decided I wanted to be one with nature, so I made myself into a tree.

When I grow up I want to be little, because when you’re little you believe that everything is possible.

When I grow up I want to live my dreams and always believe they can be real.

When I grow up I want to play make-believe every day and imagine myself as the main character in wonderful stories.

When I grow up I want my childhood values to follow me everywhere I go.

When I grow up I’ll see the world and color it with my vision of beauty.

Right now I am little and I am grown, I am nothing without my imagination and everything because of it. I am moving forward and looking back and taking my life experiences everywhere I go. I am the creator of my own little world, the character in the story of my life, and I remember the little girl who wanted to be a writer and a filmmaker and a storyteller and I remember the grown up who wanted to be a photographer and an educator and I say thank you. Thank you to little me for dreaming and to my parents for encouraging and to grown up me for listening.

We are what we believe we are.
What are you?


37 thoughts on “When I Was Little…

  1. Wow. Thank you so much for this! When I was little I apparently wanted to be an actress. I would take my Disney movies and act out the parts in my living room. I would even make up parts that weren’t even there and act those out too. Now as a little grown up (ish…im 24 ha!) I dont want to be an actress…but..I do believe that I want to create something. Something meaningful to other people. And I believe that God as given me my photography and imagination to do just that. I have thought about film school often. But…it seems so far fetched to me..that…I dont feel I should pursue it. When I chose to pursue photography, I knew I was taking a risk…cause I still have no clue where I want to go with it. Now its the same with film. Movies/tv shows are my life…as sad as that may sound. I love the stories and the art of acting and filmmaking. Being able to transport the viewer into another world..that almost seems parallel to their own. Im still trying to figure out where I want to go in life…but…I hope im closer to figuring out at least who I am.

    1. You know something Rebecca – I don’t think that loving TV and movies is sad AT ALL. I believe that is true for a lot of people. We love getting caught up in a reality that is different from our own, and being immersed in imagination. It is a REALLY beautiful thing. And I believe that any hobby (watching TV, for example) can be turned into a career (making TV shows). It can all be done. And you have a unique voice that will allow you to create whatever you want to create. I wish you so much happiness in figuring out what medium you want to create it..and I also wish you a happy journey in trying it all.

  2. Also.. your new piece is STUNNING by the way! Keep up the amazing work!! And I’m still excited for that documentary! You can do it!! 🙂

  3. I’m everything I wanted to be, because of my mom. She’s always been and still is a great support, encouraging me in every crazy thing I come up with. I’m also really greatful to my friends. I believe I owe a little bit to everyone I’ve ever met in my life for everyone is special and can touch your heart, thus change you. I hope now I can touch other people’s hearts and make them belive anything is possible as long as you want it with every breath you take.

    1. I believe that by simply (loaded word there) following your heart and living from a place of passion you will inspire others no matter what. You are amazing!

  4. When I grow up, I want to do a full scale, high budget underwater shoot with Brooke Shaden;) Have a productive trip and keep doing the little things. Life is far more fulfilling when you set others up for success.
    Safe travels.

  5. Brooke,

    This is so powerful. I cried as I sat here and read the words you so passionately shared about yourself to the world.

    I struggle with imagination. As a child I was too busy trying to survive an abusive environment. I never really had a chance to dream or imagine.

    I need help learning how to be imaginative. My brain feels so locked up in a box of black walls. I don’t know how to break out.

    I feel inspired by you. But the inspiration hasn’t moved me because of my black box.

    1. Hello Kimberly,
      I wanted to write to you because I understand your pain. I find it interesting that we all learn to cope in different ways. I too came from an extremely abusive home throughout my childhood. Although for me, it is exactly that, that caused my creativity and imagination to grow. I would always go to a place inside my mind to escape the pain. When I read Brooke’s words my first thought was, WOW how lucky she is to be able to say “when I was little my Mom said I could be anything I wanted to be, and I believed her”. My story would be more like, “when I was little my mom told me I could never do that, and I believed her”. But then I realized that we are lucky too! We have stories inside of us that others can relate to and be inspired too! I encourage you Kimberly to break out of that black box or begin to paint it! Use what is inside of you to express yourself! I believe you can do it!!!! I like to take inspiration from my cat. She always seems to find the sunshine and bask in it. So too can we! Let’s encourage each other and use our experience to encourage others! Wishing you a most beautiful day filled with love, sunshine, and full of your most beautiful imagination!!!!!
      Maria Doten

    2. Kimberly, I am adding here to Maria’s thread as I believe it is good seeing we are not alone in our black box. I grew up in a very loving family but anyways, I found myself stuck in a black box many times, and still visit it now and then. Recognizing we are inside it is the first step to embrace it and get out, it doesn’t mean you need to like it…no one likes the black box…but once we are there maybe we can see it with more kindness. Go ahead and investigate inside the box, taking pictures can help in this process: how does it feel? maybe you can show us in images. And finally realize, you are not your black box. As Maria said…use your experience to encourage others, we are all humans. Everybody’s story has a different message. Keep writing your own story 🙂 Mucho Amor!

    3. Oh Kimberly, I want to give you a huge hug right now. Reading what you had to say, I couldn’t help but wish that we could be sitting together right now so that we could push out of that box. It isn’t a fun one to be in. And I agree with some of the comments below – I can’t say that I understand exactly, because everyone’s situation is different, but we all have difficulties along the path and people telling us NO in one form or another, and we should use that as inspiration to be more than they think we can be, or that our situation wants us to be. I think that simply wanting to break free is the most important thing to realize, and from there it is about just doing it. Just laying out a set amount of time, getting rid of all pre-conceived ideas of what should or should not happen, and just creating. Let yourself go, create from the heart, and set yourself up for success by knowing that the most important part is doing it.

      We should Skype sometime.

      Sending you love, hugs, inspiration, and passion!

  6. When I was little I wanted to be a poem writer, a few years later I wanted to be a filmmaker.

    When I was little I wanted to be creative, but I never knew how.

    Now I’m still little but I’m trying to be creative with photography. Sometimes I’m struggling to find inspiration but since I found you I feel very inspired. THANK YOU!!

    When I grow up I don’t know if I want to be a photographer, probably not because it’s just a passion. I want to be someone who helps, someone who is trying to make te world a better place. It sounds cliche but this is my dream.

    When I grow up I want to live my life for myself.

    Now I am just someone who is finding her place in this world.

    Thank you Brooke, you’re amazing!

    1. Frania, I think that is an incredibly mature and interesting view of where your life is right now. To see yourself in an in-between stage is really important I feel. You sound like someone with a firm grasp of what is important in the world and I know you will go on to change lives!

    2. Thank you for your reply Brooke. It gave me a warm feeling and extra motivation to find ways to change lives 🙂

      I think we are almost always in an in-between stage of are life. We are always on our way to pursue something, aren’t we?

  7. I am who I am because of my parents, and the society I belong to. But I also believe that I’m so much more than just the rules and the restrictions that bind me here.
    I was having a conversation with my father the other day, and I told him that my biggest dream in life is to travel the world on my own – backpack through europe, road trips across the states, everything. And he laughed and said “well if you do that, you wouldn’t have a dream anymore would you?” He was only kidding, but I instantly thought, no, I’d dream bigger. As ridiculous as it sounds, I want to go to space.

    I don’t remember much about my childhood, blame my awful memory, but I know that growing up, I just wanted things to be better. And now, I let go. Or I’m trying to. Understanding and accepting that it’s not my responsibility to fix things was liberating.

    1. You have the brightest future of just about anyone I’ve ever met – I feel it because of your passion and kindness and talent.

    1. Oh my gosh me too! My husband and I LOVE to build a good fort. Sometimes we’ll sleep in it for weeks! And climbing trees is one of our favorite past times 🙂

  8. Fantastic! Im a first year photography student and your work has inspired my new found style. Thank you for creating so many amazing images!

  9. So beautifully written Brooke. I am a grandmother now, and only in the last few years did I start to discover my imagination and creativity, in small ways. Only in the last few months have I allowed myself to call myself an artist (I did not allow it before, because in comparison to ‘real’ artists like you, my work pales. But I have been releasing myself from comparing to others, which is freeing). Coming from a lot of darkness in childhood, my new art is deliberately light and fun and playful.

    You are so heartfelt and genuine, something which is hard for most people to be. Seeing your recent CL classes, I learned a lot, and at my ‘mature’ age I feel a fresh boost of creativity. Thank you for reaching out to others. I wish you well and pray you are greatly blessed in all ways.

    1. Ahh Tricia, congrats on becoming a grandmother 🙂 I believe that the only way you’ll grow and get better is if you don’t see your work in comparison to anyone else’s. There will always be artists out there who seem better in some way, but they aren’t. I am no better than you – we all have strengths and true artists differ from others in no way other than recognizing their unique gift. I think you have a lot to give to the world. You have already given me something – kind words to buoy me up and I am so grateful for that <3

  10. This is incredible. Sometimes I have a hard time reaching into my imagination. When I was growing up, I lived with my brother and my mom who was a single mom. She worked constantly to provide for us and many times that left me home alone with my brother. I had to step into the mother role so often, I think I grew up too fast. Now, as an adult, I am learning to be little again. Thank you for this and for the reminder that I can be both grown and little <3

    1. I am so glad that you are growing backward, so to speak 😀 What a wonderful thing to be able to do. Children have so much to teach us, and we can only hope to retain those lessons from when we were little. And for those of us who never had them, thankfully they are still there to be explored.

  11. It’s a great and personal thing to share and thank you for this! I like what you say cause i think it’s a great deal to pursue your dreams as you did when your were little and hopeful. For me it’s still difficult to connect again with that image of myself as a little girl, but i’m trying with photography. It’s funny, i think my art is somehow trying to tell me i’m stronger then i thought !
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts and dreams as freely as you do!

    1. I think that is wonderful that you are exploring your imagination. And the best thing is: it isn’t your art that is telling you that you’re strong, you’re telling yourself! Never forget that you are the creator of the images, and at the heart and soul of all you do you must have strength.

  12. Everyday of my life is dedicated to exactly what your parents did; letting my children know they can do anything and giving them the tools to try everything they want to attempt. It is invaluable to see you are an example of that.
    I unfortunately was never given that type of encouragement or expected to do anything short of maybe being a department manager at a retail store or something like that.
    After spending 6 years toiling through college and another seven lost in a cubicle, I found a direction about three years ago, through photography, thanks to my children. I will not allow them to grow and not see me doing something I love. I need to inspire them as I guide them.
    Thank you Brooke for continuing to inspire me.

  13. I am who I am because of my mom & my grandparents (love).
    When I was little my mom would let me pick out my own clothes for school, even if it looked absolutely crazy!!! lol..
    When I was little I wanted to be a dirt bike racer, so my grandpa bought me a dirt bike and taught me how to ride.
    When I was little I wanted to live in the tree in the backyard, so my grandpa lent me the tools to build my first treehouse.
    When I was little I wanted to be a chef, so my grandma taught me how to cook.
    When I was little I wanted to fly, so my mom let me take all the cushions off the couch and stack them up outside and jump off the porch.
    When I was little I wanted to be an Archaeologist, so for birthdays and Christmas I got history books.
    When I was little, my family supported and encouraged me with every crazy idea I had…they let me be me
    So the question is “What are you?”……I am so truly BLESSED

  14. You’ve clearly been able to connect your work with your soul Brooke. And from both emanate a great deal of love. It’s what we all must strive to attain. When lost, remembering what we loved to do as children is a way to reconnect with our soul’s desire. Thank you for reminding us so elegantly…

  15. Dear Brooke,
    I am following your magical work and blog as well as the amazing comments you receive here for quite a while now and I enjoy every bit of it. You create and speak from your heart and that is how you managed to create an uncomparable flow of inspiration – from your heart through your pictures and blog entries into everyone’s heart. And the best thing is, the flow of inspiration does not stop there but flows out of us again as we are inspired to create and write back to you and from the comments I read I am sure the inspiration keeps flowing back to you… I chose to participate actively today, to thank you all for this wonderful space that you all create together and to become a part of it.
    One sentence in your blog entry today touched my soul even more:

    “When I grow up I want to be little, because when you’re little you believe that everything is possible.”

    That is exactly what I want and it is what I want for everyone, because I am sure it is the most inspirational path to go!

    Thank you so much for this!
    Take care!

  16. When I was little I was a little different then most of the kids around me, unfortunately uniqueness is not always celebrated in youth. My parents were always there to catch me when others knocked me out of the sky. They always let me know that I was and am special, interesting, creative and beautiful. They taught me not to worry about what other people thought. What mattered was that I am a good person, and that being different or seeing the world with eyes full of wonder and curiosity is not a handicap it is a advantage. They never judged me, they lifted me up and told me I could be what ever I wanted. I did not always take the right path, but there has never been a dull moment, I have and continue to learn from everyone around me everyday, especially my 6 year old little boy(who wears a fidora to school):-) All paths especially the most painful ones finally put me wear I wanted to be my whole life, were I may have already been without knowing it. I am an artist. I am a photographer. I am a mother. I am a daughter. I am a princess, I am a blue bird, I am a rainbow, I am a drop of dew, I am a smile, I am a hug for anyone that needs one, I am a friend. Thanks mom and dad! Thanks to all the artists that inspire me, thanks to anyone who takes the time out to help someone in need(I have been that person before) Never ignore the truth of who you really are, don’t ever listen to the haters (some people do not like what they do not understand) surround yourself with those who encourage you and your dreams and do the same for them!! XOXO
    Chrystal Kelly

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