Sometimes fear is not loud. It doesn't wear vibrant hues or announce itself upon arrival - not in my experience at least. Instead it's an opportunist waiting for the tail-end of an otherwise lovely day to reach up and tug gently at the seam of your skirt. Its job is not to pull you under while you kick and thrash to stay afloat, but to invite you to glance down into the darkness in which it lives. How deep you willingly dive to meet it, is up to you.
Can I pull this off? Am I crazy?
To sum up the last year and a half of my life:
1.) I quit my job 2.) I sold my house 3.) I moved into a mini-van 4.) I spent 4 months with my husband traveling the continental US 5.) I metaphorically set my Master's Degree on fire 6.) I decided that my passion would become my livelihood, and 7.) I did not decide that last one on my own.
I was in the middle of the Utah desert when I called my brother. My phone balanced on my knee as I scraped the turquoise polish from my nails. He was in New York, which was 'home' to both of us, and he had spent the last 6 months falling in love with his baby girl, Lorelei.
"So, I was thinking..."
This is not the first dream that I had unveiled to him, or other members of my immediate family. Creativity comes easy. It's the execution of the plan, they'll tell you - that's where I fall short. But that is also where he doesn't. Ryan is a numbers guy. He is practical. Sarcastic. Awkward, but endearing. Charming. Smart. A reads-the-manual kind of guy. And if I'm being honest here - as a general rule, if there ever was a manual, I lost it months ago.
Something had changed for both of us, in two very different ways. I had, without hesitation, quite literally sprinted (drove) toward uncertainty (which just so happened to be, as the crow flies, due West) just months before. And he had done the same, only his uncertainty came in the form of a tiny, living, blue-eyed human.
To make a long and convoluted story short, we found ourselves in very different life circumstances and thousands of miles apart yet in exactly the same place. This, in a roundabout way, is how Due West Photography came to be. Ryan ached to stop time, or at least delay it - and I ached to create, write, make, do. We grew up paging through photo albums on our stomachs on the living room floor of our parents' home - the same home they still live in. We would push our fingernails into the edge of our favorites and try to guide them from their plastic sleeves. Sometimes on the back was my mother's handwriting denoting the date and a short caption - in all capital letters.
"RYAN AND JAMIE 1990 CAMP ON THE RIVER"
Fast forward hundreds of hours of Photography classes, and thousands of dollars in equipment.
We're eight months in. We're excited about where we're headed, and despite the fact that we each have our moments of fear and doubt, they are rarely, if ever synchronized. One inappropriate bathroom themed text to the other, and suddenly we're back on track. That's the thing about siblings - as a team, we have a head start on everyone. Fear is part of the deal, anyway, right? Fear is part of everything good. Every risk. Every beginning. Without it, I'd still be numbly punching in a code on my office phone to retrieve voicemails that left me empty, and I never would have asked the same hard questions that ultimately mobilized me:
Can I pull this off? Am I crazy?