I bought a t-shirt today that says, “I don’t sweat- I sparkle.” I had gone to TJ-Maxx to buy nothing really. Maybe a new shirt. I did find a shirt that I liked! It was collared, a little lacy, and a cut so I could actually wear (with the whole waist/hip ratio I have going on). I almost bought it too! It was on sale. But as I stood, I pictured myself standing in front of my closet with this pretty white shirt being the only thing I wanted to wear to photograph a wedding, and knowing I would NEVER wear a white shirt to a wedding – I just couldn’t, wouldn’t do that! I knew I’d feel sad because really the only time I wear nice clothes is when I’m photographing weddings! Or at least it feels like that, because normally I’m just a t-shirt and jeans kinda girl.

So I put it back, and instead stumbled upon this workout tank top that says, “I don’t sweat, I sparkle”- and of course the sparkle part is all gold and shiny! I went through the inevitable thought process of why I shouldn’t buy it. It’s not on sale…. It’s too flashy…. I’m not cute enough to pull that off… What if I wear it and someone wants to start a conversation with me about it….  It’s just not me. Or is it?…It isn’t… etc. Somehow, I ended up buying it anyway.

Now, there’s a reason I’m telling this silly introduction, and I promise I’ll get there.  Tonight I had the pleasure of sitting in on this talk featuring Elizabeth Gilbert, author & inspirer. She spoke tonight about being curious, life meeting life, and creativity.

Creativity is one of my personal values. I’ve always said, the reason I believe that creativity is so important is not because it means you’re artistic, but because being creative means you can approach things uniquely. Life needs us to be creative. I’ve always believed this! Tonight, so much just erupted inside of my head and my heart because she spoke the same message, and told these incredibly funny, poignant, authentic stories that inspired me to continue to live creatively.

That’s why I brought up this shirt thing because I realized…. I don’t know that when I’m working out or doing yoga that it’s very true that I’m sparkling. I’m pretty sure in those moments I’m just a normal perspiring human. However, when I get scared, or in a place of fear…. I don’t sweat. I sparkle! So I guess the shirt, is me after all! Sure I’ve got my own craziness (evident in above story), but when occasions come to rise above… I face the challenge head on with my full  heart!

Bravery is not something you’re born with. It’s something you choose. I was always an incredibly fearful child…. My sister (5 years my junior) tells this story of how when she was 6, I made her call the pizza delivery guy because I was too afraid of the phone. I’d like to say one day I woke up as a teenager and outgrew ridiculous fears like that… but it’s not true. Becoming unafraid is something I do everyday. I think I was in my early 20’s before I was ready to face the delivery phone call. Clearly, there are times I handle it much better than others. Honestly, I think I handle big scary things much better than the small mundane stuff. Why it’s this way? I wish I knew. It’s just who I am.

Elizabeth Gilbert said tonight, “Don’t be fearless. Be brave. Thank your fears because all they’ve ever tried to do is protect you. Fear has saved your life. Be grateful, and then explain why what you’re doing is greater than being afraid.”

I love this! I realized, this is what being an artist has always meant to me! I’ve been an artist my whole life because no matter the medium, I would rather express, risk, and try, than not know what would have happened. Yes, there are moments you’re afraid and you think it would be easier to not do it, not try, not put yourself out there. But then, you do, and something remarkable occurs! Now, I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty passionate about having remarkable, surprising, fantastic moments in my life.

I’ve come to believe that we feel fear when we care deeply. I often feel scared before sessions and weddings. I care so much! I care about my work, the PEOPLE I’m photographing with or for, I care about the situation, I care about what’s created, I care how it feels during and how it will feel after. I care what others think of my art! I care because it means something to me.

I’ve said this before but sometimes I look at my own photography, even my current success, and I’m always surprised! All this has happened because my amazing people (maybe even you) think I do a nice job- and what might be crazier- they might love what I create. Though I was afraid before, and scared of how this (and all of life actually) would turn out, I’m glad I did it. It’s amazing and rewarding when people find me and confess, “That photo you posted was amazing!” Or, “I can’t believe how beautiful our session came out!” Sometimes I think- Oh my god, you seriously think so?! I guess it did! I’m so proud! I’m also shocked! I made a thing, and you actually like it!  And sometimes I think, if only you knew how scared I was before that photo was taken!

So…. thus, this blog. Here are a collection of of my photographs that were taken when somehow I was scared. These pictures all have a very unique reason for me of why/what I was afraid of before I took it…. And then you can see what happened inside the photo! For me these are remarkable moments that I’m very proud of and love very much.

I hope that you have taken something away from this crazy little blog. I try not to get so passionate and long-winded, but I was truly moved tonight. I’m overwhelmed with gratitude for the clarity of my bravery, and the clarity of my fears. I’m so grateful for my fears, because they mean I’ve had so much that matters to me. Each of these experience and persons I’ve worked with, they are my motivation to face these fears. They were important enough to me to be a little afraid for. They are the reason I experience so much surprise and delight- not just in my work- but in my life!

I can safely say, I am such a better person because of taking chances- even when I was (an am) so afraid. It’s my hope that somehow, if you take anything away from this, that you let your curiosity, your bravery, be greater than your fears. Go experience something remarkable.

– Felicia

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The featured photo of Felicia at the top of the post was taken by Rachel Audette of Audette Family Photography. All other photos are taken by Felicia of Felicia Mart Photography, Denver area photographer.