I wrote a quite blog some time ago about my plans to write my Dad a letter telling him about my work and what I do. Sadly though, despite writing that letter I never posted it. I don’t know why. Lack of confidence I guess and my superstitious nature. I have been worrying that my little bubble would pop as soon as I started telling him about how well I was doing. I’ve never had any concerns about the nudity involved in the modelling work that I used to do, or indeed the nudity in my own photography. My need to keep my modelling and photography private from my family wasn’t about shame but rather, I was keeping them to myself as my own little sanctuary away from the dramas that were going in my life at the time. And yes, some of those dramas were family related. I suppose recently I have realised that my life at the moment feels to me to be quite content and calm; and so perhaps it is time to let my family into that side of my life too.
After leaving Glasgow in 2012, even though I only moved to Girvan which is a tiny little town in South Ayrshire; I very much isolated myself from my family and friends. I’ve written before about how miserable I was when I lived there and how much my mental health deteriorated. Then there was a sudden relocation to England in 2013 to focus on pushing my work, and somehow here we are two years later. I miss my friends back home a lot, and I feel incredibly guilty about not seeing my big sister and her children regularly like I used to when I lived in Scotland. However, in hindsight I feel that some of the reasons why I’ve always felt like a failure are because I knew that I needed to actually do something with my life and stop trying to spend it looking after other people. My Dad always said to me to not stay in Scotland my whole life and I know now what he meant by that, and I think I’ve sort of taken that on board over the last few years and acted upon it. Change is scary and putting yourself out there is scary, but I’ve lost out in more ways in my life by not doing things than I have by jumping straight into whatever it is that terrifies me.
On the weekend just past, I went back home for a visit and I finally got to see my Dad; as well as a few of my Aunts and Uncles. (My Dad has four brothers and five sisters so it is very hard to get all of them together in the same place at once). On the days approaching my trip up, I started planning a way to tell my Dad about my work by making a wee folder of images on my tablet to show him. However, when it came to it I couldn’t really find a right time or way to bring it up. I’ve always struggled with speaking to people in general and favour writing things down instead. Thanks to my Aunt though, the subject was broached rather suddenly in a more normal way when she asked me what I was doing with myself these days and therein it came out. “I’m a photographer.”
I showed my Dad some of my work later on that night when we were out for dinner and his response was, well, like how you’d expect a proud Dad to react. Like most things I get anxious over, there was nothing for me to be worried about in the first place. And so far, nothing has crumbled around me. The walls are still intact.
Today is my thirty-fourth birthday and before someone comments that I don’t look thirty-four – what does thirty-four years old look like anyway? Despite being thirty-four years old, I still look up to my Dad and care about what he thinks of me. It’s nice to know that he is happy with what I am doing, even though it took me a bit longer to achieve it than I had imagined it would when I was a child. Do you know what? I’m going to try to stop beating myself up over those childhood dreams I had, and accept that perhaps I needed to live the last thirty-four years in order to be creating the work that I am now.