It’s all about Michelle Montero from Callias Corner today! And in her honor, dirty spicy martinis, wine, and chocolate are all on the menu. There might be some irony in what I’m serving today as a hostess, given I met Michelle while we were both during a green smoothie challenge last summer. And while my cleaning eating diet didn’t last very long past August, I’m so grateful that my friendship with Michelle did.
For the past several months, I have had the pleasure of tracking Michelle’s photography career and the start of her business. In addition to being phenomenally talented behind the camera, Michelle is a huge inspiration for me in that she not only has a dream, but she’s pursuing it before our eyes.
Status quo…that’s my gig.
Keep everything as is…that’s my gig.
No major changes. Don’t interrupt the flow…that’s my gig.
Lay low. Mouth shut…that’s my gig.
Family girl…that’s my gig.
Safety…that’s my gig.
Leave the past in the past…that’s my gig.
Childhood dreams over…that’s my gig.
I’ll admit it. I’m scared. I’m frightened. I’m sh!tting my pants. I don’t know if I can do this. I want to do this, but I’m scared. What if I fail? Scarier still, what if I succeed? What if? What if? What if?
“What if my Aunt had balls, Michelle? Then she’d be my Uncle! But my Aunt doesn’t have balls, Michelle. That makes her my Aunt.”
These are the ever famous words of my husband. These are the words he speaks to me when I doubt my ability to succeed. He spoke these words before we moved to LA. He spoke these words before we moved to Maryland. He speaks these words to me now.
“We can’t what if ourselves to death, Michelle. If we did, no one would be anywhere.”
He’s simple and very to the point. Very, very to the point. And, he’s right.
I grew up in a dance world. I received my BFA in Dance. I lived and danced in NYC. It was fun, it was stressful, it was a time of my life when I thought fame and fortune should be handed to me just based on want alone. In my eyes, I worked hard and I should have been rewarded. But, instead of a reward, I was handed failure.
As a dancer I had to find time to work to pay rent, find money to pay for classes and find time to audition, audition, audition. With burnout approaching, a new boyfriend and just a heap of plain old bitterness, I left dance…defeated.
I’ve been bitter for a long time. My dreams were shattered. I had a degree that has done little for me by way of jobs. I leave a childhood full of missed football games, nights out with friends and a lonely graduation. Dance was my life! I sacrificed a lot to become a professional dancer.
Because of this failure, I never thought that success for me would ever be an option. Introduce a new husband (my then boyfriend) and two kids and, well, any dream of becoming the woman I wanted to become (successful, dedicated, driven) fell by the wayside. I don’t have time for success. I’m not good at success. I don’t know how to succeed. I’m complacent. I only know how to fail, how to give up. Then…I grew up.
There is something to be said about adulthood, about maturity. I now look back at my attitude in my 20s and I am not surprised that I didn’t succeed. To be honest, I don’t think that I wanted to succeed back then. I was afraid of success. I was afraid of the impact it would have on my status quo. I was irresponsible for a reason. I wanted to fail. Failure was easy. I didn’t have to work hard to fail. Failure I could do.
It’s been about 7 months since I started my photography business and all I can tell you is…I want to succeed. Photography, for me, is what my dance career was all about. Photography has given my degree, my dance training, new meaning. I see things differently now. I can see success in my life. I can see a future for my dreams.
I truly believe that individuals bloom at different stages in their lives. We don’t have to find success right away. We can find it in our 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, and hell, if you live this long, into your 100s! There is a reason I didn’t succeed in dance. I did not fail in dance, however. My dance past helped shape my photography future. Those failures are my greatest successes.
I still have a long way to go with my business, but I have this new found optimism in my life. So, what if I fail? Then I’m blessed with the knowledge that I learned something new. What if I succeed? Then I fasten my seat belt and enjoy the ride…because it’s going to be a long one!!
And, what if I had balls? Well, I do have balls baby, and “no” you can’t call me Uncle!
A special thank you to my beautiful blog friend, Ilene, for asking me to guest post on her amazing blog. Ilene has been one of my biggest supporters and I love and respect her dearly. Namaste.
I’m a photography obsessed mother to two little ones (ages 2 and 6)! When I’m not taking pictures of life, I’m hanging with my husband, family and friends. And I love martinis. Dirty, spicy martinis. And, wine. And, chocolate. And, really, really short hair.
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