Aug 22, 2011

Longest Post Ever

Blogging has been something that I've been passionate about for quite some time. Some of you may be surprised to know that this blog was actually my first, started in 2009. I was a junior in college (I think?), and was surrounded by sorority girls and fraternity boys on a large campus where I was just one person. I wanted a place for myself, somewhere I could stand out, where I could share my thoughts and views with the rest of the blogging world. Very quickly I learned that my life really wasn't that exciting, and after a few posts, I stopped.

A few years later (or maybe only one) I started a new blog for a new project: learning how to make and decorate cakes. I was yearning to be different, and to have a hobby that people were impressed with. I wanted to be popular and fun, and I also wanted to express my creativity in a new way. The fact that I have an extreme sugar tooth really didn't help either. So as a New Years Resolution, Kati's Cake Project started. A blog about cakes and sugar and whipped cream. Colors and messes and adventures.

I had been told that a blog needed one TOPIC in order for it to be successful. And it was true. After only a few months of blogging, I had a small following. People would stop me in the grocery store and ask if I was buying stuff for my next great creation (which I usually was). Strangers would get my phone number from a friend of a friend of a friend asking for cupcakes for their daughter's third birthdays. People at tailgates stopped by my cupcake tower to ask where and how they could get their own razorback cupcakes. It was exhilarating to be the center of attention and to finally have a talent that nobody else had and that everyone else wanted.

I really liked that. 

I loved getting an idea and sketching it out, icing colors drawn out in different colored pencils. I loved going to Van Ness, a local cake supply shop, and picking out the different tools I would need to complete a difficult request. It was exciting to have a challenge and to figure out how to solve it, while meeting a deadline and making someone's day.

But I hated the in-between. Between the planning and the delivering, there was angst and frustration and stress. Many cake-baking nights were filled with tears and a feeling of defeat, even before the cake was done. John and I would argue about whether or not the fondant was straight, and I'd get frustrated and want to heave the entire thing out the second floor window of my parent's kitchen. It was hard and after about a year I just decided it wasn't worth it anymore. It was no longer a great creative outlet. It wasn't fun. It was a chore.

**a few of my favorite cakes that I made. :)

So I quit my blog and I quit cakes and I just relaxed for the first time in months. Life moved on, and for the first time in ages, I was able to start the process of growing up - something I'd longed for since high school. So I got a dog. I moved out of my parents house. And it was wonderful.

And then the inevitable happened, as it always does. I missed it. Not the cakes, but the outlet. I missed people reading my blog and seeing my pictures, and I missed having something fun to learn and to master. I'd never stopped reading other people's blogs and I wanted to have that too. So I decided to start up this blog again, to let it be reborn and to start fresh. No, I wasn't sure what my subject matter would be. I'm still not sure. But honestly I don't care.

About six months ago I started getting really interested in photography. I fantasized about it, read blogs and tutorials, anything and everything I could get my hands on. In July, I finally decided to buy my first DSLR camera. I remember going in to buy it and being so scared about this momentous purchase I was about to make, knowing that once I handed over my card there would be no going back. No changing my mind. It was thrilling and terrifying at the same time.

I have loved my camera since the moment I took it out of the case on the ride home that day and took a photo of John's car dash. Finally being able to achieve the blurry background (which is done through aperture) filled my body with tingles of excitement about the future. I couldn't wait to shoot anything and everything: my dog, my shoes, food, coffee, the sidewalk, a train. Anything and everything looked better from behind my camera.

And then I decided to be adventurous and take a friend out for a photoshoot. And it's here that I'm going to share a little something personal with you. Something I haven't really admitted to anyone - not even to myself. During the shoot, I felt awkward. I didn't know what to do, what to say, how to get the look I was wanting. After 30 minutes or so, we decided to call it a night, and I was relieved that it was over - anxious to get home to my computer to see what I had captured. And when I got there, it wasn't bad. There's lots to work on, sure, but it. wasn't. bad.

And then nobody really said anything about it. I could tell that my friend was embarrassed about the whole thing and that I had failed to make her see how gorgeous she is. I didn't have the same "gift" I had had before with the cakes -- the ability to just DO what I saw myself doing, achieving what I set out to achieve. Here, I hadn't done anything new or exciting and even though I had read and written and saw and observed, I had failed. I was not a photographer, no matter how badly I wanted to be.

Since then, I've been hesitant to pull out my camera. Hesitant that I'll have the same feeling of failure, that I'll be unable to capture the moment quickly enough to grab a good shot. I've been dying to take some photos of babies and dogs, because they're the only ones that won't be embarrassed or ashamed of how I make them feel or look. And if the photos aren't good, nobody has to know I even took them.

That's how I've been feeling.

But today I read this on one of my all-time favorite blogs. And it inspired me.

"Many of you have commented that you just bought your first DSLR camera, but that you are not a photographer. Guess what? You are. If you are taking pictures, you are a photographer; if you are writing, you are a writer; if you are hitting "publish post," you are a blogger. I am not afraid to take bad pictures, to publish fuzzy ones or to write something I might later regret. And I think this is the best advice I could give. Don't be scared. If you love doing something, do it. Learn it, stand by it, put yourself out there. You will fail. But you will swim again..."

THAT, my friends, is why I love blogging. And why tonight I will photograph even the smallest of things, and if I do fail I will indeed try, try again.

Happy Monday.


Anonymous said...

i really really loved this post. and while we may not be *much* of a following... paul and i sure love following your updates on here ;) thanks for always being REAL. xo

Anonymous said...

I read this after the post about Ella and just want to say I think you're doing awesome! Btw I don't really have a following either--but like that person said it's all about doing something that you want to do and something that makes you feel happy and worthwhile. So keep at it. You can only get better from here on out :)

Kati said...

Thanks guys. I appreciate your comments! And it makes me beyond happy that you read my blog. :) Love y'all!