You know, like most of us, I have spent a great deal of my adult life on a quest for more joy, happiness, bliss, if you will. After what most would call a difficult childhood that seemed to leak over into adulthood, I found myself spiraling deeper into a black hole of frustration. Nothing seemed to be going my way: pregnant at 23 (unwed and unattached), no post-secondary education in my past or future for that matter, living with my mother and only working part-time, was this to be my destiny? A single mother living off the system.
I eventually turned the tables, found a fabulous job and in the process, a wonderful mate who accepted me and my daughter, baggage (huge trunks full), quirks and all. We purchased a home, brought a lovely little boy into the world and the four of us were living a terrific life together. Two years later, our little world would come tumbling down as my man was dealt a fatal blow with the news that his heart was failing. A couple of years, many sleepless nights, doctor’s appointments and unanswered questions later, we were about to be freed from this burden. Finally, with a short-term terminal diagnosis, he was put on the transplant list. Almost as fast as the issue arrived, he received a new heart—the same day he went on the list. Miracles do happen and all was right with the world again.
You would think that I would be walking on a cloud—oh, I was, don’t get me wrong. After seven years he is doing extremely well and the kids are fabulous: my daughter is in her last year of university and my son is enjoying (somewhat) Grade 10. The problem, once again, was me. After years of taking care of others, I had lost me, my will to get off the couch, to take care of myself, to laugh out loud (which I was famous for). I was in desperate need of repair.
Just when I thought there was no hope for me, that my life would have no meaning, that I personally would never be happy again, a fairy godmother gifted me a digital SLR camera and a couple of lenses. I thought, “What will I do with this, no one wants me to take their photo and I don’t even know how to use this beast.” Although I already was the author of a blog, it was mainly filled with my handmade goodies, not really great photo content. So I though, “I guess I should just take this sucker and play.” Play I did. Everywhere I went, so did the camera; anyone who knew me, knew that they would have to look decent because they might have their photo taken and who knew where it might end up. A couple of months had passed and soon friends would request that I bring my camera with me to capture their special moments. They said I had an “eye,” that I knew how to capture what they could not. Really, could this possibly be something that I was good at, was making me smile, laugh out loud even, at the same time bringing joy to others?
I now know that photography is something that I would love to pursue on a full-time basis. I would love to spend my days capturing the hidden joy within my subjects. Nature in all of its splendour is another love of mine. The stunning snapshots of the majesty that surrounds us is a delight to behold. The realization that an insect is on a flower, only when you inspect the result of your image, through the magnification of the lens… spectacular! I cannot believe how much I am grinning as I write this, just conjuring up that idyllic moment—wow.
The tumultuous journey that I have travelled has come full circle: I was once lost and alone; I found love and happiness, adversity and near tragic loss; now lives are renewed. Who would have thought that I would find my true bliss through the lens of a camera? Always keep your eyes wide open—you never know what will be looking back at you.
Nerina Field is a mom of two and an amateur photographer. She blogs about everyday life and photography at nicnacmaniac-nicnacmaniac.blogspot.com.