I was a simple retail employee, basically been doing it since I got out of highschool. Made the old college try but ended up not pursuing anything more than an AA. I worked with a lot of people I really liked and admired for one thing or another and I just wanted to fit in with them. Compared to the stories they told I always felt like I had done nothing with my life or time.
One slow day stories are being exchanged and the conversation rolls back to me so I blurted out that I was a photographer in my off time and went on a long history about my years in photography with film and my own dark rooms. I told countless lies about the difficulty of transitioning from film to digital but still kept my old film cameras for certain types of shots.
I fucked up.
Of course everyone wanted to see my work, I weaseled and told them I would bring stuff in but of course had nothing to show. That night after work I went to bestbuy and maxed out my credit cards to get a lot of camera equipment, indent on a tirade of learning everything I could, signed up for community college courses on every type of photography I could sign up for. All so I could hide the mountain of shame I created. I started taking pictures every morning at dawn and every evening I could get out of work before sunset. I worked as an assistant to a wedding photographer for free for 3 months on top of all that to fill out a portfolio that hadn’t existed up to this point.
Everyone was so happy looking at my work that I couldn’t bring myself to stop! I kept at it; I hiked trails that I didn’t think I could hike just to get that perfect hard to find view of a sunrise the next day, I started doing weddings and parties by myself for free to capture the perfect picture out of thousands so I could show it off, I started traveling the world so I could validate the photography adventures I told stories of.
It’s been a spiraling mountain of lies, but at the end of the day I discovered my love of photography through them and now it’s my whole career. Three hundred sixty-five days a year and I have never been happier!
So I’m a visiting nurse and started seeing a patient 3 days/week for wound care. He was a paraplegic and didn’t get out much or have many visitors. He offered me a cup of coffee one morning, but I didn’t know him very well yet and was uneasy about drinking something out of unknown person’s kitchen. Plus, we are really not supposed to, but I could tell he just needed a little company. I told him I drink it black to keep it simple, never planning to have another cup. Next day, I come in and notice a little sticky note on his counter that said “Remember to make fresh pot of coffee for Rachael”. It was so touching to me that I went early every single appointment from that day forward to have a cup of black coffee. I hate black coffee but I felt it was too late to tell him I liked creamer after all. I drank black coffee with him for 3.5 years and he became a good friend until he passed away…
My freshman year of college I was walking around campus when a very friendly looking girl waved at me. I’m awkward, so of course I waved back. The next week, the same thing.
This began the weirdest saga of my life.
For the next two years, we greeted each other as old friends every time we came across the other. She knew my name (somehow?), I never could figure hers out and it was WAY too late to ask. I just pretended I knew who she was and why she knew me.
Finally, I joined the honors program and entered my classes for my thesis. Who should be in this class but mystery girl! I was horrified. I wouldn’t be able to pass it off anymore.
First day of class we are all sitting there chatting and she greets me by name, again. I had finally learned her name from attendance, thank God. Someone asks, finally, “oh, so do you two know each other? Where’d you meet?”
I stare at her. She stares at me. Finally she breaks down wailing. “I don’t know! I don’t know, okay, we’ve just been waving at each other for two years and it was too late to ask!”
Shes standing in my wedding next spring as one of my bridesmaids and very best friends.