Encouragement: The Shapeshifter


The winning photo!


Now, I’ve been a budding ‘photographer’ (in quotes….very LARGE quotes) ever since my parents gave me a DSLR (I had told them that they weren’t getting as many pictures of their granddaughter as they would have liked because my point and shoot took 5 seconds just to flash!) but have been more or less ashamed of the photos I’ve taken even though I think they’re OK, and Alessio likes them, and every now and then someone at work sees one and thinks it’s cool. I am completely intimidated by anyone who understands what ‘fixed focal length’ means, or ‘aperture’ or ‘f-stop’ or any of the other terminology. I’m so intimidated in fact that I hardly ever post these photos, my ‘artistic’ ones, the ones where I try to emulate the pros because I’m afraid someone will confirm what I already think – I suck. 

Enter VirtualTourist. An online community  with thousands of people sharing their travel tips, photos, and camaraderie with others. I signed up for an account and then stalled. I find that I stall a lot. Even on this blog I have more ideas and ‘drafts’ than I do posts. My own little challenge to overcome. 

Anyways – I was checking out some posts and noticed that they were having a contest. They were asking for user submitted photos to put as a cover on their Facebook page for the month of August. There was still time to submit some photos and because I’ve been working on being less ‘antisocial’ and more ‘open’ I decided to submit some.

I was the first person to post photos so I thought that it could be easy. Then I continued to check back throughout my day and noticed more and more people submitting their photos. I started telling myself, “They’ll never pick your photos, they’re too post processed.” “They’re not that great.” “They will probably let someone else win who has contributed more to the community.” I started to make excuses, started to say that it didn’t matter anyways.

Imagine my surprise when a day after the contest ended I received a message from one of the administrator’s – my photo had been chosen! I could hardly believe it! All my self-doubt and fake nonchalance was for naught! 

And this brings me to the point of my story. Encouragement, like the Shapeshifter, comes in many shapes and sizes. What may work for me may not work for you.  In my case it was winning a pair of flip flops because I uploaded a photo – in yours it might be a kind word, a smile, a pat on the back. 

Either way, I hope you recognize encouragement in one of its many forms. Don’t give up. Take any gesture that makes you feel good about what you’ve done and use it to your advantage. Build upon it. Internalize it. Believe in it. 

I hope that these words bring encouragement to someone.  

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