Courage to Grow: My Idiot Friend, Fear

“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are” –e.e. Cummings

Each week we share a piece of us on our photographic journey. We have titled this series, “Courage to Grow”. We hope that our own soul searching will inspire similar introspection in our readers and that together we can make our best art and live our best lives

Today’s post is short as I’m a little bit computered out. Yesterday I spent all day pulling together and putting the finishing touches on Volume II of “The Long Way Home”. When it came time to hit the upload button and place my print order I was literally sick. I had gone through it more times than I could count. I loved each article, each image. I knew the layouts were good and I trusted in myself and my skill of laying it out and presenting something beautiful. My wonderful partner had looked over everything as well, giving things the go ahead. Everything was fine…more than was great. Still, I clicked back to “keep working” rather than upload and looked over it two more times. It was good. It was ready, but I was still beyond nervous to make that call. With butterflies (or something far feistier) in my stomach, I clicked okay and sent it off. Writing this now there is still so much stress and doubt, even though in my core I know it is good. I am afraid and nervous, but I believe in what was created.

Whenever I do something I consider important, no matter how much confidence I have, it is always accompanied by a great deal of fear and trepidation. My body revolts and tells me to second guess my soul. It tells me I’m not good enough, my work isn’t good enough and I never will be. It tells me to give up. Fear is strong and fear is loud. Here’s the thing, though, fear is also a dummy. Do you know who else is afraid? Everything. Ants, birds, babies, you, me… everything has the ability to fear on some level. Fear keeps us from falling off cliffs and eating poisonous berries. That’s all well and good, but fear has a tough time distinguishing between actual emergency and just something new. Knowing this and still trusting fear to make higher level decisions is like trusting your toddler brother to determine your day to day. You'd spend a lot of time rolling around in mud, eating dirt and staying within about 50 yards of your house. Fine and all, but probably not your first choice. So, I’ve come to accept my fear and let it be. I know that I will always experience fear when I create and you know what? Part of me looks forward to it. I know that it means I’m trying new things, breaking the mold and moving forward. In fact, if I’m not feeling fear, I’m probably not doing anything important or interesting.

So last night when fear was at its height and my whole body was immersed in it, I clicked send. I gave the okay. I created something and said, “Yes. This is good.” Fear may have been telling me differently, but I decided to trust myself and my soul rather than my fear. I encourage us all to do the same. Give fear its proper acknowledgment for keeping us from electrocuting ourselves, but gently let it know that we will not let it limit our art. We are smarter than our fear, more creative than our fear and we are brave. So go out, create, and believe that it is good.

Amanda Voelker is a fine art and lifestyle photographer, focusing on capturing the fleeting moments of childhood. She is currently located in the Seattle, Washington area. With her children and light as her inspiration, Amanda finds beauty in the everyday and is constantly amazed by all the wonder in her life. She strives to capture the subtleties of human emotion and connection in a beautiful way that showcases both the moment and a piece of herself. Amanda is also the co-Editor in Chief of"The Long Way Home" magazine and co-founder of 30 Minutes in the Life. Aside from photography and family, Amanda is passionate about the ocean, seeing the world, diet coke, reading, and chocolate. You can find more of her work on her website and facebook