I've been working hard the last few months at overcoming my fears and following my dreams. So I'm running a series of interview with inspiring people to see what part fear has played in their life and how they've overcome it to live life their way...
This weeks interview is with Darrah Parker
Hi Darrah, tell us a little about yourself and your family.
Hi Polly! I'm Darrah. I'm a "slice of life" photographer, in love with photographing families, children, and portraits and passionate about finding the beauty in everyday life. I love shoe shopping, soy chai lattes, and hanging out on the couch with my hubby, watching Mad Men. I live in beautiful Seattle and have been married to my musician husband, Jason, for a year.
*Have you always been self employed? And if not how did you make the change?
I've been self employed for almost a year. My transition to self employment seemed sudden to some people, but it was a slow and steady transition. I've always been a creative person. I studied theatre in college, received a master's degree in Theatre Education, taught acting and improv for a while, and dabbled in visual arts on and off my whole life. Yet somehow, I abandoned many of my creative instincts over the years.
Last year, on my 31st birthday, I started a blog. I was in a job that I liked, but didn't love and could see the writing on the wall that some day I would want to make a change. So I started the blog as a way to explore my creative side and figure out what I wanted to do next. I would take walks on my lunch breaks, photographing my day-to-day life and documenting it on the blog. Instantly, my perspective on my life and my future changed. Soon after, I bought my first "fancy camera". I started to discover the beauty in my own imperfect life and at the same time, fell madly in love with photography. I had finally found what I wanted to do with my life.
On my honeymoon last September, I sat down with Jason and made some goals for myself. It's amazing what happens when you spend two weeks in Paris! :) One of my goals was that I was going to quit my job within the year and the other goal was that I was going to start a photography business. I had no idea how I was going to do either one. By November, I had done both.
*Is your life as it is now how you've always dreamt of?
Yes and no. I never imagined it could be this good, this rich, this full. I'm not talking about monetary riches. I'm talking soul riches. On the other hand, last year when I started my blog, I turned to my husband and I told him that I have no idea what I want to do with my life, but I know how I want to feel. That feeling I imagined that day has definitely come to fruition (on most days). The thing is life isn't perfect. It never will be. But it is exactly how it is supposed to be.
*All of us have our fears, some rule stronger than others. What part has fear played in your life?
Fear pops up in my life when I'm on the verge of big changes or when I'm about to try something new. The unknown scares me. This year has been a big lesson in deciphering different kinds of fear and deciding whether to push through or hold back. I read this quote on Zen Habits recently that really stuck with me:
"...when you’re growing towards something that’s really important to you, your fear is greatest, because your heart’s in it and you care deeply about the results. So list all the things you’re feeling most afraid about right now. Then ask yourself again, 'What does this tell me about what’s important to me?'"
Lately, I've been realizing that my fear is there because I care. Recognizing that has lessened the power it has on me and allowed me to relax and enjoy the process more.
* What do you think are the three most important things you need to lead a happy and radiant life?
Whoa. That's a big question. I think it's different for everyone. You have to decide what's important to you. For me, it all comes down to loving and laughing with the people who I am closest to in my life (my husband, my family). Yes, having work I care about is important. Yes, time for creativity (or running or yoga or whatever you enjoy most) is important. But when it comes down to it, it's all about the people we surround ourselves with and the quality time we spend with them. (Besides that, chocolate. Chocolate brings me happiness.)
*When you have faced difficulties, what has been your inspiration to keep going?
When I was a kid and having a bad day, my mom would say to me, "This too shall pass." I hear this in my head every time I'm facing difficulties. Tomorrow is a new day. It really is.
*What advice would you offer on following your heart and living your dreams?
Be playful. Do what you love. Take a step. Follow your instincts. Listen carefully. Write it down. Be patient (with yourself and others). Pay attention to what comes easily to you and makes you happy. Don't be afraid to try. Ask yourself, "What's the worst that could happen?" Trust yourself. You know best.
*Where can we connect with you?
You can check out my photography on my website and follow my creative journey on my blog. You can also join me in my quest to photograph the beauty in everyday life by participating in Slice of Life Tuesdays or signing up for the Slice of Life Project, an e-course I am developing for anyone with a camera (any camera) that will help you photograph your everyday lives in artful ways. (Early Bird Registration is now open!)
Darrah Parker is a Seattle-based portrait, family, and “slice of life” photographer. Armed with her camera, she is on a constant search for the joy in everyday life, beauty in the over-looked and under-appreciated, and the magic in simple moments. She lives with her musician husband in Seattle and can be found most days at a coffee shop or farmers market, usually with a camera in hand. She shares her photography on her website and thoughts on living a creative life on her blog. She sells fine art photography prints in her Etsy shop and is available for portrait sessions in the Seattle area and beyond.