You know that clear cut path we’re all spoon fed? Go to school, do really well and get into a good college. Get your degree, intern at a few places and everything will just work itself out. Well, for me life kind of had a different plan, as it so often does. I tried to walk this path, I really did. But it was like trying to make a puzzle piece fit where it didn’t belong. And because I grew up believing that this path was the only path, it took me a long time to acknowledge that there was another path for me. Truthfully, I think we all have a unique roadmap hidden in the depths of our being. It’s just that you need to know to drown out the noise long enough to be able to tune in to the right frequency.
When I graduated college I did everything I was told I would need to do in order to find my place in the world. But I couldn’t find a place where I felt was mine and in turn blamed myself for it. It had to be me. I followed all the steps that everyone took to lead a successful life, but I just couldn’t seem to get the same end result. Interestingly enough, while this was happening I ALWAYS had my camera on the side, thinking in photographs almost unconsciously. I never thought of myself as the creative type before. No, I was the girl who loved Anatomy & Physiology. That was my thing. Wasn’t it? Photography? That wasn’t a real job. I mean I had a degree. I had to get a job that related to my degree. That’s just how things worked.
It turns out, I was wrong. That’s not how things work. The turning point for me was in 2013 when I had applied to grad school for Occupational Therapy. I was still fighting a belief that was deeply ingrained in me about career choices and education. It wasn’t even a possibility to dabble in the creative world until that December, when I finally got my copy of Exposed by Jasmine Star. It’s a personal magazine she self published speaking about her journey from law student to wedding photographer.
To say I fell in love with the idea of being a creative entrepreneur would be an understatement. I made a deal with myself as I rung in 2014. I had to try photography. I had to be serious about it, give it my all. If it was a success, I’d give up graduate school. As the year progressed, I uncovered a different Nadeena. It was as if I was growing wings internally. My confidence, my drive…my vision they were all ignited. I felt like I could do anything. Build anything.
I learned enough about what I was doing to know I was way more passionate about building my own creative business than I was about going back to graduate school. So I gave up my seat in the program, stayed at the job I was at to get an income and kept educating myself, kept building my skill. I had absolutely no idea if this was going to work. But this was the only life I was going to live and I had to be honest and real about myself and the path I wanted to walk.
Right now I’m knee deep in branding my business with the help of the amazing duo at Hey, Sweet Pea and through that process I had to really ask myself what I wanted to achieve. I knew I had to find my deeper reason for pursuing this path if I wanted to build my business on a solid foundation. I think purpose can be a fluid thing, that changes and morphs as we grow as humans. For me, right now the thing that makes my soul move, that I feel is my reason for being is serving people who are lighting their own world on fire. Who are chasing their purpose with passion and fury.
People are my jam, even more so – people that throw that stupid roadmap we were given out the window. People who are brave and resilient, who dare and live.
That’s why ‘So Lovely, So Free’ resonates with me so much. I feel like I’ve had to fight so hard to let myself be so lovely, so free. And it all happened when I threw away the roadmap I was given and listened to my own internal compass. This is something I want to encourage all women to do: be so lovely, so free. Listen to your gut. Trust your heart.
Nadeena is a brand lifestyle photographer for creative entrepreneurs living in New York. She enjoys going on day trips exploring the five boroughs of NYC along with belly laughs and believes that strangers are just friends we haven’t met yet. Check out here website here.