Giving Up My Twenties

PC: My Photog BFF Marc Taraz

PC: My Photog BFF Marc Taraz

I’m going to be blunt, completely honest, and funny per usual.

I have thought about this blog post everyday of my young career and I’ve never felt like I was ready to start pouring out the words.

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Like most photographers, at a young age, I was lovestruck with the idea of frozen moments that only a camera can give me. Like most kids, being a photographer was a difficult dream and somehow, by god, I made it happen!

Boy was that a slap in the face for my asian parents, who thought I was going to be an asian nurse or an asian doctor.

Still to this day, they beg me with egg rolls and fried rice to go back to school to pursue the ultimate asian dream of being in the medical field, later marrying another asian man to eventually have squinty-eyed asian babies, and possibly an asian dog. Oh lordy, lord.

Can you imagine their reactions when I told them only the asian dog part was extremely realistic. (Yes, this dog, will be 100% safe in my asian home from asian consumption.)

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So in 2017, I got my first full frame and I started taking dinky little pictures of stock photos, poorly posed “model” shots, and prom photos to get the experience to shoot these big beautiful dramatic images.

I remember (and no one really tells you this when you’re starting out) I’d do almost ANYTHING for experience. I was basically a slut for pictures. You needed something done? I’m your girl!! The addiction I had for photos was almost comparable to my addiction to eating dairy products. If you know me, I’m lactose intolerant, but love is sacrifice.

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But here are the things no one tells you when you want to become a young entrepreneur/ photographer.

  • You’re going to miss your big life moments to capture other people’s big life moments.

  • Your social/love life is going to go down the drain. Dude, I watch people make out for a living every Sunday-Saturday.

  • Being the head of your business means you need to make a lot of big decisions that most 21 year olds don’t have to do and it sucks. I am an indecisive girl with no backbone. This is the worst thing in the WORLD for me.

  • You start to relate to the people you’ve always considered “real adults” because taxes are a thing and so is the price of health insurance.

  • Your bank account is going to slap you in the face. Adult wages. This means I can buy all the childish things I couldn’t afford but now I can as a “mature” adult.

  • Understanding the pride you get when you know you can help out and take care of your parents.

  • Being able to look at people who were “just” clients but now you know all the things that makes them smile, what their families are like, and being able to say you were there for some of the greatest moments in their lives.

  • Accepting that you cry a lot. Sometimes I cry because I’m frustrated or feel alone as a small business owner. Sometimes I cry because I watched a father see his daughter wear white in a way they never have before. Sometimes I cry because a daughter doesn’t have a father to walk them down the aisle. Sometimes I cry because I realize why others love. It's not because it brings the best out of them, but because they see the best out of others.

I became a photographer knowing I would give up my early 20s in order to let my dreams go flying. I am not going to sugar coat it and say that I am tired as heck, even though I already know this is just the start.

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There will be times when I feel like my glass is dried out, but there are times when its overflowing with love. Oh god, so much love I can’t find the words to describe it. It’s love from the people that have walked into my lives and inspired me. They’ve effortlessly filled my glass with support and that’s something I can never thank them enough for. I love you. I love you so much with every fiber of my being. You revive me and if that means giving up my early 20s of partying, careless decisions, and more then, so be it. I want what’s going on right now. I want to spend my everydays romanticizing over small details about someone. Stare at wedding dresses knowing there was a bride that tried maybe 1000 of them looking for the perfect one. See a groom whose hands are shaking because he still thinks there’s more to say after he rereads his vows for the fifth time that day.

I want it all. I want to see it all through a lens.

Nicole Mendoza