Don't Be Afraid to Fall

Photographer-Alfred Sarpeh

Shoes-Nine West
I'm focused on where I'm going and trying not to fall. But if I'll fall, I'll get myself together, rise up, and keep moving forward. We all have goals in life, but the road to achieving them is not always clear and definitely not easy. Some people will understand your endeavors and some won't. You can't let the naysayers and small minded folks deter you. After all, you don't need everyone's approval. Obstacles will arise and the terrain may change, but you'll get where you're going as long as you stay focused and driven. You might get discouraged when you discover that the path ahead of you is not smooth and you're not making strides as quickly as you would like. Well guess what?  No one has a smooth journey. Sometimes people only share the good parts of their experiences because they want to seem perfectly positive. Or maybe they are ashamed that the world will judge their failures and shortcomings. We all encounter challenges and try not to fall, but we might slip. We might bend, and nearly break but we'll straighten up, get it together and charge forward. 

This has been my favorite shoot to date, because I was strong and vulnerable at the same time. I felt like a warrior with my cornrows, [faux] leather dress, and caged booties. I was doing my best to keep my balance on the railroad track and move forward without falling. And you know what? I fell. My body bent, but I caught myself before I hit the ground and landed on my feet. This shoot is a lot like my life right now. I'm trying to stay balanced and move forward in certain areas of my life. There is a project near and dear to my heart that I want to start, but I've been delaying it because I'm scared to fall. However, I read something last week that said (I'm paraphrasing) "If you don't pursue your dreams, you'll wake up one morning and find someone else living your dreams." That was just what I needed to validate my idea and start my project. It may take months or years to become something, but I will feel like I failed myself and my dreams if I don't at least try. I would rather try something and fail than live a life of regret because I never tried at all. This shoot was not easy at first because I was afraid to fall and my photographer knew that. He challenged me to try something new: balance and move on the train tracks without fear of falling. Once I accepted his challenge, I felt free knowing that I wouldn't be judged if I fell. Every time I stumbled and lost my balance, I straightened up and got back on the track. So I want to challenge you to move forward with your life without fear of falling or failing. Try that thing that scares the hell out of you. Start that project that's weighing heavy on your heart. Apply to that college you think you won't get into. Apply to that internship that has nothing to do with your major but is perfectly aligned with your passion. Develop a new skill. Whatever it is, just try it and leave your fears behind!

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