My good friend asked me to help him write a biography for a band he had created and was fronting, and I was waffling over whether it was something I could do or not. In my heart, I knew it, but it was like I knew it too well. He is one of my oldest friends and I believe in everything he has ever written and done. My heart knew it, because it was in my heart. If that makes sense. Then he said something that clinched it for me. He said, “I read your blog. This is totally within your wheelhouse.”
It’s absolutely in my wheelhouse to use the term “in my wheelhouse.” I can’t get enough. Can you say “wheelhouse” so many times and write it twice as many, that it starts to look like nonsense to your tired eyes? That hasn’t happened to me yet.
I can’t get enough of the term even now. A sponsored post about Carter’s clothes, when I haven’t been able to afford a back-to-school shopping spree ever, and now I get to do it and write about it? In my wheelhouse. Blogging in general? A place not locked into time nor space nor seeing you in person and having to get all jittery? In my wheelhouse. Submitting to an anthology about postpartum depression? Actually, not in my wheelhouse… but.. submitting to the HerStories Project’s upcoming anthology – “So Glad They Told Me”? In my wheelhouse. I found out last Sunday that I got accepted! I pretty much screamed and my heart went all pittery-pattery (happens sometimes) and there were happy tears and then suddenly I was in the Berkshires with my sister, and it was a happy, happy day. I had been dreaming about that book submission.
I never intended to be a wedding photographer, and I’m not one. I’m a photographer, who now does weddings. It started with one, but somehow it will be four. Will there be more? My background is abstract. It’s more fine arts. It started in darkrooms with long exposures and sepia-toned film. It started with confusion and darkness, and just the right amount of light for me.
Then I had kids and learned the amazing and hilarious production of family and child photography. I added a few things along the line that seemed to work for me. Maternity? Yes. Newborns? Yes! Although I only do lifestyle newborn shoots, and not naked babies in baskets.. because.. poop and four hours and heat lamps and.. poop. What about real estate? Oddly, yes.
Not everything works. Not everything is in my wheelhouse, at least not yet. Some things may be in there now but won’t stay forever. I don’t think I write fiction well. I don’t think I’m a good food photographer. That doesn’t mean it’s not possible, but it hasn’t been developed. It’s just not in my wheelhouse – maybe it won’t be ever. I was asked to do a wedding last year. I hesitated to say “yes” because of extreme nerves but it was a mellow barbecue type of wedding and they seemed to think that what they wanted from a photographer was something I could provide. Love and emotions and pretty things? Say yes.
When I was asked to do two weddings this month, I said “yes” without much thought, but I was petrified. It was holding over my head. The thing is, I think it’s so very much in my wheelhouse. I think it’s so in my wheelhouse that it scares me. It’s like when I was in college and I had to give speeches in Japanese (no lie) in front of the class. It was oddly in my wheelhouse but I was so intent on proving it, that I’d freak out beforehand. I can thrive on being social and most of you see me that way, even in person. Even when I’m not hiding behind a computer screen. On the other hand, anxiety shuts me down. Like a full dead in the water, plug and unplug, reboot, blow on the cartridge, shake it out, dance it out, hug it out, see what happens.
So of course, I fear that it might be just the wrong time on the wrong day or the wrong trigger. And will I not be able to do it? To do my job? I think it’s safe now. I thrive on the energy involved in being a part of a wedding. I thrive on knowing my part and doing it well, and realizing that nobody is asking me to cater a wedding, sing at a wedding, officiate a wedding, or even get married again. Those things don’t seem to be in my wheelhouse. And that’s ok. Knowing that there are some other things?