So I’m a day late and probably even a dollar short as the saying goes. Well, actually I am a year later (almost) and usually a few dollars short. But in my pocket where money used to be there is now hope. Sure… I guess the hope isn’t like money but it keeps my mind rich. A few people know my story; the close ones. I tell it often to people who are going through things to let them know that things will be okay because they have to be. Behind all of my nice pictures is a man shaken by the fears of failure with his back to the wall and his fist swinging. Some of you reading this will say… “What is he talking about?” Well what I am talking about is being “Lost In Translation” so to speak. Almost a year ago on November 18th, 2009 I was laid-off from a career. THIS LETTER IS A DIARY ENTRY A YEAR LATER. What was my job? It doesn’t matter at this point really. I became one of the stories I often saw on the news before it happen. The guy that has been in a job for years feeling secure and comes into work one day and it’s over. The moment? Man, It felt crazy. I had a little heads-up about it so I knew it was coming. But in a “Union” job you’d like to think “Naw, This can’t really happen right?” But it did. I still remember the day I returned home and I just stood staring at a corner in my bedroom, eyes welled up in tears. Damn, not again.
See I struggled before… My childhood wasn’t anything shiny at all. Full of love though. I look back and I thank god for a father loves me more than living himself but can only do so much from behind a wall in a federal prison for the past 25 years, he is brave and made of every fiber a man should be made of. My dad mistakes have me see why I cannot make many. The 5 women that raised me… 4 sisters… 2 younger and 2 older and Mom. The 2 older brothers that I often give advice to. The families that aren’t the richest with wealth are often the ones that have more love than you can even imagine. As a teen I wasn’t a “street guy”, something I pride myself on. I went to school did my work, chased the girls like a young man would do. I went to college but didn’t finish but always said I’d go back. Then I got lucky and got this job. Talk about a lesson in the making that was. I loved the work, and the money… OH THE MONEY! lol. Yeah, I admit that it made me lazy. I kept saying to myself “man this is great I’m in my late 20-somethings and I’m not struggling at all” I’m a young black man making it. Cool!!!!
Then… This…. Smh… “Verizon is very sorry to announce that due to economic hardships, we are experiencing a reduction in workforce which means YOU!!!” (Not an exact quote but just like that.)
So what did I do…? Nothing, i went through a period of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. I stayed at home for about 5 weeks without even going outside. Fast Forward… I knew I was gonna blow through any savings I had because there are simply no jobs. The few places I reached out to said, “We can’t even come close to your last salary” sorry we’ve got nothing for you. I watched the Republican senators from other states tell me that I wasn’t looking for work and just wanted to stay home. “They” said that these folks on unemployment shouldn’t get anything because how does that help them want to find a job. Well hello senator ass hole James “Jim” Bunning! I would lose my place and then have to resort to Public Assistance. Is that what you want? Sure as hell isn’t what I want. So I had a little stash. I took about $10,000 of it and bought 2 Mac’s, My first SLR camera, 4 lenses, a pro grade flash, lighting system, backdrops and stands. I looked in the mirror in February 2010 and said to myself “Pete, these lights need to stay on and this rent needs to be paid… Let’s do this. You are now a Pro photographer” Taking pictures was always a hobby of mine with a point and shoot. So I just wanted to go all the way and do it up. I never had the traditional training, Never went to a lighting class, I picked up the camera, some books, got tons if advice from MARIO NEWBALL and read. I don’t even think I’m that good. I just am dedicated because Con Ed, AT&T, Verizon FiOS, Rent etc. doesn’t care if I lost my job or if the unemployment ran out. So I grind. Looking back I can’t believe that have had the opportunity to take pics of people that I would see on TV and be in circles of people who actually made it. The makings of me are a pretty amazing story I think. I wouldn’t have discovered this love for photos this deeply if it wasn’t for losing my job and having to start over.
God sends messages in all kinds of packaging.
If he gave me a million dollars I wouldn’t have done this. He had to take something from me to see. Something to slow me down.
Appreciate things, friends, family and ones that don’t really wish you well. I remember waking up and looking around my bedroom about a month ago. Thanking god. Because it could always be worse. I looked at my week last week and I found myself standing with THE BIG DOG in Hip-Hop photography and rolling with him all over NYC for an entire night. I followed this man’s trail of work since I picked up the camera. Now I’m in a cab with him talking about the game and the do’s and don’ts. Crazy! I couldn’t have dreamt this one up.
I spoke to Nakim a close friend and he understands my plight. He dropped jewels yesterday and said… “Just stay focused, be humble, work hard and patiently with your head down. By the time you look up you’ll be in places you never thought.”
It’s a year later. I’m way smarter. Still hustling hard and trying to answer everyone’s favorite question. “Now What Pete?”
I wrote this to help anyone who is scared… Don’t be… God is watching.