The Creatives: RJ Ojeda
When Kendrick asked me to write about what it means to dream as a creative, I was stoked (and maybe a little stressed).
Thoughts about what I could write about began to flood my head.
DO I MAKE A SUPER UPBEAT POST?
I totally could but honestly that’s not me. I’m by no means a down person, but I like to be realistic so that’s how I’m going to talk about what it means to be a dreamer, especially as a creative.
Let me introduce myself, my name is RJ Ojeda and I’m a local photographer.
I’m originally from Monroe, Louisiana, but I grew up in a small town in North Texas from the age of 9 all the way to 18. I moved back to Monroe in 2014 after graduating high school. After the first year of being back, I was honestly miserable. I didn’t really have any friends, I didn’t really like the town and I missed home. On top of all of that, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life, no clue what I wanted to major in. My life was a mess and all I wanted to know was, “Why God? Why did you bring me back to Monroe?”
Fast forward to the fall of 2015, I still had no idea what I wanted to do, I had changed my major God knows how many times and I still hadn’t found people I really connected to.
My Mom (shoutout to mom) suggested I go to a young adult ministry called The Table, a chance to meet people my age and people who would be good to surround myself with. Well I went, I’ve met my best friends because of it and I attribute part of who I am because of this place.
I SURROUNDED MYSELF WITH AMAZINGLY CREATIVE PEOPLE THAT IT WAS ONLY NATURAL THAT THE CREATIVITY IN ME WOULD START TO COME OUT. I’VE ALWAYS BEEN INTERESTED IN PHOTOGRAPHY BUT NEVER REALLY CONSIDERED IT A CAREER CHOICE.
For the longest time, all I cared about was making the most money possible.
I was looking at career choices that had a good income and that was it, I was willing to sacrifice being miserable if it meant I make money. But no matter how much I tried these Major choices, they never really felt right. So I became a Graphic Design Major, I thought “well, I like art, might as well try it out”.
Graphic Design was cool, it was artistic and it had a good stable career path. But while majoring in it, I started getting into Photography and realized how much I really enjoyed it.
It was relaxing and it was fun.
So I made one final switch.
I DECIDED TO PURSUE PHOTOGRAPHY.
It happened really fast to a lot of people, but, to me, I knew it was the right decision. It felt right and for once I was excited to pursue it. So here I am, in 2017, still a photographer and I love it so much. But that doesn’t mean it’s been easy. It isn’t the guaranteed money path but that’s okay with me.
We live in a world where if you chase your passions instead of chasing a paycheck, you’re crazy and you’re making a terrible decision. How messed up is that? That instead of choosing money, you are choosing to be happy with your life, you get hated for it. There are few reasons why that happens: because the people judging you are so jealous that you are happy with your life, because they wish they had made the same decision to follow their passions, or because the idea is so crazy to them that the only way they can think of stopping you is by putting you down.
This is the case for being a creative.
Whether you are a musician, a painter, a writer, an actor, or like me, a photographer, you’re going to face difficulties.
FROM PEOPLE WHO DON’T KNOW YOU, FROM YOURSELF, FROM THE WORLD AROUND YOU, MAYBE EVEN YOUR OWN FAMILY. IT’S JUST PART OF IT. SO BE PREPARED.
DON’T GO INTO CHASING YOUR PASSION AS A CREATIVE, THINKING IT’S EVERYTHING YOU SEE ON SOCIAL MEDIA.
There are hard times; times where your stress level is through the roof, where all you want to do it crawl into your room and hide and never come out, times where you just want to quit and get a 9-5 and be safe and secure.
You will have those times so be prepared.
I say all those “scary” things to say this, if you are prepared to face the difficulties head on, you will realize you made the best decision you could have ever made. That chasing your passion is the best thing you could ever do for yourself. That even though it can be stressful, there is nothing you’d rather be doing. That you can’t imagine going through life not chasing your passion.
IT MAY BE SUPER CLICHÉ BUT DO WHAT YOU LOVE.
Never stop working for what you love, never stop learning, and never stop growing as a creative. Surround yourself with people who motivate you, who lift you up when you may be down, who keep your creativity alive. Dream of where you want your life to be and go for it. Take risks, cause there will be lots of them.
ALSO, STOP COMPARING YOUR WORK TO OTHERS!
If there is anything I’ve seen that will kill someone as a creative, its comparison. Progress takes time, it doesn’t happen overnight. It’s easy to get caught up in comparisons. But always look back on where you started and see the progress you’ve made, that will help you a ton.
Just never stop working for your dream. If you take anything from this, it’s that.
TO NEVER STOP CHASING YOUR DREAM.
No matter how hard it gets, always keep working and believing and dreaming.