To those that know me best, you can probably testify to the fact that there are not many occasions in which I do not have much to say. Frankly, to those who REALLY know me, I'm willing to bet that you wish those situations would come more often.
That being said, today is not a normal day. Today, I am speechless. I truly am at a loss for words, but I'll try my best regardless.
To be blunt, this past week has not been an easy one. After having my car stolen along with my golf clubs and essentially all my camera gear in tow, I have felt lost. I have tried to keep it together, but there have been moments this has been easier than others. There has been moments in which I broke down, for sure. Honestly, there was moments where I thought about giving up this passion of mine altogether - where climbing out of the whole of nearly $10,000 in camera gear lost seemed pointless. There were many moments where I was defeated.
I think we can all testify to the fact that 2020 has taken a lot out of us - not many breaks have gone anyone's way, really, and I think that most of us, myself included, have lost a lot of hope for the future. In this situation for me, it would've been easy to fall into that trap as well.
I do not share this often, but the reason my camera and this career mean so much to me is because, frankly, it saved my life. I received my first camera a short two and a half years ago upon graduation from the University of Winnipeg, and at this time, I was in a very dark place. I have struggled with depression and anxiety for much of my life, even taking me to the point where waking up in the morning seemed to no longer be an option worth pursuing. Without getting into too much detail, there were times where I actually made attempts to make that thought a reality as well. The reason the camera means so much to me, is because in a time where I could not see any beauty in this world, it taught me to pursue it and capture it. To save it as something to look back on when times got tough. And more so, to create it in moments in which it could not be found. To me, my camera became more than a device - it became my own personal tool which allowed me to actively pursue the best in this world. These lenses I attach became an extension of me, and as I put them to use I was able to see the things and people that make life's battles truly worth living.
It may sound cheesy, but frankly, it felt as though when these items were taken, so too was the perspective that came with it.
That is why I am writing today; to thank you - all of you - for proving me wrong. When I shared the news and asked for a little help in keeping an eye out, I honestly didn't expect much. To be frank, I have felt for a long time that the world owes nobody anything, and my problems were just that - my problems.
Today, I am blown away. Never in a million years could I have imagined the unbelievable support you all have shown me. From the posts I made which were shared across multiple platforms in excess of 900 times, to the Go Fund Me established by a friend to help me bounce back and those who helped me figure out a rental car seamlessly, and from the extraordinary group of friends who banded together to surprise me with the gift of my favourite lens that was stolen, to the over 200 texts and messages I received offering help, encouragement, different pathways to explore for locating lost items and so on. I've even had literal strangers and people I haven't spoken to in years reach out, offering to post in community pages, or lend me an old camera, and everything of the sort. Truly, the words "Thank You" don't even do it justice.
I wish there was some way to put into words the difference these actions have made for me on an emotional level, but frankly words will not do it justice. I am overwhelmed by the love and kindness in this community. It is amazing to me how you all have taken a blatantly negative experience and made me feel like the luckiest man alive as a result, and though I am having difficulty putting into words how I feel right now, I can assure you I will never forget it.
One of my all-time favourite songs acknowledges the fact that sometimes, we all need a shoulder to lean on - I cannot tell you how much it means to know that today, I have hundreds.
In the recent days, largely in part to the fact that so many of you have picked me up when I have been in the dumps, I was able to go out and purchase a new camera setup and get back to doing what I love. Rather than quitting which I definitely considered, you guys have shown me that this is an opportunity to double down instead.
I am a big believer that life is a matter of perspective, and this past week, you guys have given me a perspective which allows me to see the bigger picture. Maybe I do not need the camera to see the beauty in this world after all - maybe it has been right in front of me this whole time.
Today, I can confirm that there is more good in this world than bad - I'm hopeful that one day I have a chance to show each and every one of you this too.