On being an independent woman and taking risks. To all the strong women out there who are trapped in work they no longer love. Follow your dream.

Am I scared? You bet. Yesterday I resigned from my teaching job. It’s final and there is no going back. I’ve been on sabbatical. So is my photography diary full? No. I’m not financially secure, I have taken a leap of faith – in myself. You see all of the awards listed below? I bet you think I am confident and successful, convinced my business will be easy and that paid work will flood in? Not at all – bookings can pour in, then it goes quiet and I feel queasy. I had a faculty family, now I am a lone wolf. So why did I give up a safe pay check and structured work and free fall? I will tell you the truth.

I had a dream when I was 14 years old, I fought to take my GSCE (O’ level) Art, then I fought to sneak AS Art into my life and they said, “Give up and focus on academic subjects.” So I went behind their backs and went to Art college on a Saturday morning. To be honest academic subjects made sense, I had a very abusive childhood, I am lucky to be alive and I needed to become well qualified and to earn my own living, to be safe. I needed enough money to get out. Simone De Beauvoir said, “Independence begins in the purse.” She had a point.

Photography was too risky. So I ended up teaching media in colleges and until I had my daughter it was creative and it sustained me. Then I got post natal depression and demoted. I thought just having a job and being a mum was enough, and I was exhausted anyway. I longed for my dream and feared it was not realistic.

When my daughter was a teenager ( I know I waited that long! But this is a real story), I went to night school to study photography. I invested in me and it was knackering. And brilliant. To fill myself up instead of wringing me out. I plotted my exit. I exhibited at The Getty in London in May 2017 and a few days later I decided to leave my job! The shot hanging on the wall was about a road journey mixed with a “Thelma and Louise” fantasy because I wanted the accelerator pedal and an open road, to take a trip before I am too old. So my gut screamed in place of the tyres.

College were lovely and suggested a safety net ( I think I may have appeared rash, and well Thelma and Louise drove off a cliff) they called it a sabbatical. When I resigned yesterday my boss hugged me. My friends hugged me, the Principal hugged me, because I refuse to give up on my dream. I want this adventure and I bet they do too.

So many of my friends are trapped in their lives. Plot your escape.

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