I am by profession, a Videographer and Photographer. I specialize in Weddings, Funerals, Adoptions, and other once in a lifetime events. But that’s just a front.
You see, as clients ask me WHO I am, or WHY I do what I do, I have a typical canned answer because if I offer too much of my story, I will most likely break down in tears. I am so grateful for what I have, I don’t want to dwell on the negative, but that is truly why I do what I do. It is said that Comedians typically come from dark places, and their comedy comes from deep festering wounds.
As a young child, my very first memory is at the age of 5-6, I remember planting my face in my palm, crying uncontrollably on moving day. I didn’t want to leave my friends behind but I had no options, I was “only a kid.” Much of my childhood we moved from house to house, my dad struggling to keep money coming in consistently, mom doing what she could. I don’t have many fond memories of my father. He would come home after bedtime and leave before we woke up to go to school. He would pull me out of bed at night (it seemed almost daily), drag me by my ear downstairs and beat me. Sometimes with a belt, sometimes with his hand. There were a couple times that he almost killed me, literally. Each year we were provided 5 pairs of clothing, 1 pair of shoes, and enough underwear and socks for each day of the week. We didn’t shop for sales, we didn’t get anything else throughout the year. I got used to having holes in my clothes, wearing through the soles of my shoes, and getting hand-me-downs from neighbors who could see the struggles we went through.
When I was 8 years old I remember walking to a outlet store in Sandy Utah, peering through the windows at a new pair of Adidas shoes. I remember the fire that burned within me as I went home and asked my dad to teach me how to mow our lawn. I had done the math, and if I mowed 7 lawns at $3 each, I could afford those brand new shoes. We shopped at Kmart, name brand shoes was not even in my vocabulary. but that was about to change! I remember those shoes, looking at them in the mirror as they hugged my feet. They weren’t quite my size, but that didn’t matter much, they were MY Adidas. You couldn’t wipe the grin off my face if you tried.
Years later, as we continued to move every 6 months or so, I got more and more awkward, always being the new kid in school. It became easier to hang out with the trouble makers, because they didn’t judge as much, so I started getting into trouble. At the age of 14 I was in a Foster home, living with a Polynesian family that also never provided for me the way they should have. Just before my 16th Birthday, I was allowed to move back in with my family, but by this time my parents had separated and lived in different houses. My dad was in Manti, and my mom in a small apartment in Sandy. It became clear after spending a few weeks in my mom’s place, sleeping on the couch that I was not welcome there. We had a falling out on several occasions, so it simply became easier to be homeless. I slept in my car, the front seat of an old Camaro, showering in the sinks of local gas stations and grocery stores. I started working full time after a while, and i never looked back.
Shortly after getting married, my wife and I found that we could not have children of our own, but rather than let that defeat us, we opted to become foster parents ourselves, which is how our 3 amazing little boys came into our lives. That’s not to say that it’s been easy, not being able to have our own kids has taken its toll on us for the last 10 years.
I lost both my Grandfathers within a year of each other, both of liver failure. In late 2015 I was following up on an abnormal blood test just to find out that I had the same disease my father had, that would take him from us just 6 months later. There was a period of 10 years where I didn’t speak so much as a word to him, I hated him for the abuse during my childhood, and he knew it. During the last 2-3 years of his life, we were finally working through our issues and he had finally apologized for his wrongdoing. We had finally gotten to a point where we could make small talk, but it was becoming too late. When he left, I was so angry, so sad that he had robbed me of my childhood and there was nothing I could do.
I recently went in for a followup ultrasound for my own condition, and found that my liver is progressively getting worse, and more testing is needed. It seems that my liver is growing, and not dispersing nutrients throughout my body as it should. It’s not a death sentence, but scary nonetheless. I go in for an MRI tomorrow to check into it a little more thoroughly. My dad, and both of my grandfathers passed in their mid 50s of liver failure, so it appears likely that I could follow in their footsteps. Sadly the condition is not curable, it is not reversible, and I do eat rather healthy, even though my outward appearance may suggest otherwise.
I don’t tell you this story to make you feel bad, I don’t want that, but I tell you this to hopefully get through to even one person so you don’t make the same mistakes.
I have been a hobbyist photographer since I was about 15 years old when I picked up a camera for the very first time. But my real passion is videography. When I look back at my first wedding video and realized that it was actually pretty good, I never realized that i would be here today as a full time Videographer.
In life, there are moments that make us who we are. We become someone based on this sequence of little tiny moments. A wedding day or adoption day is just a small little blip in our existence, but the beginning of something new, something big. I immerse myself into a client’s event not just physically, but emotionally. As the couple speaks their vows, and guests speak great things to the couple, it is meant to be heard. I produce videos designed to light a spark, and inspire us to do great things. When I was 9 or 10 I remember thinking to myself that I was destined for greatness! I never knew what it was, until now. It’s not me that is great, but by being a fly on the wall, through some of the greatest moments of our human existence, I get to capture sights and sounds, and use them as building blocks to construct works of art to inspire generations. I think if my life was easier, I wouldn’t understand the importance of cherishing each moment we are on this earth.
I believe we are all on this earth for a reason, some of us for a short while, others for decades longer than the average, but we are here for a purpose. You don’t have to accept the hand that life dealt, you don’t have to be miserable. You don’t have to live inside the box, you are in control of your future. Act now, follow your dream, stare fear in the face and become who you are meant to become. I choose to focus on the little moments, rather than the big picture, after all, when we are gone, all we leave behind are the memories. Don’t take life too seriously, laugh a little, be weird, and enjoy the journey, because it’s not about the destination.