Getting Your Hands Dirty


Dear Jasmine,
Thank you for pushing me, because sometimes I just don’t feel like I can push myself any further. I live and breathe trying to drum up business and ideas and getting business straight and trying to do whatever I can and come home from my job as a server and throw myself on the bed in a pity party because even there I have wasted 4 hours carrying beers making jack squat. I send out inquiry after inquiry and then hear nothing back and just feel like an absolute failure sometimes and want to quit, and sometimes I just want to smack myself and say “YOU are it! YOU are enough!”, but other times, it’s just too much. But, I keep going, because I know that I am struggling for a reason. I am having to work hard for a dollar because I have always been terrible at managing them. This is a life lesson, and I need to work hard to really enjoy and never take the experience for granted when I do get there. But it wears on you sometimes, you know? I keep telling myself that “those who have less do more”, and keep praying that sooner rather than later, it will turn out to be shiny and true.
Has Less

Dear Has Less,
There was a time before I went to law school when I worked at a BBQ restaurant to save money for my education. Every morning, I’d dress in dark denim jeans, a checkered shirt, and wear a sheriff’s pin with my name emblazoned on it. Ring! Ring! Ring! went the sound of the copper bell on the indoor smoker that the grill master rang every time he opened those smoker doors. The ringing signaled something was going to change, that the restaurant was about to fill with rich, sticky smoke and make your eyes water. Sometimes I’d run into people I went to high school with and, after taking their order, I’d want to melt from humiliation of BBQ crusted fingers and watery eyes. I graduated at the top of my class, earned a full scholarship to college, and there was I slingin’ a full rack of baby back ribs on a Friday night. Would you like slaw or fries with that?

A couple years later, just after quitting law school, I met JD for pizza at a place a few blocks from our apartment. We drove separately from work, tired and exhausted from a day of staring aimlessly at our computers. I worked in Marketing part-time in a storage closet that was converted into an office, complete with a draw-string light bulb overhead. The pay was little, but it offered health insurance and I jumped at the opportunity. I packed my lunches in a brown paper bag because every penny was accounted for and, darn it, I really wanted that new lens as I started my photography business.

After dusting an entire pizza, JD and I walked to my Honda Accord. The same one I’d been driving way before my BBQ slingin’ days. Over the years, the hood had become oxidized and the paint disappeared, so it looked like I was driving a black car with a grey hood. We’d been saving to get the hood painted because I was embarrassed of showing up early to engagement sessions and parking a few blocks away so clients wouldn’t see my car. A dented car I loved, but feared made me look as desperate as I felt.

It was then when JD told me we’d have to wait to get the hood painted. Again. The start-up company where he worked delayed paychecks since a promised contract had yet to arrive. It was going to be a rough two weeks…left-overs, packed lunches, every penny counted. I got in my car and drove home with hot, angry tears streaming down my face. Painting the hood would cost $85 and we didn’t even have that to spare.

But here’s the thing, Has Less: something inside me was brewing. Something I couldn’t muster when I was serving cole slaw or carrying my law books or sitting in a storage closet/office…HUMILITY. For years I carried this idea I was better than slingin’ ribs or driving a two-toned, dented car. But I wasn’t. And you’re not above carrying beers. None of us are above doing what we need to do to get things done in the name of our dreams. It’s about working hard, practicing, serving others, and honing our craft.

To be honest, I don’t know if sooner or later your sacrifices will “turn out to be shiny and true” but what I do know is that the lessons you’re learning now can be applied to whatever life holds for you. For everything life holds for you. Ring! Ring! Ring! Do you hear that, Has Less? That’s the sound of something changing. Your life is about to be filled with sticky smoke and your eyes will water, but I promise nothing feels better than getting your hands dirty from the passion in your heart.

Stay Fabulous,

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  1. Audrey Smit

    July 17th, 2012 at 2:16 pm

    J* – you make my heart beat faster because every word you write rings so true inside of me. Thanks for the inspiration. As always.

  2. naomi chokr

    July 17th, 2012 at 2:19 pm

    what a beautiful post!!! tears are rolling down my eyes! Just a few months ago I woke up crying…. because I had to go to my day job after only an hour of sleep the from editing and responding to emails for my 2nd job (photography)…. i was crying why is it that everything is always much harder for me. Why why why? That was only 3 or 4 months ago. Now I’m leaving my day job in a little over two months.

    Dear Has less – dont stop!!!! you are almost there! just a few more tears but it will be so worth it.

  3. nikki

    July 17th, 2012 at 2:35 pm

    if i were standing in front of you both, i’d hug you both. and maybe cry a little. i just turned 21. i started my business in January 2012. i’m exhausted, frustrated, scared and at times desperate. but the lessons i am learning, or hoping i learning are worth it. many thanks.

  4. Jen

    July 17th, 2012 at 2:44 pm

    I can totally relate, Has Less! We all hit times in life when we know WHERE we want to go, but it’s just so hard to see how we’re ever going to make it. You just gotta take things one step at a time and slowly, slowly things start falling into place. (The slowly bit is the worst part, yea?) You just have to remember that the journey is preparing you for what lies ahead.

    In short– Don’t give up! It’s human to feel discouraged, but everything will work out just as it’s meant to!

  5. Life with Kaishon

    July 17th, 2012 at 2:48 pm

    This I love.

  6. Shannon-May

    July 17th, 2012 at 2:58 pm

    Jasmine, you are an incredible writer. I love how your own pursuit of wisdom dances softly between the lines of everything you write. You are never preachy, but each post is a sermon. Thank you for reminding us all that there is a cost to pursuing our own happiness, and that the sacrifices more than worthwhile. Love & Sunshine, Shannon-May

  7. Natasha

    July 17th, 2012 at 2:59 pm

    Wow. That reply had my name all over it!! I’m dustin my shoulders off and getting ready for another day!

  8. dawn

    July 17th, 2012 at 3:09 pm

    amen, sister.

  9. Tina dela Rosa

    July 17th, 2012 at 3:21 pm

    Words to live by.

  10. Chris - Orlando Photography

    July 17th, 2012 at 3:26 pm

    very inspirational. nice pick me up:)

  11. Tara

    July 17th, 2012 at 3:31 pm

    beautiful! I need to always remember his! Go after my dream! I need to not let anything get in my way, my dream is to become a photographer and quit my day job. I can do this!

  12. ashley barnett

    July 17th, 2012 at 3:39 pm

    Love. This. Thanks Jasmine!

  13. Amy Jo

    July 17th, 2012 at 3:49 pm

    Love this. I want that quote done in Subway art for my office wall, or even my soon to be new babies nursery. Inspiring.

  14. rich

    July 17th, 2012 at 3:59 pm

    wow – absolutely beautifully written – so inspired today by your post. thank you, thank you so very much jasmine.

  15. Carrie Vines

    July 17th, 2012 at 4:02 pm

    Best. Post. Ever! Jasmine, thank you for articulating what I’ve been feeling for years!

  16. Trix Malan

    July 17th, 2012 at 4:11 pm

    Jasmine, I have been following your blog for the past year, always dreaming of the day that I will also be able to capture the joy of a couple’s journey together – but never quite believing I would ever get there. You’ve made me laugh, dream and cringe with you every step of the way. But today is a different day, today you showed an immense amount of empathy for someone who also has a dream, the same dream we all share and you have struck a chord in my soul. I recently started a course and, even though the dream is a far way off, I know it is not completely out of reach. I’ve never had a problem with hard grafting, but the belief and confidence in myself has never been there, but like you said in a previous post – just get over it. Thank you for the daily dose of motivation, inspiration, encouragement and then some days just a good old chuckle at us all being human. Please never stop…

  17. Clickmama

    July 17th, 2012 at 4:17 pm

    You know I have to confess most of the time I look at the photos and not so much of the text – mostly because there is not always that much time to spare and there are trillions of blogs to stalk, sorry, troll, sorry look at lol but boy am I glad I stopped to read this one (although yeah letters are another good one I usually stop to read…) anyway what am I saying. I am saying that posts like this may very well be the singular reason why God put you where you are today. To inspire. As for Has Less you are just a microcosm of the most of us out here. I cannot tell you how many times I had thoughts that I wouldn’t even let myself think due to the sheer desperation of why there are not enough hours in a day to have my day job and my second job in perfect balance. God always always makes a way. Where there is a will, there will surely be a way out and through.

  18. Jenny

    July 17th, 2012 at 4:18 pm

    I know the feeling that comes with having to put in hours doing something you hate, in order to get where you need to be. 5 years of bartending supported me while I got my photo degree and struggled to get my career off the ground. Humility is the word; with that while knowing you’re better educated and more intelligent than the men hitting on you while you serve beer after beer. But I let that frustration fuel my fire. Some nights I would come home in tears and work that much harder the next day. Its about patience, swallowing your pride and knowing that it’s a small price to pay.
    I quit bartending in January. But I’ll never forget how a job that made me feel small taught me how badly I wanted to make it big.

  19. Emily

    July 17th, 2012 at 4:18 pm

    Keep it comin’. Jasmine, I want to say a HUGE thank you for speaking LIFE into all of us. Your blog has been a real encouragement to me.

  20. Lesslie

    July 17th, 2012 at 4:20 pm

    Ohhh… how is that ever so true. Reminds me of my husband an I. Most importantly, it stands as a reminder of the growing pains we all must face in the effort to chase our dreams. In each step through the valley and the pain stacking upward climb its so wonderful to hear that we are not alone. For every person who has reached their dreams has been there.

  21. Kitrin Jeffrey

    July 17th, 2012 at 4:23 pm

    Wow J*, just when I didn’t think I could love you even more, you just blew me away. How can you be so fabulous, all the while still so down to earth. You are an inspiration.

  22. Cecilia Grace Mizin

    July 17th, 2012 at 4:24 pm

    Tears. My heart is welling up.

  23. elisabetta {Linen and Silk}

    July 17th, 2012 at 4:34 pm

    A poet couldn’t have expressed it any better. Thank you girl. x

  24. Eli Felicitas

    July 17th, 2012 at 4:38 pm

    J*, THAT is beautiful !! Your words, your thoughts, your photos, your art – you are forever an inspiration. To "Has Less" and anyone else, no one ‘has less’, rather we all "have more" . . . Just have to persevere and the good changes will come! Thank you J* !!

  25. Ashley Goodwin

    July 17th, 2012 at 4:42 pm


  26. Abby Hacker

    July 17th, 2012 at 4:47 pm

    I’m just going to come out and say it…I love you! I don’t know you, never met you, but you are such an inspiration and put into words what so many of us struggling photographers need to hear. Thank you for being there for all of us!

  27. Jessie

    July 17th, 2012 at 4:48 pm

    I wonder if a butterfly remembers that she was once just a caterpillar crawling on the ground, slowly moving forward, not being admired, dreaming of flying and because she does… she values her wings more.

  28. Kim Renee

    July 17th, 2012 at 4:50 pm

    Dear Jasmine and Has Less, I can completely relate. What you said about our dreams is so true…when it comes to getting done what needs to get done it’s like you have to zone out what you normally wouldn’t do and just do it. I’m in that place right now, but I also know it’s not permanent. Just temporary.

  29. E Wood

    July 17th, 2012 at 4:52 pm

    That was inspiring to say the least. You’re right, we aren’t better than slingin’ ribs. That’s just a stepping stone on the path to our dreams. Thanks.

  30. Jessica Vidmar Photography

    July 17th, 2012 at 4:53 pm

    Has Less, you are not alone. I can’t believe the words i just read. i could have written each and every one of them myself and to tell you the truth, the past week has been a rough one and i was contemplating sending an identical letter to j* too asking for direction…haha..i guess great minds think alike : ) i am tired of the struggle and i just need to get some relief but it seems like it doesn’t come no matter how hard i try. i don’t have any great words of wisdom for us but because of you i know there is at least one other person out there who feels the same as me makes me feel a little less lonely. thank you so much for sharing. and j* you are blessed. you help so many people and you always seem to hit the nail on the head – it is about the lessons we learn, what we do with them, how they change our lives and humility. i never thought of myself as a prideful person but it is time i realized some truths about myself and become completely honest with myself and those around me. i can’t thank you both enough for this post.

  31. Sharma Shari

    July 17th, 2012 at 4:54 pm

    Hola Jasmine!
    My hubby lost his job right before I finished my MFA Photography (A dream from which I left my "secure" engineering work). We struggle for 6 months working as waitress and cook/prep guy in a restaurant until I found a part time at WDW as a photographer, 1.15 hours away. and then a second job arrived. At one point I was working 7 days a week, driving most of the time while me sweet hubby struggled without a job and seeing his wife so tired all the time. Now, things are better, He has a job that allows me to dedicate full time to this craft…and yet I feel like I am failing. I am not where I want to be and I feel the frustration. Sometimes it turns into self pity. Until your story comes along, And once more it gives me a little wake up call and make me remember our journey so far. Gracias! Thanks from the bottom of my heart for sharing your stories and making me remember that it is posible! HAVE A FAB DAY!!!! 😀

  32. Maryanne Scott

    July 17th, 2012 at 4:55 pm

    I’m not normally one to leave comments (I just lurk) but this is a lovely post – so full of hope.

  33. Tiffany Tolmen

    July 17th, 2012 at 5:01 pm

    Thanks for always being honest. Cody’s (my hubby) job was cut down to less than 1/2 of what he was making(which barely kept us afloat) and this last week has been a fit of tears, ideas and just moving on. Humbling and painful, yes. But there is a fire – a passion in us…and though I fight tears as I write – I believe that God gave us these gifts of photography for a purpose. Off to go practice more with our speedlights. 🙂 Gettin’ dirty.

  34. Chloe

    July 17th, 2012 at 5:03 pm

    It’s about working hard, realising you are or were in a place you don’t want to be and doing everything you can to get and stay, out of there. Slinging ribs, working two jobs, doing the hard grind… it’s all worth it in the end. x

  35. Becca Borge

    July 17th, 2012 at 5:05 pm

    Perfectly written, Jasmine. Beautiful post.

  36. Irene

    July 17th, 2012 at 5:12 pm

    Hey Jasmine, I have heard of you through my daughter Jennifer Roberson with Fadeless Memories, Carved prints, and now I know why she is so excited about meeting you. Your photography is so beautiful and I really appreciated what you had to say about getting your hands dirty…You are absolutely right. So glad all the hard work have paid off. Your site is top notch! Irene

  37. Patricia

    July 17th, 2012 at 5:13 pm

    Timely post. Thanks it was needed.

  38. Michele

    July 17th, 2012 at 5:17 pm

    you never cease to inspire… j*! humility can be rare to find these days… thank for reminding us what it means!

  39. Alyssa

    July 17th, 2012 at 5:36 pm

    You are so many kinds of awesome…

  40. Kandise

    July 17th, 2012 at 6:38 pm

    Amen. (I feel like I say this to you a lot lately. But still.)

  41. Lyn Ismael-Bennett

    July 17th, 2012 at 7:08 pm

    Thanks for the inspiring words, Jasmine. I certainly needed to hear/read that today 🙂

  42. Karen

    July 17th, 2012 at 7:22 pm

    You are such an inspiration.

  43. Marian Majik

    July 17th, 2012 at 7:32 pm

    Thank you Jasmine for pushing myself too…

  44. Marcia Nave

    July 17th, 2012 at 8:14 pm

    What a great article written with so much wisdom and "humility". I am 59 years old and sometimes I look around at the younger generation and know that the way they’ll learn about life and it’s direction is through the twists and bumps of life. Life is a journey. My husband had a similar situation when he received his first chiropractic job which was commission only. After finding out that the office manager had not sent out billing for months and months. We were broke. My husband and I were praying on the phone when we heard the bell on the door. The postman put a stack of letters on the desk. After opening all the letters we were $100.00 ahead. We never take what we have for granted.

  45. Lindsey Laughlin

    July 17th, 2012 at 8:23 pm

    Preach it, sister!

  46. Shawn Corbett

    July 17th, 2012 at 8:32 pm

    Wow, your openness and willingness to share is astounding. Thanks for the simple reminder that NO ONE is above getting "dirty" for their dreams. After all if you don’t have to fight for something it’s not worth having.

  47. April Vest

    July 17th, 2012 at 8:47 pm

    Jasmine! You are so articulate! SUCH and amazing writer and you so often manage to put tears in my eyes. Thanks, once again.

  48. Nicole Diehnelt

    July 17th, 2012 at 10:58 pm

    AMEN! What an awesome post. Thank you!

  49. Camilo Rozo

    July 17th, 2012 at 11:29 pm

    Thank you for your post. I can relate, and I’m glad to see there are others who are willing to work for their goals just as hard.

  50. Sandra Fazzino

    July 18th, 2012 at 2:44 am

    Jasmine, you have an ability to not only write beautifully but to put the truth down on paper, not ask for pity or sympathy but simply tell it how it is, and it’s so refreshing. Yesterday, I got a little emotional in the gym shower as gratitude filled my heart for my husband who has been a die hard supporter of my photography business venture ever since I quit my full time job. He’s the same man who never once questioned or judged why I was working two jobs, seven days a week when we first met ten years ago almost to the day. (I made enough to pay my bills but not to save, so I took a weekend job for one year to build a nest egg.) Stay positive, Has Less, because you have a lot more than you realize!

  51. LEOLAK

    July 18th, 2012 at 3:43 am

    WORD! WORD! WORD!! AMEN! AMEN!! AMEN!!!! Thank you for this! I have no more words. Oh…YOU ROCK!

  52. sarah danaher

    July 18th, 2012 at 4:00 am

    Jasmine, this is maybe the best, most important thing that I’ve ever heard you say. Important because I need to hear it. Best because IT’S SO TRUE. Thank you, thank you, thank you for reminding me who I am, where I am, and just how important it is to keep things in perspective.

  53. Simone Anne

    July 18th, 2012 at 5:19 am

    This made me cry. Ain’t it all the truth. xo

  54. Girish

    July 18th, 2012 at 9:36 am

    This could be by far the year’s best post yet…. some powerful words
    Very inspiring.

  55. Natalie

    July 18th, 2012 at 10:03 am

    No matter where you are and what you are doing….every single day you are a better version of yourself than you was the day before.

  56. Rici

    July 18th, 2012 at 10:48 am

    Thank you for sharing so honest with us again!! It means a lot to me to read how you started and felt a couple of years ago!! Thank you, thank you, thank you!! I feel like dreams become more realistic because of how you share! And that I can reach for mine and that I just need to remember it takes time and work and I can do it! Saluti from Tuscany.

  57. Andria Lavine

    July 18th, 2012 at 2:24 pm

    I have no words, J! Wow!

  58. jamie

    July 18th, 2012 at 3:16 pm

    love this post Jasmine! it reminds me of that quote by edison: "opportunity is missed by most people because it comes dressed in overalls and looks like hard work." 🙂

  59. Lucy Munoz

    July 18th, 2012 at 4:11 pm

    Sincerely you preach as well as you photograph-amazingly! How many of us can relate to this? Thanks so much Jasmine for reminding us to put one foot in front of the other, while continuing to follow your dreams…

  60. Gabby

    July 18th, 2012 at 4:42 pm

    You are AWESOME!!!

  61. Sarah Syhakhoun

    July 18th, 2012 at 6:29 pm

    Thank you for this, Jasmine! It’s just what I needed to here. I’m starting a career that I went to school for even though I have a date set when I am going to go full-time with photography. I should never think I’m above anything. I’m so lucky to have a job that will pay the bills (even if it’s just barely), and life could be SO MUCH worse. Every day I’m learning. Thank you!

  62. Sarai

    July 18th, 2012 at 9:40 pm

    This was said about hockey…but applies to photography and life too…."You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take." – Wayne Gretsky We all have to keep trying or we just miss out.

  63. Denise Prichett

    July 19th, 2012 at 3:27 am

    This is such a great post. It is HARD to for your dreams to come true. For me, finally learning how to take pictures with a dslr to learning to drive, these were things I thought for the longest time I would never be able to do. But I eventually learned them. With every dream, you have to stretch and grow to attain it. Now, I have different dreams, but knowing that I have attained ome of my smaller dreams I have complete faith that I WILL attain the new dreams one day too. Good luck fellow dreamers, have faith and when you reach you dream enjoy it, but reach even higher for the stars!!! Thanks J* for the inspiration!!!!

  64. corey

    July 19th, 2012 at 4:32 pm

    J this says it all and at the end of the day you appreciate your skills and craft more because you earned it honestly and grinded it slangin ribs etc. This is indeed is the truth.. C

  65. Melissa

    July 19th, 2012 at 6:21 pm

    Very true and inspiring…I too used to sling ribs and probably wore that very same checkered shirt-red and white or blue and white, such fashion choices at the time:)

  66. Ashley Christine

    July 19th, 2012 at 9:13 pm

    Perfect timing; I needed to read this today. Thanks Has Less & Jasmine!

  67. Julia Ferry

    July 19th, 2012 at 11:49 pm

    Jasmine – I just wanted to say that you are like a little muse for a girl with a dream and some bruised knuckles. I love your writing, the imagery and voice behind it. And I’m not sure you picked the right creative field. While your pictures are amazing, and your story my strongest inspiration to pursue my own photography dream. I do have to say that sometimes those powerful words you craft get me all misty eyed. Case above as example. And I’m so not the crying girl in any stretch of the words. So, thank you!

  68. Ambre Williams

    July 20th, 2012 at 1:25 am

    Seems like nothing is by chance, nor coincidence. I’ve been feeling down and discouraged with my recent endeavor of starting my own business. Thank you for inspiring me.

  69. Cami

    July 20th, 2012 at 1:31 am

    I’m currently living this story! I graduated with top Honours in my Design Degree, 4years I dedicated every day to that course. After leaving university, I thought the design job offers would come flowing, especially after I took an unpaid internship in New York (I live in New Zealand). I move from the North Island to the South Island and started fresh, without a dollar to my name. I worked 75-80hours a week to support myself, waitress, babysitter, house-mover. Now I’m starting to see rewards. I’m working freelance for 3designers, and building my confidence in my own work. Life is hard sometimes, but whenever I have those thoughts I remind myself how blessed I am to live in a country which allows me to have an education and the ability to follow my dreams.

  70. Mireya :)

    July 20th, 2012 at 11:58 pm

    Wonderful post!!! Inspiring, true, and much needed. Have an awesome day 🙂

  71. Michelle Stone

    July 25th, 2012 at 4:07 pm

    Oh my gosh I needed to read this today. Thank you!

  72. Cindy Colbert

    July 25th, 2012 at 6:00 pm

    Well here I sit with hot tears streaming down my face… so blurry eyed I can barely see to type "Thank You". I really really needed this right about now. Ring! Ring! Ring! & Pressing On With An Encouraged Heart! Gosh Jasmine… I so wanna hug you right now 🙂 Wishing you a life full to overflowing with love, hugs & laughter!

  73. cassandra-m

    July 26th, 2012 at 11:51 pm

    Gosh, that put a lump in my throat~!!!………..well written Jasmine. Gonna print that sticky note out and put on my desk as INSPIRATION….thank YoU~!!!

  74. Jessica

    July 27th, 2012 at 4:50 pm

    WOW!! I sit here with tears in my eyes.. This couldn’t have come at a better time.. Your truth inspires me to keep pushing! Thank you, thank you!

  75. Christopher Johnston

    August 8th, 2012 at 6:09 pm

    Wow, that hurts. Just today I started a month and a half leave from grad school while I switch grad programs. I’m also desperately I need of a job. Thankfully a photo shoot came my way today but I’m also not going to pass on any marketing jobs I can find (my undergrad degree).
    Having kids taught me a ton about humility and "having less" over the last few years has taught me the value of a dollar.

  76. Natalie

    August 8th, 2012 at 8:28 pm

    I always remember this when it gets a little hard "Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly"

  77. Daisy

    April 16th, 2013 at 8:12 pm

    Thank you for sharing. As I continue to struggle in my first few years of business…..driving my old grungy ’97 Honda Civic to portrait sessions and feeling the same embarrassment you describe…it’s reassuring to know that someone so successful as yourself had these same trials…gives me hope. 🙂