I thought I never had an issue with making tough choices. That’s because they weren’t actually tough.

Tough choices are the ones that get you scared, nervous or bring up thoughts that don’t appear 99.9999% of time during your day. Serious “What’ifs?” and ethics. You just go on and on trying to figure everything out.

The thing is: You can plan all you want. How often does that work out?

The month of October was a difficult one. I’ve been trying to work on some new marketing for my Ricardo Gomez Studios business and while promising, hasn't done as well as I've hoped. Yet! I’ve been wanting to do a great shoot with one of my favorite models but have had to put it off for a while. Then just life stuff you wouldn’t believe. Things you see in movies but actually never knew anyone who went through it….

Then I bumped into this video of Joe Rogan interviewing Jewel on his podcast. I had no idea about her life before becoming famous. Other than she is originally from Alaska. No idea.

Clicking on the image will take you to the Spotify podcast of Jewel being interviewed by Joe Rogan. The interview is 3-hours long. Worth every second. Image: AP

She was homeless. Twice. At 15 and 18. Lived in her car for a year or two. Singing on the beach boardwalks of San Diego to make money. A mother that I would describe as “Satan’s Wife” from her description. Physically abused by her father. While homeless, described herself as a prolific thief. Food. Clothes.

I lived in my car for a few days when I arrived in New York City because no one would rent me a room/apartment. That was quite scary. Mind you, I’m a trained boxer and wrestler. I’m totally down to fighting anyone without issue if I have to. I don’t care how big they are. That doesn’t scare me. I’ve done some things that require extra tough guts. I’ve been so close to death, and maybe even crossed the line once but didn’t figure it out until much later, that I’m not scared by it. At all. By most accounts, I’m a tough bastard. But living in my car? That was scary. Someone could easily rob me. Get me off-guard and beat or rape me. Beat me so bad that my brains would be a mess and I would end up one of those zombie-homeless people. How to get cleaned up? The shame of living in my car.

Jewel did it twice. As a young, beautiful teen.

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That she went through all that and came out seemingly well adjusted. She was discovered while singing in a coffee shop and signed onto a record label at 20. While being homeless. There would be big and further obstacles in the not too-distant future. Still, would still live a pretty incredible life by most people’s measurements.

Seeing how hard she had it and got through it…. Inspired me. On a religious side, there was also Joseph. Was sold into slavery by his brothers. Many years in prison. Later to become the Prime Minister. And forgave his brothers when they approached him as PM. But that was several thousand years ago. Jewel is ‘today’. Jewel herself is talking about her life. I’m seeing it.

I totally believe that difficult times makes you better. Absolutely. It even says in the bible that you should welcome difficult times for this very concept. Pressure creates diamonds.

And in certain cases, a Jewel….

Ricardo Gomez Photography

Originally from San Francisco, Ricardo is now a New York-based photographer specializing in editorial and commercial photography.
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