Learning to Check My Ego...

I have always been a confident person. Some have even, at one point or another, have called me arrogant. I will own that, but will say that it comes from my earlier years before I realized just how quickly life can knock you right off the high horse that you put yourself on. I’ve learned that in the hardest ways possible. But, sometimes life really needs to knock you on your ass to make you not only appreciate what you have, but to make you understand that you need to grow. And, that the moment you stop growing and learning, is the moment you become irrelevant.

When I was younger, I was fearless. I was this larger than life person who really just did whatever tickled my fancy and mastered one thing after another. Things have always had a tendency of coming easy to me, school, friends, photography…I never really had a serious struggle with anything. Until I became an adult.

Insert ANXIETY here.

I touched on social media before, but I am going to revisit here. I am the first generation to have continual access to the internet. Limited at first, yes, but still access, AOL was the gateway social media drug. But then came the first of actual social media, MySpace, when I was in college. Then Facebook, right behind it. (Although when I was in college, you had to have a college associated email address to be able to access Facebook….yep, I really am THAT old…) And boom, the age of oversharing was born. People LOVED to show you themselves all dressed up going out, their new car, the exciting trip they went on, the parties they attended…etc, etc, etc. The Look at Me generation was born, and personal expectations went up.

I recently was talking with my husband and we were just saying how much harder it is to grow up in this day and age. With literally everything at your finger tips, the instant gratification expectations have grown to ridiculous numbers. Expectations of a perfect life as depicted on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram has become complete insanity. I have seen so many people obsessed with the ‘‘perfect’’ Instagram feed….and the fact that their images have to flow perfectly together and meet the criteria for the ‘‘aesthetic’’ that they are trying to portray. Not to mention, you need to maintain perfect hair, nails, social lives, kids, etc…and please make it look effortless. Y’all, its insanity. I cannot possibly keep up with the expectations that I feel like stare me in the face every day.

Let’s get real and honest here….on most days, I am doing REAL good, to get to work on time, get my kids to all the assigned practices on time, make sure they are fed and bathed, try to eat myself, take time to think about how I SHOULD be cleaning my kitchen, and get home in just enough time to scarf down some dinner of my own and pass out. I have a whole LOT of good intentions every morning when I hit the ground running, and half of the time I am lucky to get to check off a couple of things a day. I used to try to keep up. I used to try to make everything look perfect. And, I. Just. Can’t. I cannot pretend to be this person that I am not anymore. I cannot pretend to be this perfect supermom that people tell me I am all the time. Most days, I am crying at least once a day because I am overwhelmed. Anxiety is a monster, y’all.

Anxiety sits in the back of my head and tells me how inadequate I am. That I am too fat. That I don’t try enough. That people wonder why my husband is with me, cause lets be honest he’s super hot, and I am chubby at best. It tells me that I am annoying and that my friends are tired of me. It tells me that I am too extra and that I need to tone it down. It tells me that my friends plan things without me and leave me out on purpose. It tells me that people don’t love my work, that they don’t want to be my client’s and would rather have someone else that is so much better than me. It tells me that I don’t spend enough time with my kids. It tells me that I let them down daily. It tells me that I don’t work enough, or that I work too much. It tells me that I am becoming irrelevant if I don’t post every single day on my Facebook. It tells me that I am not enough. And some days, anxiety wins. Some days I lose it. Some days I yell at my kids. Some days I recluse into myself and don’t want to talk to anyone. Some days I think about quitting photography. Some days I wish that I was better. Some days I let the demons win. Some days I let people get to me, even when I tell people I don’t care what anyone thinks. Because when you really boil it down, words can hurt much worse than other things in life. They can cut like razors. And some days, anxiety just wins.

But, some days it doesn’t. Most days it doesn’t. Because I have made a conscious effort to tell myself that I will NOT let it win. That I will NOT give in to those feelings.

I touched briefly in my last blog about being in a dark place at the end of 2017. Anxiety was winning. I was stuck. John was worried about me, I could tell my kids were worried about me. I was short with everyone, I took my pent up anxiety and anger out on those that I loved the very most. I felt like i was in this place of no return with no exit in sight. And then, I finally found it. I finally realized that I would never be perfect, I would never be the Super Mom everyone said I was, but that I could be the best that I could be for me. For my kids. For my husband. And, let me tell you something….when I changed my mindset, my life changed. I figured out that those perfect portrayals on social media weren’t really representative of every day real life. It is like comparing your life to someone’s highlight reel. I had to learn that life was SO much more than what I saw and posted in my newsfeed. It was so much more than trying to impress my followers. There was so much more to life than what I was doing. So, that is when I decided it was time for a change. It was also when I decided that I needed to check my ego. I needed to start letting people in, little by little, to see the real me. My real life. My real struggles. Because for me, if you have seen my struggles, you can join me in my celebrations and you see how much they really mean to me. Writing this blog is a personal win of mine. It is really, REALLY hard for me to write all these things out and feel like I am showing off my exposed nerves to the world. Being raw is a lot harder than I really realized. Trying to be authentic is even harder than that. Finding a balance is hardest.

I started to take a look internally last year. I needed to figure out what my goals really were. I had to get my mental health in order. And I had to take along, hard look at my photography work. I had to realize that I was no where near the best, and had to start learning from people better than me to make myself move. I had to start shooting for myself and putting together shoots that sparked my creativity. I had to start pushing myself.

So, I did. Finally.

I was met with so much support and encouragement. So much love. I have people who STILL to this day comment on my new stuff and make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. You guys really have made such an impact in my life, and have no idea how much just a few words of encouragement mean to me. There really are no words to help me describe the love I have for you. Awesome, it’s what you are. And, I love you all.

I also came across some hardships. Anxiety still being one of my main adversaries. Then I encountered some people who were less than nice. Passive, aggressive bullies who project their lack of confidence in a way that is ugly, to people that they don’t even know. That was tough. Because, never in my life had I experienced someone being so mean and hateful, who had never met me in person, had a conversation with me, or probably could even pick me out in a lineup to he honest. It still to this day blows my mind how someone can be a jerk like that. It was something that I dealt with for months. Until I told myself I was done. And, that no amount of talking it to death with my friends would change who a person is, and that someone else’s opinion of me really is NONE of my business. However, I never claimed to be everyone’s cup of tea. So, there’s that. However, projecting your own self hate on someone else because you aren’t confident in yourself is NOT the way to go, in case you were wondering. What you put out into the world, will always come back. And holding on to hate is so toxic for you, that you have to just let it go.

So, here I am. With all my imperfections. I am almost always late. I really suck at being a girl. My hair is always in a knot on my head. I talk too much. I like food too much. I am really quite annoying when I think about it. I stress out over the stupidest things. I daydream a lot. I get off track all the time. I am a procrastinator. I am a homebody. I would rather be in PJs than going out clothes. I am a nerd. Sometimes, I would rather just be alone. I ramble. I revisit stupid dramatic stories over and over. I overthink EVERYTHING. I overreact a lot. I have a terrible attitude most of the time. I whine a lot. I would rather read than watch the movie. I eat my feelings. I second guess myself. I talk down to myself. I let people down. I make mistakes. I. Am. Human. My Instagram feed will never match, I will always run my mouth, I will always be late, but I will be unapologetically myself.

And, I am still here. I came through a really hard year, a year of hard growth and pushing myself outside of my box that I love to stay in so much. I pushed myself to learn. A Lot. I have started to be more gentle with myself. I have loved really hard. I’ve tried. And I’ve grown. As a photographer, a person, a sister, a daughter, a granddaughter, a nurse, a friend, a Mom….it’s been painful, but I’ve grown.

And it all began with checking my ego at the door…..<3

Photo that makes me happy, and shows that learning new things is great, this time last year I was just beginning to learn studio lighting….this year, it is my favorite place to shoot….😍