Here we are in July.
(I wrote this in a state of anxiety, so please read it knowing it might not make a ton of sense, there might be type-os, and jumping thoughts. But It is with the best of intentions and love. If you can relate to this still, we should probably talk 😊)
I am normally pretty good at staying in the present, I mean, for the most part. My anxiety decides to live in 2009 and 2043 constantly, but I make the choice not to identify with my anxiety. It does not always cooperate, but we are working on that.
I launched this photography business full force, and I am super proud of what I have accomplished. I'm mostly proud of the fact I have has so many women and couples share how amazing they felt during and after their session; it's hands down my favorite thing in the world. Hearing someone say that they feel beautiful....that over almost anything else in life, it is just freaking incredible. I'll get back to this.
Dan and I started, for fun, looking at houses online with a "5 year plan before we move", and here we closed on our first house together and have been making it our forever home one project at a time! After we put in the offer, he proposed. So, I guess that means that we are engaged... and wedding planning! So many of my client's are engaged women or couples, and let me tell you, I get it. This is super exciting, a little stressful and a lot of fun!
Also, a lot of anxiety.
This year has had many sleepless nights due to painting too late, pinning wedding plans until 3am, and that damn anxiety that seems to creep up around 11pm like clockwork. My mental health has been quite a learning curve for Dan, my fiancé. He tries so hard to understand, to help, to 'fix' it. It is hard. Dan is incredible at helping deal with my anxiety, and is so willing to keep learning about my mental health struggles. He will listen to Headspace meditations with me at night... even though he magically he is able to fall asleep in 24 seconds flat. And I am so SO lucky that I'm working in the mental health field, and building so many strong relationships there, where talking to my friends about mental health is completely normal. So normal in fact, that sometimes I forget how 'taboo' it can be for others people.
It is super hard trying to explain mental health, and (during a pandemic and while trying to understand my white privilege) try to understand it myself. Then let's throw in body image. Which, yes it part of my anxiety and mental health, but also I honestly can't figure out how to love my body 100%, all the time. I have figured out how to be in the moment and live in the now, I have figured out some coping skills that work pretty well for my panic attacks, but I have yet to figure out this. I've been trying to look at my cellulite without judging, and just noticing. My less-than-perky butt and love it for being a great pad for bleachers or our wood picnic benches in our yard. My tummy that rolls over my pants and tell myself that I am super lucky that I live a life where I never go hungry and that I care about eating and honoring my body more than having a flat tummy while sitting (also, is this even a thing? Through all the boudoir shoots and bodies I have worked with, I have yet to see that in real life)... also not judging at all if that is a thing!
Mental health is such a bizarre thing to talk about. "I have anxiety. About what you ask? Well, you see, my brain is telling me that my whole world may possibly change at anytime and everything bad is going to happen and no one will understand. And also my body is not perfect and you are probably noticing all my flaws. Did I leave the garage open? Gosh, I bet I did. Oh well. Also, I know you are judging me, how can you not when I am judging myself so hard? Yes, I know that it is not logical. No, there is no evidence that this will actually happen, but it really feels like it. oh, my thoughts stopped some but my heart is pounding so hard my body is shaking"..... What the Huh? How do we even explain this to people who don't struggle with it? It is nuts, and definitely can bring some feelings of shame and guilt if we admit our thoughts, so let's just not do that.
Why am I talking about this, in this anxiety ridden state? Because, I want you to know in many ways I get it. I struggle too, and I am here to do my best to support you.
I am working on trying to join my two loves, photography and mental health more seriously. I want to be able to talk about our struggles during intimate portrait sessions, and have them be more intimate than just stripping down and getting your picture taken. I want it to be an experience where my clients can break their wall down, even just a tiny bit, and be vulnerable in a safe place. My goal in every session is to understand my client's needs a little deeper than "I don't really like my _______". My goal is to be a small piece of your life, that you can continue to reflect on as part of your journey in self discovery, healing and love.