Today I’m writing to you. Yes, you. Because I have so much that I need to tell you on this cool and quiet Friday morning.
The first thing that I want you to know is that I love to write. I’ve always loved to write. There’s something magic about putting thoughts down on paper and knowing that there’s a chance that they might touch someone – that they might change someone’s life even. I feel the same about photography. The way an image can tell a story, can transport you back to a certain day, a certain moment, a certain feeling. But with writing, it’s a little different for me. I was the girl who would get in trouble when I was young because my parents would catch me reading way past bedtime, like a small explorer with a flashlight under my blankets, letting the words on the page carry me around the world and back again. I was the girl who would hole up in the back of the library during college, sitting on the floor in the quiet, and devour an entire book in one day….and the way that simple letters on a page can can make you see something, smell something, feel something, is nothing short of amazing to me.
I’ve always dreamed about being able to run a blog, putting myself out there everyday, encouraging people and sharing our story, and when we took the plunge to go full time I was so excited to be able to spend some time each day writing, and to quench this thirst that’s inside of me. But that was 4 months ago. And every day of those 4 months I have sat down in front of my computer screen, with my tidy list of blog topics all perfectly organized on the calendar in advance, and I have found myself at a loss. I watch the little curser blink blink blink. I turn music on. I turn music off. I surf Facebook. I read other blogs, but the inspiration doesn’t come. I try to come back to it later. And finally, as the clock ticks towards quitting time, I force myself to write, and it’s painful. And it’s not fun. And it’s frustrating. And even after hours of discussion with Rick about this I’ve felt lost, and as hard as we’ve tried to solve this mystery together the answers have eluded us. “Just do it,” he says, “just start writing – you love to write.” And while I know that to be true, my heart hasn’t followed suit.
Last night we had the chance to hear an extraordinary woman speak, Hannah Brencher, founder of The World Needs More Love Letters, published author of “If You Find This Letter,” and amazing speaker (check out her TED talk here)…if you don’t know her story you simply are missing out – because this girl has literally changed the world. She spoke about a topic that I’ve seen thrown around a lot lately on the interwebs: Authenticity. And she spoke a lot about blogging, and she told me exactly what I needed to hear. She told me that I need to be consistent for my readers – I need to show up every single day for you, and that I need to be who I am – and not who I think you want me to be.
Here’s who, all along, I’ve been thinking you want me to be:
-A upbeat, personable, bubbly, outgoing half of a 100% in love and perfect husband wife team with perfect kids and the perfect life.
-A photographer first, and a mother and wife second – because what brides/grooms or portrait clients want to read about motherhood?
-Perfect all the time. As in nothing bad ever happens, we never make any mistakes in our business, and every day is a happy day.
-Knowledgeable in everything. Able to answer any question, to tackle any goal.
-A good dresser, who wears artsy outfits and interesting accessories.
And here’s who I am:
Photo by Justin & Mary.
-I am an introvert. I HATE talking on the phone and would rather spend my evening curled up with Rick on the couch than out meeting new people.
-I know deep down that I’m a wife and mother before I’m a photographer/businesswoman – but I struggle every single day with finding the right balance.
-I’m a perfectionist to a fault, but I’m definitely not perfect. We make mistakes, but we never share them with you. While most of our days our happy, we also struggle.
-I don’t know it all. I haven’t been a photographer all my life, I don’t have all the answers – but I damn sure want to.
-I have no sense of style. I just recently bought my first pair of skinny jeans. I don’t know how to pair accessories and I only own 4 pairs of shoes, one of which is the pair of slippers I accidentally wore to the studio this morning.
-I never fail. Yep, it’s true. I’m the person who’s always had to make up an answer to that question during job interviews because I literally can’t think of a time where I didn’t do something I put my mind to – and with Rick by my side we’ve grown our business from 2 weddings three years ago, to 26 weddings the next year, to 28 weddings the next year, to being full time with 35 weddings this year.
-I’m self conscious about how fast we’ve grown our business because I want you to believe that we’ve been doing this forever and ever so that you’ll trust us, but I’m also proud of what we’ve accomplished in such a short time and sometimes I just want to shout it from the rooftops.
-I am a girl who is passionate about helping others light a fire in themselves and pursue their dreams, because it’s something that I didn’t do for myself for so long. If I could, I would sit down with you in person today and spend the next 4 hours learning who you are, laughing and crying with you, hashing out your longterm goals, talking about where you are and where you want to be, and pushing you to get there.
-I’m still figuring it all out. I graduated with a degree in physics and nuclear engineering. I have a masters in aeronautics. I was a helicopter pilot for 7 years. I managed the maintenance at an ice cream manufacturing plant. I’ve traveled to 29 different countries. And for the first time in my life I finally feel like I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be, doing exactly what I’m supposed to do…and I can’t believe it. Although I’ve been putting on a happy face for you guys for years, for the first time in as long as I can remember I feel truly happy and fulfilled – working with Rick, being a photographer, and running our own business.
Yep, that’s me! And what I realized last night as I was listening to Hannah speak, is that I’ve been trying to use this blog to give you want I think you want. To tell you what I think you want to hear. To be like the other photographer bloggers that I love to follow. To talk weddings all the time, to write as many posts as possible with tips for photographers. To keep it fun and upbeat and positive and kind of fake. And that’s why I haven’t been able to write. Because I’ve been scared. I’m scared that I’m not qualified to have an amazing blog. That you won’t find my words interesting. That I have nothing special to share. But deep down I know that’s probably not true. And I know that the reason it scares me so much to just write, to just share my heart with you guys, goes back to me being a perfectionist and never failing – because it means breaking down guards and getting real with you and jumping into something completely exposing and unexpected with a real fear of failure.
I’ve written before about our journey for fulfillment in life. And I’m tired of trying to write about the topics that I see other successful photographers writing about, simply because I think that it will also lead us to success. We have our own unique journey to share. Our own authentic struggles and triumphs and lessons learned.
I want to change your life. I want to make a difference with our photography and with my words. I want to share our love story and tell yours.
So, my commitment to you today is that I am going to be here for you five days a week. And I’m going to show up in my old comfy jeans and my slippers, just me, not some version of who I think you want me to be. I’m going to laugh with you. I’m going to cry with you. I’m going to tell our story authentically. I’m going to write to you, not for you. And I can’t wait to see where it takes us. See you Monday! Love, A