Hi friends. I've been quiet here lately - and quiet in a lot of the places I usually hang out online. This year has been an incredible one for me, and I have found myself living a dream that I had almost given up on. But as the year progressed, especially this fall, I've found myself losing sight of the "me" in all this. I found myself picking up my camera less and less as other (welcomed!) demands were placed on my time. And I found myself struggling with thinking that what I do isn't enough. I've spent much of this year, in regards to my personal work, fighting between who I am and who I think I should be. Or to be more accurate, who I think others think I should be. It took a conversation with a friend this morning to help me sort out what I've already known, but just needed to be told, that I haven't been doing the work - the work that I so passionately insists others do - but I haven't been doing it for myself. And I have been far too concerned with what I think others expect of me. He asked me a very simple question that put it all into perspective - what would I want to photograph if I only had a month left to live?
When I think about that, everything else melts away. All the projects that I think about taking on because I think it'll get me further or make me better, all the things that I think others expect of me - that question right there boils it all down, and I KNOW. I know exactly what I would want to hold onto. And so, I hope to get back to picking up my camera for the reason I know in my heart that motivates me more than anything else. For the raw, real, everyday beauty and ache of motherhood that is so far beyond my ability to comprehend that I can only try and document it, in the hopes that someday I will look back and be able to understand.
I'm posting this for two reasons - one, to ask for encouragement and accountability from this community. I'm not above needing help, and friends, I need some help and encouragement now. And two, in the hopes that his words also bring you some clarity if you have been struggle as I have. Sometimes it is so very easy to feel so alone, despite the community we have built, to feel like we alone feel worthless or like we are struggling in a way no one else is. To feel like everyone else makes it look so dang easy. It's not easy. But isn't that what makes it all so worthwhile? The journey may be steep, but in the end, it's the steepness that makes us feel like we've accomplished something. It wouldn't be nearly as fun and satisfying if it were easy.
I'm taking the rest of December to get back in the habit of picking up my camera regularly, and rekindling my passion. And then I'll be starting fresh on January 1 with a very loose 365 project, focusing on the things that I care about most. It's not the most original approach to get myself out of this rut, but it's what has always worked for me in the past.