What's Up Universe?
FINGER LAKES PHOTOGRAPHER AND BLOGGER
Ever feel like the Universe is trying to tell you something? I totally believe in stuff like that. If you think it's weird, you may want to stop reading now, or you can continue to read and then make fun of me after you're done. I've been doing a lot of thinking about my photography and really, my life, lately. A LOT. Deep thinking. What truly fulfills me? What do I love about photography? What do I not love about photography? Do I truly want to make this a business? Do I only want to use my photography for personal enjoyment? Why don't my photos ever seem good enough to me? Will they ever be good enough for me? Will anything I ever do be good enough for me? [You may be getting the picture that I am a tad bit of an overthinker.]
This overthinking sometimes serves me well and other times...not so much. I am able to break down tasks like it's my job (it WAS my job at one point: teaching) and I can analyze data with the best of them. But when it comes to creativity, and well, people, it is often a heavy burden to bear. It's not a misnomer when I say that I'm a recovering perfectionist. I overanalyze and berate myself often. Let me tell you, it is not fun. I'm not saying this to throw a pity party for myself. Maybe some of you are like me and you understand my personality and well, me.
Anyway, the reason I am spilling all of this really does have a point. I've been working through a lot of things this summer: personal things and professional things. I read a lot and my friend turned me onto podcasts and over the past year. I've listened to a lot of podcasts. I find them motivating, inspiring, and admittedly, sometimes overwhelming [business podcasts anyone?]. I love Elizabeth Gilbert and Glennon Doyle Melton--if you are a woman, read their books and listen to their podcasts. They are amazing. They are real, inspiring women, who aren't afraid to share their true selves with the world. How many of us actually do that? Can you say courageous? Anyway, my reading and podcasts and friends and these lovely ladies [the Universe] have all been giving me subtle, or not so subtle, hints about where I need to be in my life.
I'm admit that I'm writing this down to sort it out for myself. If you're interested in my epiphanies, by all means continue reading.
Universe message number one: Be yourself.
As the saying goes, the people who mind don't matter and the people who matter don't mind. I don't know about you, but in this social media world it's difficult not to feel bad when a lot of people don't "like" your post or "like" your work. I was getting caught up in this way too much, and can I just say it makes you feel pretty dang bad? So. I stopped going on Facebook. This was drastic for me. I was definitely a junkie. Since my business classes promoted social media and what it can do for your photography business, I had an easy way to justify why I was on it often. Here's what I realized once I quit: FB is not good for me you guys. It makes me feel bad about myself and about other people. I am way too sensitive and take things way too personally. I do like to share my work, though. So, I'm stuck. Enter podcast. Glennon Doyle Melton said, "Your work is not your baby. You create it. You send it into the world. That's it. You do not need to babysit it. You do not need to think about the haters. You send it to the world. You go create something else." So that's it. I need to create my work, send it out, and be done with it. Life change number one. Thanks, Universe.
Universe message number two: Wake up early to do your work. You will continue to get better faster.
There's something that keeps popping in my Instagram feed about being productive by waking up early. I'm not sure why it does this since I've never followed their page [other than the fact that those creepy Instagram and Facebook people know everything about my life]. Let's be honest here. I loathe this idea. I am NOT a morning person. I am a night owl. My preferred time to clean my house and laundry is ten o'clock at night. I'm not joking. Ask anyone who has lived with me. But I've been struggling to find the time to learn and improve my work, and this is not something I'm interested in doing late at night when I'm out of gas. I’ve been thinking about how to continue improving while not disappointing myself (or others) by not caring for my family and their needs in the way that I want to. I tend to always prioritize my little during the day, and often feel guilty even about doing things that need to get done around the house or even sending an email instead of spending time with her. [Mom guilt anyone?] The weird thing is that the past few days I’ve been waking up early. And I can't go back to sleep, which never happens to me. And now I'm starting to think--I can do this. I can get up early. So here I am today. Doing the thing. Getting up when I wake up and getting to work.
Universe message number three: Grace. Give yourself some.
I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to be a creative person and how it’s difficult to put your work out there in front of people who may either like it or hate it or talk bad about you behind your back or make fun of you or...you get the picture. [Rewind to aforementioned social media absence.] The funny thing is no one can be harder on my work than me. I’ve only had my business Facebook page for two years and I’ve made a lot of improvements, but I’m still not where I want to be. Turthfully, I don't know if I'll EVER be where I want to be. Again, enter podcasts. Glennon Doyle Melton said in one of Elizabeth Gilbert's podcasts [me summarizing]: Who cares how many people like it? If ten people like it, those ten people love your work and love following you and supporting you. And that's something. It really got me to thinking how true that really is. Often when I post my work, it's liked by the same, small group of cheerleaders. Can I just say? I appreciate them. I am so grateful for their love and positivity in my life. I choose to be grateful for those people and that love. I choose not to focus on the other 690 people who follow my page who didn't choose to like or comment on a certain photo. As I'm writing this, I realize that what I'm choosing is happiness. I CHOOSE ME.
Universe message number four: Get back to what makes you happy.
All of those business courses I was taking? I'm so happy to have the knowledge and I'm definitely still utilizing some of what I learned. I'm just doing it my way. I got off course with my why--with what is important to me and what I want to accomplish. I'm getting back to what makes me feel good. I love blogging like this. I love photographing my daughter. I love sharing that photography with people who like to look at it.
Over the next few months you're going to notice a lot of changes with my website, with what I blog about and share. [Read: Less business, more ME.] And I hope you like it. Even if you don't, I'm okay with that.
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