Earlier this morning, as I was sitting at my kitchen table (today's workspace) I was thinking through the past few weeks, and decided to just write it all out. It's yet to be seen whether I'll press post on this blog or not, but I know getting it all out will feel good.
SXSW was probably one of the most professionally successful periods of time in my life. I hosted a SXSW Meet Up for photographers. I got to work with Modcloth on some Instagram takeovers, which came with an incredibly exciting phone call with the team at Modcloth where I got to tell them that I've been wearing dresses from their site since I was in 9th grade and could use the internet for shopping. I moderated a panel with some incredible women from Packed Party, Kendra Scott, The Refinery and Zapwater. I got to shoot photos for a collaboration between Alamo Drafthouse and Mean Girls for some new Mondo Tees merch. I got to meet so many amazing people. I bumped into one of my sheros, Jaclyn R. Johnson from Create & Cultivate every single day for a week basically. I got to hang out with my best friends on the planet at Willie Nelson's ranch for Luck Reunion for the second year in the row, and even got to watch Willie from the front porch of the VIP section squished in tight with my people. The whole ten days was amazing. It was all really really incredible, despite having a horrible sinus infection for 7/10 of them.
And then in the days after SXSW Austin was terrorized by a bomber. There are no words to describe the absolute dread we all felt in this city. Bombs went off and were found within a few miles of my house. They were distributed in packages, so it felt like it could happen to anyone at any time. Everyone felt like leaving their houses made them even more at risk. It was honestly terrible. I didn't sleep for three nights in a row.
Between coming down off of the incredible high of SXSW (something that would give me anxiety to work through alone) and having about 4 days where we were actually in fear for our lives, I was a mess.
I'm feeling better now, but I've been in a little bit of a weird headspace since and I think part of the reason is I haven't felt comfortable talking about it all online for some reason. As with everything anxiety related, I'm not afraid to speak up and say "It's me. I have anxiety." Anxiety is not something I asked for, nor something I can will away. It's a hitchhiker that I picked up, who looked like a nice person who was just out of gas, but who actually plays Smash Mouth's 'All Star' on repeat for hours and leaves Cheeto dust in my floorboard for me to clean up.
Lately I've been really worried about how I am perceived as a professional. Is writing about anxiety something that would deter people from booking me? Is having a photography career, a monthly networking event, a blog, and an Instagram account that's mildly successful confusing to people? Does anyone know what I actually do? Should I take social media collaborations that pay money when they're from brands I love? Should I push myself to try and write here? Is that even helpful? Does anyone know what I actually do? This week alone four different people asked me what I did to make money. Why did they not know I was a photographer? Am I doing this all wrong?
These are the questions that have been running through my mind. These are the things that make me feel like I'm not doing enough and doing too much simultaneously.
But this morning I was thinking about all of this and I realize I'm really complicating things in my mind. The only person trying to limit me is... me.
I realized that all of my favorite people do multiple things. It's a rarity to find someone who does just one thing. So what I do a few things.
I love them all.
And there is no RIGHT way to be a business. The women I look up to all know that.
I love getting to make people feel capable, beautiful, talented, and encouraged by photographing them.
I love every message I get from Instagram telling me that I inspired someone to wear something she didn't think she could.
I love hosting events where people can meet friends or find work.
I love getting to spill my brain here and I love everyone who says yes, I agree. Yes, me too.
So to the little voice in my head that has been second guessing me for the past few months, you've done your job and now you can sit down.
You've caused me to have to reaffirm that I love what I get to do out of necessity. Though it is complex, to me it all fits. It may look like a puzzle to some, but to me it is completely assembled and it just makes sense.
So that's where my head has been at.
Later this week you'll get small goals.
But today you get this mess of words and thoughts and this cute photo that Shalyn Nelson took of me.