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without anxiety or worry.

This is EXACTLY how I felt at this EXACT moment of the shoot.

I live my life pretty much carefree. I wasn’t always like that. Nobody knows this about me (oh there is soooo much you don’t know about me), but in my 20’s I had to take depression medication and be put on anxiety pills. I woke up in the middle of the night and thought I was having a heart attack. I went to my doctor to find out what was wrong and explained my situation. He put me on medication and after about a year he finally  put me in check and told me that I am stronger than that. MY DOCTOR!!! He said I was living a robotic life. No wonder I was so depressed. So he made me do something out of my daily routine. Even if it was taking the trash out. Do it at a different time, take a walk, find something I enjoy doing with my free time etc. So I did (enter photography here and maybe this is when I bought my puppy- RIP.). And it worked!!! Since then It’s been amazing!!! I no longer laid in bed wondering what I forgot to put on my grocery list, or if I turned the oven off, or what I am going to wear tomorrow or or or… I just live my life and shut the nagging voice out. My boyfriend wonders how I do this. He worries about everything and I see how it has changed him drastically. His hair is 90% gray and he looks older and wiser beyond his years (even though he is 2 years younger than me). He doesn’t know how to have fun. His savings account has to be at a certain amount before we can do anything exciting. Im glad one of us is the responsible one. And Im not saying being a penny pincher is not the way to live, Im just saying I live my life a little differently now. I spend my money and have a grand time doing so!!! I travel the world every chance I get on my last dollar and purchase that outfit that is screaming “take me home”. Worrying eats up at you. It runs you down to the bone. It takes away any positive enforcement that you have in your life and sucks it right out of you. I understand I still have to be responsible. I have my priorities and I make sure those are taken care of first and foremost. But that is where I let it end. after that. I just live my life. One thing I do need to work on though is worrying about what others think of me. This is something I don’t know how to let go of. A friend of mine updated his Facebook status recently saying that it amazes him that people post pictures of themselves on fb. He said they probably don’t get enough compliments or love at home and need to search elsewhere for it. He said we are looking for someone to “validate” our beauty. Oh I’ve got a lot to say about that. But I don’t like confrontation. He didn’t mention my name but I felt like he was talking to me since I started this project. I have gotten more likes than I have ever gotten even on my own photography work. I’m not doing this project to validate anything. I’m doing this project to help women relate to the feelings that I feel and our self worth. Because its so easy to forget how important we are. We just go about our day helping others and forgetting to pamper ourselves. I almost stopped this project because of ONE OPINION. And a male opinion at that. I didn’t want you guys to think of me as vain. Or conceited… because Lord knows Im not. And then I got an email from my bride saying how inspiring my posts have been. How she too struggles with inner issues. And how she can relate to what I am putting out there. And how I am helping her get through her problems. And I thought to myself. Screw the negative opinions. I just helped ONE person. and not just ONE. Since I have started this project my inbox has been going crazy. Most of us women just chose to not speak about it and here I am being vulnerable in front of 5000 of my friends on fb and all of their friends who can see my posts. If Im being honest here there are many things I dislike about myself. Most of them are on the inside but its the outside that I pick at everyday when I look at myself in the mirror. My boobs are too big, my ass is too wobbly, my legs are completely out of shape, I hate my stretch marks, my eyes are too little, my nose is too big, I hate my love handles. etc. On and on I can go. But I will stop there. No need to turn this into a negative post. MY BODY DOES NOT DEFINE ME!!!!!!!!!! and for just ONE moment. ONE MOMENT I was able to forget about all those things and live a very carefree way for this session. I sent all my insecurities out the door and I just enjoyed being me. With all my flaws. Feeling comfortable in my own skin. I almost cancelled this shoot many times over, the closer it got to the date. My plane ticket was already purchased and retainer had been paid. But I didn’t lose the weight I thought I would (shocker). I didn’t feel pretty. I wasn’t confident enough in myself to pull this off. Oh sounds so familiar. Everything my clients tell me when we get on the phone and talk about their session. 90% of the reason why women don’t book their shoot with me. And here I was. Doing exactly what they do. And I scolded myself and said… suck it up woman!!!! You are doing this!!!! And so off I went… into the unknown chattering waters (literally). The shit my photographer made me feel was so empowering and moving I cried looking at myself during the viewing. Yup. I cried. Because is that what people actually see in me? Am I that remarkable woman staring at me in the face right now??!!! Holy shit. That is me. How come I don’t see that? How come it took me coming out of my comfort zone to feel this way?! its invigorating!!! and so fucking liberating (sorry mom). And no matter how many times my boyfriend or my daughter or my son or my mom tell me how beautiful I am. I have to believe it myself. I have to love myself enough to actually believe it. And I need to SEE it with my own eyes. And I finally have thanks to my lovely friend Denise Birdsong. So here’s to not caring what others think of me. You definitely don’t have to follow me on this self love journey of mine. And I won’t be mad at you. We all have our own opinions! I definitely respect that. But this is MY BLOG and I’m gonna get vulnerable here and post anything that I feel like. I would love for you to join me, if not, I completely understand. Do you worry about what others think of you?! Or am I the only one? Talk to me. I’m listening. 

Photographer: Modern Love Photography

Hair and Makeup: Ashyln Taylor

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The quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate.

I’m positive I learned this from my mother. If you have ever met her- you know exactly what I mean. Since I was little I have grown to see how my mother treated people. With such a kindness it warmed your heart. I don’t think I have ever heard her say a bad thing about anybody!! Not even about a person who hurt her deeply. She is always graceful about anything negative that comes her way. I am truly blessed to have picked this up from her. And I’m so thankful that I have been able to pass this down to my children. You know the saying, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all”? Well I live by that motto. I do not like confrontation and I will remove myself immediately from any conversation that heads down that path. Kindness comes for free. Why don’t we do it more often? It baffles me how people don’t know how to be kind enough. Treat others the way you want to be treated. It’s pretty simple. Really it is. Here is a quote I really love::
“To be rich in admiration and free from envy, to rejoice greatly in the good of others, to love with such generosity of heart that your love is still a dear possession in absence or unkindness – these are the gifts which money cannot buy. ” —Robert Louis Stevenson

Photographer: Modern Love Photography

Hair and Makeup: Ashlyn Taylor

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Letting Go

I’m living proof to say… you can do whatever your heart desires. Almost 4 years ago I was laid off a job I worked my ass off for, for 10 years!! TEN YEARS! Living someone else’s dream. Living, eating and breathing that company. Loyal as can be. Managing a department that was awarded time and time again for “Best Department of the Month”, Rockstars of the Month, etc… Never taking vacation, never calling in sick. Yet, I was still let go. Welcome to Corporate America. Where you can easily be replaced (and they won’t ever let you forget that). I felt defeated. Lost. Uncertain. Broken. Depressed. Confused. Pissed off. Hatred. Enter every single cuss word here you can imagine. I lost my house, cashed out my 401k and stock, paid off my 2 cars, all of my debt and walked into a new life with not a single penny to my name. Everything I worked so hard for – gone- in the blink of an eye. I could have let it break me. But I chose not to. I turned down other job offers that came my way. Once people found out I was laid off they tried to hire me on, for the same income. Same position. Yet I turned them down. I wanted to prove to myself that I could take my photography business to the next level. And I knew with a full time corporate job, there would be no possible way for me to do so. So I said.. F IT!!! Im gonna do ME! And I did. Almost 5 years later and I am still surviving. I am living MY dream. I make my own schedule. I take vacations. I give myself days off. I call in sick when I need to. I go to the movies in the middle of the day with my loved ones, because I can. I travel the world shooting what I love and I am more rich now than I ever have been in my entire life. Rich with new friends, new adventures, new outlooks in life. There is nowhere in the world I should be, other than right here. right now. And all I did was LET GO. This image reminds me of that feeling. Letting go of all my insecurities, whatever they might be. Letting go of my fears because I have MANY. Just releasing myself and surrendering. Getting everything off of my shoulders that has been weighing it down all year long. Facing my fears. and not letting them get the best of me. Taking risks. Ohhhhh taking risks. Failing, yet getting back up and trying again. Time and time and time again. So if you have something you are holding on to that you feel is holding you back from doing what you love… LET IT GO. And move into a brighter future. Comment here or privately. I’d love to hear from you. xoxoxo

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