I remember my nurse, Cassie (as it happens a Stage IV Colon Cancer survivor) telling me just after my diagnosis “This will be the worst year of your life, but when you make it through, you’ll be such a different person” I’m sad to say, she was right, but happy to say she was wrong as well. I have learned so much this year. I’ve changed so much. I’ve let go of so many things from the past and am working so hard to stop worrying about and living in the future. I’m practicing living in the present.
I’ve read from a whole new genre of books this year, learning more about and digging deeper into my own spirituality.
I’ve made new friends out of people from my past who have stepped up to guide me through this by sharing their own experiences. (THANK YOU SO MUCH Megan B., Suzie, Heather, Julie, Lindsay and Sarah!)
I’ve put aside my own humility and pride to let my community and best friends embrace us and help in any and every way they can (THANK YOU Mel, MA, Dette, Jameia and Tiffany!)
I’ve accepted that I have to let go of some things, even things I’ve worked so so hard for, in order to be more present with my family and heal my body and soul. Outside of my family, most didn’t know that for the past 3 years I had been back in school. I was studying for a graphic design degree and was only 3 semesters away from graduating when I made the very hard but very necessary decision to discontinue. My heart broke when I withdrew. I had spent so much time and so much stress working on that goal and poof! It was over in a few keystrokes.
It took a really long time and a lot of sadness and anxiety to make the biggest decision in my professional life. In a way, my heart breaks to announce that I’m retiring from photographing weddings. I have three “booked” for 2020 – one is a small engagement party and the other two are my sister-in-law and cousin’s weddings. I’ve loved shooting weddings. I’m good at it. I’ve practiced and studied and explored and experimented so much in this past decade + to be the best I could be at what I do but the fact of the matter is it’s not fair to a couple to book a wedding with them a year in advance, not knowing if the day of their wedding I’ll wake up feeling terrible and have to send a replacement. I’ve always prided myself on the promises I make to my clients , first and foremost the promise that if you book with me, you get me. Unless there was an emergency (and there never was in all the years I worked in the wedding industry) I would never send a replacement. I’m proud to say that I’ve been at every single wedding I’ve ever booked.
I’m not giving up photography, I’m just rerouting my goals, my services and how I approach my work. My professional future is to be focused in 3 areas: Professional Headshots, families, children and newborns and not-for-profit organizations. I’ve spent the past year really trying to narrow down what I love and these 3 areas are truly what I’m passionate about professionally.
I love working with children. I love getting down on the floor with them, establishing a trust and feeling the joy of witnessing their carefree, curious little lives. I love photographing them, I love discovering their personalities and bringing that trough in the photographs I take.
Not-for-profit work just makes me feel good. Helping an organization communicate their goals and purpose helps them in a way that few of their vendors can. David has established so many relationships with NFPs over the past 20 years, they know him. They love working with him on videos and I’m looking forward to helping them spread their message through still photography as well. I want their imagery to match their loving and selfless intentions.
Lastly professional headshots have been an area I’ve been working towards for the past few years. I love to capture images in a way that really let a personality show through in new and interesting ways. Over the past few years I’ve had the pleasure of learning about so many different professions and industries just by spending an afternoon photographing the people who work in those industries.
All those things have been new, exciting and positive areas of my life, even when they’ve been disappointing and sad. I’m evolving, I’ve changed for the better even as a battle rages inside me. That battle hasn’t been the most important thing about my year- it’s just been the thing that has forced so many things about me to change. This year I’ve been forced to take new chances. I’ve been guided to practice more freely giving away forgiveness, not only for the forgiven but for my self. I’ve established more meaningful relationships with those that I love. I’ve trusted myself more. I’ve said “yes” to more experiences. I’ve been practicing saying “no” to what I don’t want to do or don’t feel I should and not putting so much pressure on myself. All because I was suddenly thrown into the “worst” year of my life. True the treatments and needles and surgeries and colostomy and stress and worry have really, really sucked but I’ve gained so much more than I’ve lost.
I love you all, I’m so grateful to our support system and those who love us. Here’s a little video we produced so say “thank you” for all that you’ve done: