It is no secret that I've been going through a rough time lately. Just want to say thank you to everyone who has reached out, offered advice, kind words, or even tough love. Things need to change, because the way I have been doing them I have been running myself into the ground.
I spend every waking minute of every day doing things for other people: be it my clients, models, peers, my family, my friends, even strangers sometimes. I honestly cannot remember when the last time was that I did something for myself. I tell myself that I don't have time, that the other stuff is more important, that mine can wait. I always put the needs of other people ahead of my own, and I put mine on the back burner until I can finish the other stuff.
Only I never finish the other stuff. It piles up faster than I can knock it down and it never ends. Never.
I don't do anything for myself. Nothing that makes me happy, makes me feel whole, none of the things that really make me who I am. I've lost my passion, which is probably the single most defining aspect of my character. I am the girl who is too passionate about everything, and that has been stripped away from me, and I am left just going through the motions. Photography isn’t fun, food has no taste, maintaining my relationships is a chore. Nothing feels right, nothing is as fun as it should be, it's all just another thing to do in my busy schedule. Nothing brings me enjoyment. I'm left feeling like I want to get out, run away, get away from it all--if only just for a moment. And then I realize I can't. And that trapped feeling is eating me alive day by day.
I've been ignoring it for months now, telling that little voice to shut up and just wait; and now it is a deafening roar in my head insistent on making itself heard. I am unable to concentrate or focus on anything else. It cannot be silenced. I can’t ignore it any longer. I am suddenly, extraordinarily unhappy. This isn't the way a life should be lived. Something must change.
It seems that the solution is simple: to take time for myself, to do things that make me happy, preferably things that don't add to my workload. Only the problem remains that I have 92594589203062 people beating down my door wanting something. And it makes me feel extraordinarily guilty for having any fun at all, so guilty sometimes that those things stop being fun. It’s not fair. I am a business owner, yes, but I am also a person. I deserve to be able to take time to myself. Even people with jobs have their weekends. I cannot be expected to serve my clients 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It is just not possible. Trust me, I have tried.
I love to dance. It was my single utmost passion in life. I was a dancer for almost 15 years and taught dance for 5-6, and stopped about a year and a half into my pursuit of photography when it really started to pick up, and I simply no longer had the time to dedicate to it. At first, although of course I missed it, there was no noticeable loss, one passion basically replaced the other. But they fulfill different needs. Dance you can feel in your body, it is physical. It gives me an outlet that photography never could. The same goes for my other passions which I have given up to follow my photography dreams: painting, reading, and writing. I decided at the end of last year that I wanted to start a blog and refocus on my passion for writing. That quickly dissipated as I started working my ass off to fund my upcoming move to LA. Again my photographic dreams squandered my ability to fuel another, separate but equal, passion.
I am a slave to my dreams. I tell myself to keep my head down and keep trucking, who cares if I’m miserable now, that one day it will all be worth it. But the truth is, that the end may not justify the means. Especially when the end is uncertain, not promised, and probably at least a decade away. I realize that if this continues, if I continue to sacrifice everything I have ever cared about to only focus on one dream, I will grow to resent photography, as passionate as I may be about it now. I refuse to let that happen.
I have decided to give myself a weekend of sorts. Two days off a week, like everyone else. One day will be for me. To paint. To dance. To go to a yoga class. To sit outside and read a book. To take my dog to the park. To go shopping or get my hair done or tan in my backyard. It doesn’t really matter what I do, but it will be something I do for myself, to relieve my stress, without the pressures of the world on my shoulders. I will not schedule shoots, answer emails, deal with client issues, or worry about social media (especially not in a work capacity). I might even turn off my phone. Thursday seems like the best day for this. It’s mid week; and most people will be busy. No one will bother me. It’s perfect.
The second day of my “weekend” is reserved to nurture my relationships. I will spend quality time with my family, my friends, and my boyfriend. At the beach. At a bar. Watching a movie. Having coffee dates or game nights or whatever it is we want to do. A Sunday Funday of sorts, occuring any day between friday and sunday depending on events happening at the time, so long as it happens at least once every week.
I will also be making time at least once a week to write in this blog. I haven’t figured out what day that will happen yet, but it will, because it is important to me.
On top of this, I will be limiting my testing for the time being, and I will not be taking on any more shoots for the remainder of the month of April. (Those that are already scheduled will be kept, of course.) I will be using this time to catch up on the workload that I already have. May is open for booking but I will only be taking on a limited number of shoots. I have too much on my plate and I simply cannot add any more on until I clear some space.
To my existing clients and models: please be patient with me. I am working through as fast as I can. I know that I have fallen severely behind. I am doing everything in my power to get you your images as soon as humanly possible. I appreciate your patience and understanding more than you will ever know.
Thank you for bearing with me as I regain my sanity and take back control of my life. It is my hope that we will all be better for it. Cheers to being happy again, soon. :)