I threw the whole stack out the window as I buried my head into my hands and sobbed uncontrollably. I was so overwhelmed with emotion I could hardly function…
Looking back now, I feel horrible for my poor mom who handled the situation with so much grace. I was a senior in high school and senior pictures were EVERYTHING. I had showed up for my session with several outfits, I had done my hair, my make-up, all the things. While we were taking the pictures, I remember feeling uncomfortable, but I couldn’t have imagined what would happen when we came back to see the proofs…
I literally HATED every. single. one. of them. Have you ever seen a picture of yourself and been so shocked that it was YOU (NOT in a good way)? Well, that’s how I felt about every single image the photographer had taken. I’ve been insecure about my looks since I can remember. I’ll never forget a boy in 2nd grade making fun of my teeth, and the feeling of shame and sadness that quickly rose up inside me. I’m sure sadly, many of us have similar memories. Being completely comfortable and confident in my skin is something I’m still working on and one that has been debilitating at times. And it was in this moment of looking through my senior portraits that brought all of those insecurities to the surface.
My mom was so patient and kind as I worked through the pain of visually experiencing so many personal insecurities at one time. She talked with the photographer who charged her for another session (oh my gosh - thank you mom!!) and I ended up with one image I didn’t completely hate. I need to find a copy of it to show you because… my HAIR. You gotta see it to believe it.
ANYWAYS. Fast forward a few years and a somewhat better hair style... I had always had a passion for photography, especially after my first child was born, but what I realized more than anything - was that I loved creating POSITIVE experiences for my clients. It brought me so much joy to create an experience where they could feel relaxed, confident and beautiful - because I quickly discovered that however someone is FEELING while having their picture taken, is exactly how they will LOOK. Which totally explains why I looked so unhappy and insecure in my senior portraits.
Women in particular are SO HARD on themselves. The comments I hear when women are looking through their images make my heart hurt - probably because they’re familiar lines I speak them to myself.
My mission is to help the women I work with FEEL the way I see them, which is:
FULL OF LIGHT
That’s my WHY. That’s the fire inside that continues to push me forward in my work - because I believe in it’s importance and I believe that the BIGGER part of my job is the EXPERIENCE I create for my clients, not just finding the right angle and snapping the shutter.
Remember WHY you started this whole business thing in the first place? I’m guessing that WHY is the same thing that continues to drive you day after day to show UP and do the work.
Are you sharing THAT story with your audience? If not, they’re totally missing OUT and so are you friend. In fact, I’m so serious about this that I want you STOP whatever you’re doing, pause and reflect for a moment on your journey up to this point and the story behind your business. And before you try to tell me it’s not exciting or inspiring, read on.
Here’s an excerpt from the book that inspired me to share MY story today… IF YOU READ NOTHING ELSE, READ THIS:
“Can we resist the fear-based tendency to make our work abstract or overly complex and instead trust that our lived experiences, insights, and natural ideas are enough to bring to the table? Often THAT kind of authenticity and vulnerability is what is needed to move hearts and create change. Quite often, that is also what will cause us to be noticed, to be respected, and to receive the opportunities we desire.”
- Tara Mohr, Playing Big
As I’ve taken the time to ponder on my own story, I realized how motivating and deep rooted it is for me… so deep that I had almost forgotten. And what a shame that would have been.
TELL YOUR STORY.
And if you want help doing it in a beautifully visual way, I’d love to help you out.