Hey kiddo, you're not going to believe this...
This is your 37-year-old self giving you the scoop on some things you wish you knew earlier. For readers [unlikely], this is me talking to myself like a crazy person.
Let's start with high school. You are not fat. Knock it off. This happens when you're 30-something. Your back and boobs are gonna hurt like your sister Beth's do so enjoy not wearing a doggone bra while you're young. Good grief.
While you're in high school, you stumble upon a class where you'll discover film photography and a dark room. You are right to be fascinated by it. You use dad's old camera to take some portraits and detail shots, and your uncle Mikey gives you his dusty old Minolta. For goodness' sake, don't put the camera down. You're great behind a lens and don't know it yet.
Mark Denman said, "When your heart jumps every time your camera locks focus, you've become a photographer."
High school is tough. You get bullied, and it's bad. Please know that it gets better. College will easily be the most formidable and sweet time of your life where you'll make the lifelong friends that see you at your worst, love you unconditionally, and encourage you to do photography.
While living in the cockroach-infested and ancient college dorm, let Michelle and Amelia dye your hair in the bathtub as many times as they want. You'll soon discover the value of Tostitos layered with melted cheese on paper plates after long nights at the bar with Michelle, Kate, Anne, Amelia, and Katie. That delicacy is the bee's knees. And the best hangover cure is greasy food. We like Quiznos subs.
Ironically you go on to swap recipes with these women your entire life.
Being in a sorority in college seems like torture your first year, but it sets you up for some incredible conversational skills you'll use forever and the ability to quickly connect with and relate to people. And you *somewhat* learn how to be a lady here. Try to stay out of trouble and keep your grades up so you don't almost get kicked out of the sorority for it twice. I'm really proud of you for not smoking cigarettes. Listen to Caroline and go to church with her. You can't party AND go to church the next morning, ding dong. It doesn't work that way.
As an escape from the torturous first year in the sorority, you bravely go wakeboarding with some dude friends and take their photos for fun. Where did you even get a camera? No idea. They will encourage you to do wake photography and you'll even inspire your pro wakeboarder crush, Jeff, to later be a photographer himself, and the editor of a wake magazine. [Pretty sure you can't take credit for that but try to anyway.] Spoiler alert: You end up marrying one of the weirdest, most hilarious guys that go on the regular boat outings. EDIT: After posting this, you learn that many college girls that frequented the lake those years had the same crush on this guy. THIS. IS. INTERNET. GOLD. Just waiting for him to read this.
You get a lab named Lola who lives to be 15. You later get a Bernese Mountain derp named Sunday that you're obsessed with.
You got everyone in your social media realm heavily invested in naming your puppy but went rogue and named her Sunday. Never lose that spark of spontaneity. Gotta keep 'em guessing.
Get this. At 25, you MOVE TO ASIA WITH YOUR HUSBAND to be a MINISTRY MISSIONARY. Say whaaaaaat?! Yes, it's true. Why? You discovered that you can have a very personal, sweet and candid relationship with the Lord and your heart will be on fire for Him. You'll want others to hear the good news and hear about this concept called "religion," and there are many to choose from. Being in Asia feels spiritually dark, but you'll draw closer to God. You'll get over the nauseating smell of stinky tofu + unregulated amounts of fuel emissions + poor plumbing ventilation. Enjoy the cultural differences. Explore. Become more independent. You get into a head-on collision on your scooter with a 3-wheeled Chinese taxi. Put the stupid helmet on even though you had just showered and you're trying to dry your hair in that stinky air. Don't eat the bananas in Thailand because you're going to get the worst food poisoning of your life. Likely a parasite. Powdered electrolytes become a Godsend.
More craziness: You have fertility trouble, foster 3 baby boys, and will learn that your marriage wasn't meant to be. You'll experience deep depression that God ordained for a reason. You'll soon become a mentor to young girls and advocate for mental health to be discussed more openly in our society.
Jump ahead to being in your 30's. YOU GET TO BE AN AUNT!
Girl. We are a huge Taylor Swift fan. And Coldplay. And the Eagles and QUEEN because dad raised us right. We are obsessed with live music and get goosebumps when we're really feelin' it, just like dad.
You've had an inadvertent career at a bank. NOPE, it has nothing to do with your journalism degree from Auburn or photography or any photojournalism training you had. You haven't picked up a camera in ages. But alas! You'll get brave and start a photography LLC on a whim in 2022 and start meeting the. coolest. people. You get to experience that adrenaline rush again at fun photo shoots and the privilege of giving people beautiful images that capture moods, stories of laughter, love and adventure.
Now, here we are naively writing a [previously dreaded] first blog post knowing no one will read it, but it feels good to get some self reflection down on paper about your photography journey. Huzzah!
Keep on keepin' on. You'll meet some amazing people through photography that become friends and have some fun. Keep doing wedding, portrait, engagement, and family photography.
What your images will document illustrate moments of raw, moving emotion that couldn't otherwise be put into words. Lean in. Your dreams of owning a home/photography studio combo can happen. Keep dreaming of adopting a kiddo. Keep dreaming of owning a camera shop and collecting tons of old cameras.
For Pete's sake, don't put the camera down again.
[Please ignore the quality of the below photos I pulled from facebook and the gram.]