Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Losing Myself and The Last Two (and a half) Years

It's crazy to think that it was just under three years ago that I was nearing the end of my 365 days. When I first started shooting properly, when I fell in love with creating pictures, I was 17. I look back on those days, and I wasn't just in love with photography - I was in love with the world. I think I was the happiest I've ever been - totally naive and very aware of it, enjoying the sunshine, the snow, the rain, the wind. It was a period of self-discovery where I felt like I was in control of creating myself - and very simply, I was going to be AWESOME.

20/365 - You know it's summer when builders get their tops off and hairy chests out!

Things got a bit messy a long the way - life kicked in. I lost my identity during a relationship which was bad for me, and became someone I disliked. It took me a long long time to become okay with my dreams crumbling for the first time. I had to take a deep breath and let it go, and even that breath took months of preparation.


Finding my feet again, with just myself to find them, seemed impossible at first - but within months of being home, being young and having nothing to do but smile, I was pretty sorted. I was in another great place in my head, as happy as before - just slightly less naive and very wary that that could be quite dangerous.

Spines to rest your spine

Stress really kicked in when I moved into my first flat in 2011 - all of a sudden, I had responsibilities! I'd only had a few months practice of earning money, a few awesome things had happened and I figured "hey - I can bank on this happening every month, I'll be fiiiine" not quite realizing the ginormity of the mountain I had taken on.

Blindsided On An Idle Tuesday
Being a newly turned 20 year old and renting quite a plush flat in the city centre, purely from your own money from your own business is quite a cool achievement. I got a bit of a rush from that. But I found myself constantly plauged by financial worries, with the stresses of a 30 year old on my head. I didn't plan ahead, got myself right down to an empty bank account every month, and had quite a few little breakdowns. I was so focused on client work that I had no choice but to completely ignore my personal work - only squeezing in flickr uploads max once a month, and generally feeling confused about my style, my passion and questioning whether I'd made a stupid choice trying to be this awesome person with this awesome life.
Shit Happens

The more I started to get into personal shooting again, and the more active I became online, the more negativity cropped up - criticism of myself, my life, my morals and my past were all common occurrences of my web inbox. It was a lot to handle, so I decided to withdraw myself. I tweeted once a day, blogged occasionally about client work, and tried to keep myself to myself. Inside my head I became very much "on the fence" in terror of upsetting someone, being someone worthy of hating and questioning. Instead, I threw myself into what made me happy - my boyfriend, earning money and shooting weddings.

the superhero in me is tired

Towards the end of last year, I managed to build up a small sum of savings to ease the financial stress. I spent less on personal things, more on business. I thank god I don't have to buy anymore kit! But as I was finally getting the business balance right, though I'd lost so much passion for what I was doing. I'd become a muted version of my 17year old self, too tired to let go and enjoy myself because I was consumed by being a grown up.
drizzle, not a hurricane

This took it's toll on my relationship, my expectations were sky high and I was needy and the majority of my happiness got loaded onto my poor boyfriend. Things came to a head a few months ago, we took a month apart to decide whether we were right for each other and whether we could give each other what we needed.
The Journey Home

In that month apart, I completed what I will call Phase 1 of "Aha! There you are!". I was forced into doing my work, enjoying it. I rediscovered old friends and made new ones who are irreplaceable to me. I took pride in being independent again, I enjoyed it! 

Phase 2 was learning how to balance the relationship with this new independence once the month was up, and make sure I was doing it all for the right reasons - not to avoid being on my own, but because it made me happier.

Phase 3 seems to have made me come full circle to 17year old me. I've let go of all my bitterness - people are just people, I am just me. I still want to be AWESOME. But in order to do that, I have to let go of the struggle and let it embrace me on it's own, as hippy-ish as that sounds. 

I'm enjoying my client work - making it my personal work. I'm starting to do personal shoots once a week, just for my mind to empty out the bad thoughts like I used to. My relationship is flourishing because I no longer have unrealistic expectations for it to provide all my happiness needs - and I feel like I'm back, and ready to swing into action and begin an amazing career, a life to be proud of, to eventually be a mother somewhere near as good as my mother, and to truly truly love someone and to radiate that love every single day.

oh, it was all yellow

 My therapist said to me: "Why is it so important to you that you do so well in life? That you score 10/10 on every life box?"

Well, I still don't know that. But all I know is that instead of sitting by my computer, listening to music which makes me imagine things and moments that don't exist yet, dreaming of all the amazing memories I am going to have - I am going to get out there and make them happen. It is just me in this world, I will always be on my own inside my mind. But I will share it, and share it with as many people who want to know - if it puts a smile on their face or helps them realize something they forgot, then I've done something good. Something AWESOME.