Two inspirational blogs from other photographers hit my feed this morning, which in turn has inspired my blog today. The first was about how lonely it was to run your own business by Jasmine Star and the second about body weight and how we let it get in the way of existing in photos for others by Sue Bryce.
The first – oh how true. Second to parenting, running my own business is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. Infact I’m starting to see it as my fourth child – the one that gets the least attention. You need to be across EVERYTHING, from accounts, to legals, to marketing, to technology (hence my elation yesterday when I finally figured out how to update my bio!) and of course the actual taking of the photos and post-production itself. It’s beyond frustrating, especially if you are a mum, and have the added hurdle of having to negotiate this around kids. It’s about having professional conversations with clients whilst feeling anything but professional – with your your greasy hair reminding you that you are long overdue for a shower and your rumbling tummy reminding you that you still haven’t had breakfast – all because you’re trying to fit everything in the 1 & 1/2 hour golden window of “Nap time”. It’s about learning not to take things personally when your whole business rides on an art form that requires you to wear your heart on your sleeve. It’s about uncomfortable conversations with people, often family and friends, about having boundaries for my fourth child without sounding like an egotistical profiteer. And sometimes it’s about (contrary to this blog) the inability to share this with other people for fear of not being understood.
The second blog that got me today is body weight. This is at the forefront of my mind because in exactly 6 weeks, I’ll be jetting off to Sri Lanka with two girlfriends for a week. What scares me more than having to get into a bikini next to my two skinny friends, is to have to face my relatives (I’m banking on most of them not reading this far – lol) and not be utterly crushed with the inevitable remarks coming my way about my weight / skin or what ever other superficial physical feature this sometimes judgmental culture holds in high regard.
<<Now I really need some people to back me up here, so please write in the comments below if you agree so I don’t look like an isolated looney tune. >>
But unless you look like Aishwarya Rai, you’re never quite fair enough / skinny enough / “pretty” enough… (oh the list goes on) …to warrant being acknowledged for your achievements.
“oh wow, how is your business going?”,
“How many weddings did you do this year”,
“Well done on being able to juggling everything and wow, I love your photos”…
Yes that would be nice, that would lift me, that would re-affirm my worth and make me want to exist in their world. But the insecure side of me doesn’t hold hope…
And that’s where Sue Bryce’s second blog helped me this morning. Why don’t we learn how to turn our biggest weaknesses into our biggest strength? I’ve attached the video below and it’s totally worth the view if you have 10 minutes but in essence, here is what helped me:
Make the BEST of it. Whatever you have, whatever you are faced with, what ever you are going through Make the BEST of it. Anything you resist will persist. Until you learn from it. You will not change anything until you learn to accept it, then love it, then you will make the best of it. So if acceptance is about saying this is me now and you can both accept and embrace that, then maybe you can celebrate it. You can learn that self love is acceptance and kindness and forgiveness and grace.
When James from Turbo Productions did my bio video, I had to embrace a lot of this. Ideally, I would have done the video when I had lost more baby weight; when I had stopped breastfeeding so those stupid tufts of hair near my temples would grow back after drinking gallons more Marine Collagen; or on a day I wasn’t photographing his newborn baby in a hot studio that required me to wear unflattering but comfortable clothes, and made my make up run…. you catch my drift. Instead I MADE THE MOST OF IT as it was a wonderful opportunity to have my work captured in video to show clients. And I learned to accept it. And I learned to accept what I saw in the video.. and with a deep breath I hit the ‘Share’ button on my computer.
It’s me, I’m a mum. With everything I juggle – kids, own business, running the household, community volunteering – at my age and hormonal state, I just cannot look a glamorous size 10 anymore. And that’s OK. So when my 4 year old asks me if I have a baby in my tummy, that’s OK because I know part of it comes from utter curiosity. When my 6-year old asks if I would like to buy tights so my “fat legs” can look like “the beautiful legs” on the (Photoshopped) Razzamataz packaging, that’s OK because I know that comes from a place of caring for me. When my (overweight) relatives are bound to say “wow, you’ve put on weight, hey?”, that WILL BE OK because it’s coming from a place of “You’ve joined my club hey?”.
I will learn to turn my insecurities into my strengths. I will learn to embrace these insecurities. I will infact learn to celebrate these insecurities because ultimately they have allowed me to add such value to the lives of my clients, kids, family and friends.
So I ask you, when and how are you going to make the BEST of it rather than always wanting to change it? When are you going to EXIST as you are, true to you NOW, not the YET-TO-BE? When are you going to turn your biggest weakness into your biggest strength?
Let’s not be ashamed to fight this battle…and win it in style. It’s totally liberating. x