Before I get into my experience at Blink, in AZ, let me go back a little bit further. I have spent the last year depressed, disappointed, exhausted, and struggling, and I mean struggling. Ever feel like despite your best efforts you are just grasping at straws? It’s the story of my life. Not to have a pity party, but to explain the extent of my grasping, I have had a 1-year-old who’s first year involved non-stop antibiotics, 3 surgeries, and rare bouts of sleep. Our new home’s basement (my studio) was flooded by our neighbors pipes and is currently still being worked on, and it’s no surprise with all of that craziness, that my marriage was greatly struggling. The stress of all of that as well as trying to run a business and work full-time has left no time to even have a relationship. I had truly hit my rock bottom- I was ready to give up on something, I just didn’t know what it would be yet because in everything I did, I just wasn’t enough for anyone. What a horrible feeling to be never enough in any of the many, many roles we lead: mother, photographer, wife, teacher, etc… to never feel like you are enough.
I knew going to Blink that my experience would be beneficial, but wasn’t sure I was going to get what I needed from it. Sometimes we really don’t know what we need, thank goodness fate has a way of stepping in sometimes. I hoped to build a portfolio that would help draw my target client in and learn to grow my business. Ultimately that’s just not what I needed. What I truly need is to be HAPPY. Having lost both of my parents by the age of 19, I constantly try to remind myself how short life is, but despite that I just wasn’t. After the party on Thursday night, I received a letter from a parent of one of my student’s (I teach full-time as well). I had never had anyone tell me the things this parent did- she bashed me to my core, and ended it with saying that I should consider if I should continue to remain in my profession- all over teaching a required book in our curriculum and nothing further. She sent this on to my school board, superintendent, etc…I was devastated. I sat in my hotel room and sobbed and sobbed. Just another person I allowed to let me feel not enough. I truly questioned whether something I love so much (the kids and teaching) should continue to be in my life. My photography and teaching are done for the same purpose- to change lives, which is why this women’s words cut me so deeply.
I took the most away that weekend from Amy and Jordan’s breakout on Friday. After the horrible night of feeling like I truly just couldn’t go on…I listened to 2 amazing people that had also been teachers, say, “You can do this.” To hear two people that had struggled through this job and how hard it can be while trying to juggle a photography biz telling me it’s possible and here are all the things you need to get right first in your life, but its possible, was a game changer. I wish I could go on into every insight I took away from them, but ultimately their breakout gave me a way to fix all the wrong and make it right. I shed a tear or two as I listened to them and felt like someone actually understood where I am at in this very moment. I am so appreciative to them.
They spoke one more time before we left about community. What a wonderful presentation about the power of LOVE, GIVING, and KINDNESS. You get back what you put out. I admit- my attitude about this industry wasn’t positive coming into this conference. At a local level, I had been referring out constantly to other photographers consistently since I choose to specialize. I hadn’t received so much as a thank you and in other situations those people burned bridges with others close to me. I looked at my current industry as a popularity game in high school, cliquey and competitive, and I never chose to play that game to begin with. Their talk was full of more aha moments for me as I was reminded to stop seeing the world around me in a negative light, and as much as I wish I could change the world, I can’t do it all at once. It starts with one person at a time, and in order to quit feeling so depressed and defeated I need to build lasting relationships with others that are supportive. Just because it isn’t always reciprocated, doesn’t mean it wasn’t worth the effort.
I am so appreciative to everyone I learned from (and I learned A LOT)- but for me, I was put at the conference to get what I didn’t know I needed from these two amazing people. I am so excited to be able to sit here and say that I am putting into practice everything they said and to be HAPPY doing it.
Since this blog post was all about this experience and how Amy and Jordan were my highlight reel in a Blink experience full of highlights….here’s a couples image (you all know I just don’t shoot couples lol) in their honor!
recently on the journal
Kalu Ndukwe Kalu
The things you do for yourself are gone when you are gone, but the things you do for others remain as your legacy.
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