This morning I am supposed to be finishing up a presentation for my networking group. A group of people that I have known for over a year now. They aren't my closest friends, but a wonderful group of people that I know pretty well. And they all know me. They are kind and open, and I have presented my photography to them in the past several times. I realize I am terrified to present my new project to them. The one that I am so excited to be creating.
I wonder why I feel compelled to write down what happened today. Then I think about the girls. And the one amazing little boy. I think about the details that maybe they will never know. Unless we grown ups remember and share. So I thought if I could write down a few moments from today they won’t be forgotten. I hope that will be the case.
When I looked back at my goals for 2015 I saw that I wrote down that I wanted to be brave. When I saw that I stopped in my tracks. I truly had no idea what that was going to mean for me. But man was that my word for this year. I have had to be brave in all the ways.
Sometimes you look back on a year and wonder at the sheer magnitude of it all. How did I make it through all that sh**?! 2015 was one of those years. But at the end of it all while sitting here writing and looking back...I discovered something. That I am so damn hard on myself. Sound familiar? I am always finding ways to say I wasn't "enough". When looking back I am pretty proud of how I handled the things that happened this year.
I also know I am damn lucky and looking back at the last year was a great reminder of that too. I hope everyone takes the time too look back and makes a list of the things they did right, not just things they need to do better. Especially all of you that are so hard on yourself. Like me. My friend sent me this great blog post today. It really helps put things in perspective. Thank you to Brianna Wiest for the great article :
I went to visit my mom in February. I saw her for the first time in 15 years and my daughter got to meet her too. Thank god I had my dear friend Misty with me. Oh the stories.
Just after I got home I found out that the woman who has guided me for the last 19 years, well, her chemo treatment had stopped working. It was the beginning of saying goodbye. She stayed happy and full of love and life up until the moment she left us. I am so grateful for her unselfish, Buddhist like, silly, sweet ways. They kept us all laughing through it all. I will never cease to be amazed at her grace, humor, and willingness to say goodbye peacefully.
In the late spring I met up with a mentor for my photography. I had wanted and asked her for help. Her new business turned out to be serendipitous to what I needed. I ended up hiring her to completely move my focus. She and her team helped me and pushed me to define my path more clearly. My new website and brand launch came the same week that my god mother slipped into the last days of her life. It all felt so crazy. How could I launch at the same time as watching her leave? And yet, I knew she was so proud of me and it is what she would want. A beginning and an end all at the same time. Oddly, the way life seems to work. I knew I had to continue moving forward.
I pushed my creative boundaries and loved the results. I saw that I am clearly supposed to be working with women more. It's tough to narrow your focus, but also just makes sense. I will not stop working with families, but will focus my marketing more on women and girls. I walked away from every session knowing how I want to do more and different and more and different. (:
I made a video of me working! Well, the 16 hoops team made it for me. But I got brave and did it. It really shows what my 'Dream Sessions' are about. Here is a link in case you missed it.
My daughter started second grade and we played a lot. I was there for her as much as possible. I was there for friends and I asked for help more this year. I relied on people. This feels big and brave too. It's so hard to ask for help and accept it. Because it's one way to admit that we aren't perfect and that we can't go it alone. Scary stuff, no?
That is the nutshell version of what has happened over the last year. I have spent so much time with a heavy heart. And yet, still somehow trying to focus on the work that I love and that drives me.
My new word / phrase for 2016 that I wrote down was to 'Be Seen'. I have no clue what that will mean, but I am excited to start another chapter in my life. I know that I carry the spirit of Catherine with me wherever I go. And, I have a the most lovely loyal friends and family. I have been really blessed (though I don't love that work I am at a loss for another that means the same) by my wonderful clients. They have trusted me to create something meaningful and powerful for them. To capture their essence, to tell their story, to help them see who they are. I am beyond grateful for them.
For those of you out there I have yet to work with, well, I can't wait to meet you. You have your story. And I want to hear it.
Now off for a run before I pop the cork on some champagne! Cheers!!
In dreams- Jen