Hello, who’s this again?

Dear Michelle,

Hey…it’s your confidence here. Checking in to see how you’re doing. I know you have a lot on your mind lately so I want to lay it all out there. Shouting from the roof tops that, YOU’VE GOT THIS, doesn’t seem to be good enough for you. And I get it. But, you’ve definitely got this. So let’s break it down.

First, look at all the things you’ve overcome in your life! You clearly didn’t have it easy (but who did) and pretty much had to learn everything for yourself, so learning this will be a breeze! If you can remember how to be courageous while using those creative talents, would you? Of course!

Next, you love doing things on your own, you love making connections with people, you never met a stranger and clearly you have a knack for photography. You love to make art and this is your chance to show the world your God given talents! How amazing is that? To finally breath deeply knowing and seeing your talents for what they are. Beautiful works of art that people want to buy to spark joy!

Remember that time in church when you were struggling with your life purpose (again) and felt misplaced with the little monkeys around your neck? But then for whatever reason the angels watched over long enough for you to hear the priest mention pausing to look through someone else’s lens to see your own talents? Pretty sure he was talking DIRECTLY to you! If that’s not a sign, I got nothing for ya. You’re all about signs so there it is!

Also, I want to remind you that you DO stand out from the crowd and will continue to shine. Don’t doubt yourself for one single solitary moment.

You will always be my first round draft pick through and through because I know you have the talent and skills necessary to make it as a photographer. You have to trust me. I got your back, always.

What if people compare you to other established photographers who clearly has traveled the world to take really exotic pictures. Who cares? What people think about you is everyone else’s problem but YOUR OWN. Tune out all the buzzing and listen to your heart. What you should care about is loving yourself and believing in yourself. Be gentle with yourself too. Would you be that hard on your friends? Never.

Ok this is a big one – for the love of all things holy, please stop minimizing yourself and your dreams. You’ve got to take yourself seriously about what you do to gain respect. Remember to stand tall with me and rock out who you are and your style and all that makes you lovable. That leader in class who’s always picked to be the spokesperson for the group work, yeah you. That person is still inside you, waiting for the moment to stand up in front of the crowd and fall into place naturally like she always does.

This isn’t some side hustle trying to make it. This is your livelihood. It’s who you’ve always been. You will conquer every fear for this adventure called work when you GET OUT OF YOUR OWN WAY and see the powerful woman linking arms with me right now.

You will succeed. And you know what, if you fail, at least you can’t look back and say you didn’t try.

What I want you to do is think about those people that truly care about you and who have your best interest at heart. They will support you and be your biggest cheerleaders. Let them help you. Don’t be too proud to think that you can do it all on your own, because while I know you can, you always say yourself, ‘Heavy hands make light work.’

So, we’re here! We all showed up for you. Here to make the load a little lighter for you. We know you too well. You know you can do it on your own, but that sigh of relief you just exhaled makes me realize that you need me now more than ever. Next time you get in a situation where you’re unsure about things and your footing feels a little off, remember what I just said…

Oh and encourage others to get someone to write to them too. It’s does wonders for you, I can already tell! Love, Your Confidence

Let’s Do Lunch

I think we all have something going on in our lives as women. Whether it’s pregnancy, pregnancy loss, chronic illness, (physical OR mental), motherhood, dog motherhood, struggles with relationships, struggles with work, struggles with not working, struggles with finding a healthy work/life balance, finances, weight, spirituality or whatever else might be going on causing you strife, there’s a lot at the underbelly of our being. We have a mental load the size of a Mac truck. Guys simply don’t. I’ve asked hubs on numerous occasions, ‘Whatcha thinking about’ and we stare blankly at each other across the table. ‘Nuffin,’ he replies. Of course not! Of course you’re mind is able to get through the muck of daily grind easier than a kid can spot and make a b-line for a lonesome mini M&M on the floor from across the room.

If we don’t find the help, support, resources and people in our lives that we can trust, we will definitely feel less than. We will easily fall into the spaghetti brain inner workings of thought that will lead us down a path of self-questioning, doubt and insecurity, for NO REASON other than we didn’t have some trustworthy person that gets us to tell us, “I hear you.”

I suffer from the syndrome of stay in your own lane, do the same thing each day/week/month, eat the same foods, and keep the same routine and life will eventually get better. WRONG. What happens? You keep thinking about the same worries, the to-do list never changes, and the burden of what you’re doing gets overwhelming to a point that you aren’t even the same person anymore. You are some busy bee, droning with the hundreds of others (in their own hives) that fall in line with the rest of the colony, in their own homes and then forgets there is life outside the four walls of your house. And the only way we see what we remotely think is normal is from….you guessed it, social media! WRONG! Life is NOT what it appears on social media, can we all say out loud together, AMEN?! Ahhhh…..doesn’t that fascinating realization feel better! You clearly already knew that but how many times since reading it did you just thumb through IG. You don’t need to lie to me, I’m not going to judge you for one iota because I’m right there beside you. Actually I’m standing next to my sink with mostly done dishes, and it’s almost 8 pm which means my husband is helping put the kids to bed but I’m too busy tidying that I can’t stand the thought of hearing ‘Mom’ for the next 5 minutes. So I zone out. And don’t think I’m doing anything other than admiring every in the happy little bubble of other people’s lives that I’m not even doing a good job of making sure the bubble hive I’m living in is happy. I just realized my youngest is anchored now to my leg in a hot pursuit for dibs on night time routine with me.

A friend in the area who I see periodically has reached out to me several times about getting together and we honestly had opposite schedules for what seemed like a year. I swear she must have thought I was avoiding it but life gets busy and false promises fall through the cracks just like the lost Cheerios and snacks under my children’s car seat. Once they are gone, they are gone! Well she came over for lunch today. What? Like actual live conversation, stay for an hour and then go about our lives without making a big production about it. It was glorious. I was actually convinced that she would bail last minute because (I’m projecting here) the introverted half of me bails all of the time. It’s a huge weakness of mine that I’d rather be a hermit than socialize and follow through with a social commitment. I am an extroverted introvert. But, we hugged like sweet old friends and dove right into the depths of really what’s making us tick right now, ticked off right now and what we are struggling with. I didn’t try to impress her with some elaborate lunch, but I made her what I was eating. And we sat, and actually had lunch together. There wasn’t much fluff, stuffy catch up. It was real, it was raw, it was healthy. We are so different, yet have so much in common. And it was an hour. Let’s face it, we are women, and we have things to do! I learned in that small time together that we could both really help one another reach our goals!

I also realized how special that made me feel for her to want to spend her precious time with me and that fire will keep me going for the rest of the week, if not more! I don’t want to hear or see the person and wish them well on social media anymore. I want to know how you really are. It feels so important as women to cut through the fluff (save it for your kids peanut butter sandwich) and let’s get to the point of how we can help each other as women step out into the world a little lighter, feel a little brighter and know that we are there for each other. I’m going to try my darnedest to schedule more lunch dates with special people to keep me going. It’s hard with littles, its hard in general even without kids. But connection is often divine intervention for something you need in your life, whether you realize it now or later.

So my challenge for you. Schedule a time during the next week, to invite someone into your home and allow them to invite you (it’s not an imposition I promise) for ONE hour. Have coffee, snacks, drinks, whatever, and just listen to each other. Don’t feel pressured to impress. It may found totally weird, awkward, whatever. Just be yourself. If you go out, just tell them where you want to go, and when you can go! Often times being that indecisive person inside who goes with flow doesn’t really make you happy in the end (am I right?) and it’s probably why you bailed before you got there. Your real friends will rise to the surface one by one over time once you start doing what is best and most pleasing for you and what aligns with your priorities.

Did I mention I still had my gym clothes on (and yes I did barely make it there so who knows what stink meter I was giving off). But anyone who loves you for the real you could care less about what you look like and what stains you have on your floor. Life gets a whole lot richer, fuller, brighter, hopeful, or whatever it is your looking for when we open up and connect with other women by being ourselves.

If you’d like to get together for lunch with me, I’d be honored! Reach out to me and I’d love to have you over to connect!

What Does it Take?

What does it take to be a photographer and artist? An entrepreneur? To be self-employed? All of these questions I ask myself daily. The opportunity has me on speed-dial, more than a robo-call.

Granted I wrote this post three years ago and am finally hitting the publish button, yet I realize I still feel the same way. My goal of one day working for myself and living the American dream is coming to fruition. Artists and photographers are a dime a dozen, sure. I hear my Dad saying in my head – suggesting – that this expensive hobby will never be lucrative. But you know what? My confidence and every other person that supports this decision is standing behind me saying, if not now, then when?

I am sure it is a rough road to get there but I was born and raised to be on my own, independent and strong.

I stumbled across a quote that I probably recite daily, “Build your own dreams, or someone else will hire you to build theirs.” When I read it initially a light bulb went off. I asked myself, what am I REALLY doing? I keep saying that I want to be a photographer. I want to be an artist. But what is stopping me? Am I TRULY good enough? Do I have enough technical skills? How am I going to put myself out there? What tools do I have that differentiate me?

I know what I’m REALLY good at – capturing the essence of a moment, art, event organization, details, connections, and ultimately working hard to figure it out and just getting the job done. When I originally wrote this, my world had been turned upside down with the most wonderful gift – my sweet daughters, two years apart. Yep, there’s two under three! They have allowed me to live life in organized chaos. My drawers are filled with who knows what, my husband constantly asks where I put things, my mind is constantly thinking three steps ahead and visioning my built business but I can’t remember how to say the word, ‘closet.’ Plus, being diagnosed with a chronic illness throws a real wrench in my plans, but determination and grit will prevail.

While I realize that may they ALL might be throwing me off balance (in the best and worst way). I think being off-balance is like driving a car when it’s out of alignment. It’ll still work – but keeps pulling you out of your lane. It shakes, makes noises, and needless to say, isn’t the smoothest ride. Who wants to be pulled in a different direction than where you’re supposed to be headed? But you know what? You either fix it, or you learn to live with it. And after three years, I’m taking the wheel (along with Jesus).

I’m trying to juggle it all, launching my artistic endeavor, learning the ropes of new profession, trying to keep my hands out of the cookie jar all day, cooking, cleaning and then oh yeah, trying to be a wife which clearly has become the lowest priority on the totem pole.

I know what I want – freedom, flexibility and to use my talents. I know what I DON’T want – to be just another artist/photographer/marketer, or even worse, a failure. In a competitive world, I am slowly navigating myself on this journey to develop my ‘niche.’  Oh wait, confidence is calling, I’ll get back to you later…