I packed up armfuls of dresses and skirts from the white wardrobe. Tulle and sequins spilled out of boxes and bags as I hauled them to the car and then up the stairs to the new studio.
And then I went back for another load, the tenth task of the day during three weeks of 15 hour work days. As I walked back down the hallway, a noise caught me off guard: the echo of my own footsteps in the old studio, the one we'd created out of two bedrooms in our 1600 square foot home. It was suddenly so empty, and that beautiful light from the extra tall window still glowed all around.
I didn't think "good riddance." I didn't scoff at these humble beginnings and feel relieved to finally have a Downtown studio space. Surprisingly, I started to cry. So I sat down. I thought about the women who'd had their hair and makeup done in that room. I remembered how thrilled I'd been about "all the space" when we bought our new house. I thought about the nervous souls that entered and how they seemed to float away when they left.
The emotions were wonderful and overwhelming. What a beautiful space for a beautiful time. I learned more about my clients, my craft, my passion, and myself during those two years than I can even express. I will always honor the time I ran a portrait studio from my home, because now I see how necessary this step was for myself and my business.
It's easy to get stuck in the past or the future. "Remember when..." or "Someday..." Both ideas are okay in moderation, but I think we do ourselves a huge disservice when we live in one or the other. I want to live in what is now, and honor what is now. I want to honor the few minutes it takes to brew a coffee the way I honor the few minutes it takes to exchange wedding vows, and honor the act of chopping red peppers for dinner the way I honor writing a birthday card to a close friend. It's mindfulness and it's gratefulness. It's so easy and so difficult.
I can be so afraid of making mistakes. And at my most insecure, I take this obsession a step further: being afraid not just of messing up, but of not outdoing my past self at every turn. Anyone else feel that way? Like they're not enough? That their mistakes are stubbed toes rather than valuable lessons? I'm trying to honor my mistakes. I sit in them. I explore the feelings around them, I listen to counsel, and I get up and try again. Exchanging shame for honor - now that is beautifully upsetting (in the best way).
And when it comes to mental health, rather than be annoyed when I cannot control my anxiety or depression or "off" days, I honor them. I no longer demonize my body and mind for being imperfect - I recognize and care for them. My sick days are just as important as my most productive days. My failures are just as beautiful as my successes.
Each day I try to ground myself on this truth: "If you did nothing today, and no one you loved talked to you, you made no money, you did no good deeds, and you simply stayed in bed, you would still be valuable and irreplaceable and worthy. You are one of God's children and you are already enough."
And now, I will honor this new adventure at 526 S Main in Downtown Joplin. I'll play and create and trip and make mistakes, but I'll honor every moment of it and every beautiful lesson I learn along the way.
I hope you'll honor your minutes and days and failures, too. You are not a nuisance. Every moment of your life means something, is worth something, and is building something. The highest of highs, lowest of lows, and, more often, the mundane everyday that somehow turns into years - it's all necessary.
Honoring each breath of your precious life in turn honors yourself. And you are absolutely worth that.
How do you dream of being photographed?
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