Welcome, May! May this month please bring more kindness, warmth, love, happiness and all of the good vibes the universe can afford after such a rough start to the Spring season. If you follow me regularly, then you already know April held the saddest experience I’ve ever encountered in saying goodbye to my beloved Chihuahua pup, Lily Ann. (Yes, she had a middle name, because my roots are southern, haha!) What you don’t know is that this experience has made me think more about the things I find important and the value I want to share with people, whether we work together or not.
I’m sharing a piece of my heart, because I have realized that my good vibes persona doesn’t really help anyone in the ways I would like—myself included—if I’m not also honest about the hard times and what it takes to keep putting one foot in front of the other when your whole world feels like it’s been turned upside-down. Don’t get me wrong, I really am generally a happy-go-lucky person with a positive outlook overall and I do love to spread it. However, I would be lying if I said I haven’t cried in a ball on the floor or spent days in bed when I was down. (Or consumed my weight in pizza, oreo’s, and wine, as a temporary way to deal with life.)
Earlier in April, my Aunt, who is one of my best friends and confidants, told me the universe dangles carrots for us to keep going and she was absolutely right. For every crappy thing I have dealt with over the last several months, I was literally given a carrot in some form or another. From booking more weddings and photo sessions with awesome people to having other people show up for me in so many ways when I needed love and support outside of myself; I have received a lot of carrots from the universe to make up for the physical, mental, and emotional strain I experienced.
Saying goodbye to my Lily pup was especially hard, because she was with me through my entire adult life during the good times and bad—including cuddling with me regularly while I navigated a heartbreaking divorce…that was recently finalized. Yes, you read that right. I said the “D” word you’re really not supposed to mention as a wedding photographer. And here’s a real truth: if it weren’t for my former husband who told me to “buy a camera and give it a shot” I’m not 100% sure Crystal Lily Photography would even exist. (Also, for the record: while going through the big D was hard on both of us, we ended on good terms, as friends, and we still have a lot of love and respect for each other. He even randomly reminded me this week to sell some stock in my ROTH account before I lost money on it! Sweet, right?!)
Until now, most people had no idea what was going on in the depths of my personal life over the last year, because I wasn’t ready to share it and I worked hard to make sure it didn’t negatively affect the way I interacted with my clients or other vendors. I made a promise when I started photographing people; which is to give the best experiences I can possibly give to those who are willing to put their time and trust in me. That promise wasn’t just for other people either, it was for me too, because I knew I would be doing a disservice to us all if I didn’t work to try and bring the best of me.
In spite of everything I’ve dealt with personally, what has kept me moving forward (aside from having incredible people in my life) is the honest belief in myself and what I know I can give to other people; be it memories in photographs; hugs, laughter, and friendship; inspiration where it’s needed; or someone to lean on when they need it in return. The losses I’ve experienced have been really difficult, but they have also reminded me of why I chose to follow my heart by taking the leaps I took to begin with.
Life is too short not to give ourselves a chance to live the way we want to live and make the most of our experiences. I want to be able to relate with other human beings and create connections that go beyond photos. I want to share and feel love, happiness, laughter, excitement, and tears of joy. I want to remind people that the feelings of pain, grief, and loss are temporary spaces between the many reasons we take photos so we can show everyone all of the good parts of our lives.
When your world is turned upside-down, pay more attention to the things that are worth putting one foot in front of the other for; and don’t feel bad about leaning on other people to remind you of all the reasons you have to be thankful. My heart is still very broken, but I know the pieces still have so much value and that’s what keeps me from giving up on the promises I’ve made to myself and all of the people I get to make memories with.
I’m still bringing and sending out good vibes for life by finding light in all of the hard stuff; and I’m sending extra special thank you’s into the universe for everyone who’s been on this journey with me in some way and for everyone who joins in the future! xoxo
(P.s. – If you’re going through a rough patch, I promise it gets better. If you feel like you don’t have anyone to talk to, I would challenge you by saying that’s not true, because someone in your life would listen to you no matter what; and you can always reach out to me. Sometimes it’s easier to talk to people who aren’t fixtures in your everyday life and I’m always happy to chat and help in any way I can. xoxo)