I’m not who you think I am. As a matter of fact, I am at a pivotal time in my life where I’m trying to figure out exactly who that person is. When once I had it all figured out, I find myself in an identity crisis, asking myself what exactly defines me now that I am no longer a wife? A photographer? Even that crutch, which once offered me security and self worth, has become a quicky evolving field to which, at times, I find myself wondering if I even have anything in common with my 20 year old brides anymore? Am I still relevant? If I don’t book 40 weddings per year, and make a crazy amount of cash, does that make my self stock plummet?
Sometimes, when you’re on a quest to figure out who you are, you find yourself, through the process of discovering who you are NOT that in actuality you may be closer to self discovery than you may think.
Do things that scare you, they say. Outside of your comfort zone. Well, I did that. I moved to Toronto at a young age by myself. I left a marriage I wasn’t satisfied with, with not a clue how I was going to move forward. I quit my day job to start my own company. All of those things lasted a decade, each. Toronto. Entrepreneurship. Marriage. But alas, do we have to continue to do things that scare us, when at the age of 40, we know ourselves better than we ever have? Must we lie to ourselves in order to live an “epic” life that others will respectfully nod to?
When I flew to Bali with not a clue of the 30 + hours of travel nor the culture shock, and an introvert spending 10 days, sunrise to sunset with a group of strangers, talking about our feelings, I literally cried the first day I got there. I couldn’t have felt further from home. When I look back on the trip, I am proud of myself for surviving and blending in. By the end, I just wanted the comfort of home. Of quiet. Of familiar. I’ve never been one to travel alone…in actual fact I’ve never done it and oddly enough, the person who wants to spend so much time in solitude, has no desire to hop on trains, planes and automobiles and navigate the world solo.
When presented with an opportunity to shoot in Europe, my first instinct was how fabulous that would look on my portfolio. When reality set in and sheer panic of how I would really feel in a foreign country alone sunk in, I knew what my decision was. I must be crazy right? Not the bad ass boss babe I’ve made myself out to be, who by the way, shits her pants (not literally), in fear before every single wedding. Still.
I was asked to speak several times at a local college to a bunch of photography students. Next to travelling alone, I think public speaking has got to be one of my worst nightmares. I must do it, I thought to myself. I must give back. It’s easier to hide than seek. But then I asked myself, why? Why must I do something that causes me so much stress? Haven’t we spent our entire lives doing things we are told we have to do? Isn’t there a point of freedom where we, as self aware and independent adults can do what feels right in our gut and soul? Even if it means, losing our "edge"? There is freedom in living an authentically honest life. Trust me on this. It's like a weight that is lifted when you stop adorning a mask. A facade. And own who you are. All of it.
It’s an interesting time, this time after divorce and in a new relationship. In transition of business and pleasure and the distinction of what actually serves me and what most certainly, does not. I’m still not sure of where I’m going or what this next chapter brings, but there is comfort in admitting that I am not the same person I once was, I will never be the person I sometimes want to be and that I need to be okay with exactly where I am. Even if that conclusion has me less cool than the version of myself I’ve presented up to now. Choosing Disney with the kids as opposed to amazing Barcelona is a choice I never ever thought I would even consider, never mind think twice about. But alas, I guess that’s part of the process. Living an authentic life and choosing what you KNOW will satisfy your soul…as opposed to the persona you’ve put out to the world. Even if it means wearing less than cool mouse ears while doing it. I hope you still love me, just the way I am.