A journey can be difficult to navigate especially when you don't have a map and are challenged with directions.
This time last year, I was at a cross road.
Should I stay or should I go? All the flower petals had finally reached the ground and I knew what I had to do.
Have you reached that intersection too?
I was working as a leasing agent at an apartment community and knew in my heart that this was just for a season. It was a stable job I had found after moving back home and I knew I needed stability after my life took a major detour. Even though the season seemed more like autumn and I was about to fall, Spring was getting ready to bloom. Several things sparked my decision and I took a brave leap of faith and turned in my 30 day notice. I had no clue what I was going to do but knew I had to jump. So I posted my resume to Indeed.com and started to search for a new career.
I had several job offers but nothing solid, so I kept searching. A few days later, I had a conversation with a friend, as I explained my situation and loss of direction, he said "Why don't you continue with photography, that is what you know and you are good at it?"
The past few years flashed through my mind and back to the place of where I started before I laid the first brick to build my wall.
I started off in the fashion industry, where superficial ended up not being so super and at the time competition to be the prettiest was all the rage or at least that was my belief. As a child, I aspired to look like Barbie and the celebrity women in fashion magazines. After an awkward middle school stage (as most of us go through) I started to compare my self to others, and I was sooooo competitive, I wanted to be the prettiest because in my head if you were the prettiest, you for some reason were the best. False!
Throughout school, I compared myself to other girls, burned my skin at tanning salons and wasted lots of money on products. I flew to New York my senior year after graduating early and met with some of the top agencies in the world. IMG, Ford, Elite, Wilhelmina to name a few. Majority ruled that I needed to go to LA and pursue an acting career . Funny because, I had worked so hard on my shell for so many years that Elle seemed to have died inside. When I got home from that trip, my goal to go to LA quickly detoured, it was a major detour. I got married, got pregnant, actually it was the other way around and my life was well not going in the direction that I had planned.
Fast forward to 22 and 3 kids later, My Mom purchased a point and click Sony Cybershot so I could capture my children. After my 3rd child was born, (My youngest 2 are 14 months apart) I became severally depressed and pressed into photography even more. It ended up becoming an escape for me. My life after baby number 3 became even more crazy than what it was. As all my friends were finishing college, I was at home rocking babies and changing dirty diapers, not exactly the dream life of a 22 year old who dreamed of being a rock star. My life was out of control, and I wanted nothing more to be in control, so I quickly learned I could do that at click of the shutter. A year later, I got serious and decided to invest in a NICE camera and purchased my first Nikon DSLR. As social media had started to make its way on the scene , I posted pictures of my kiddos, which was another catalyst , I was actually being competitive with my new mom friends who were posting awesome pics of there kids and I wanted to post better ones. From doing that I started to get inquiries from those mom friends and ended up charging pennies for my services as I was a newbie and insecure with my new found talent.
Fast forward again, within a few years, I built a small portrait and wedding business in my hometown of Athens, Georgia but quickly burned out. I convinced myself that I needed an escape from my escape. Ironically, my in-laws at the time, set me up with the perfect escape plan. They bought a used Ford Escape, as my husband and I planned to leave Athens and head South to coastal Georgia.
I became distant from my family in more ways then one, we headed as far as we could go and ended up on St. Simons Island, where we lived for 3 years. I will spare you the many details, in short the island became a place where I had to face myself. I came to the edge of the ocean and couldn't run anymore. It actually turned into a hurricane season and my escape plan had a major oil leak(seriously) and I had to buy a new car. Can you guess what the the dealership sold me? Well to fit the theme of my life, I purchased a brand new Honda Pilot, because I was trying to navigate my life on my own and had no direction what so ever, my eyes focused in on the backup camera of my past and my near sidedness was blinding me. In some ways, I thought I had escaped. I gained new clients, rebuilding my studio within a year and had a beautiful store front but after I built my studio my world quickly crashed . I got a divorce and my life fell apart. Thats what happens when you try to escape, things will slowly but surely come back to you.
As I reflect, I can't blame anyone or anything or any place for the path I detoured down.
I put my camera bag on the top shelf of my closet towards the end of 2016 (the year I moved back home) and decided I was done. My passion is writing music and I had burned myself from the scene of capturing life, so I gave up.
It's easy to focus on the wrong thing when the wrong thing is constantly in your face and that is exactly what I was doing. I was using the wrong lens to view who I was and what I was created to do.
I listened to my friend and went home and pulled my camera bag down from the top shelf and decided it was time to refocus. God has created each of us a certain way and given us certain gifts according to His purpose and I was trying to bury mine. As I dug deeper, into the reason for giving up, that competitive spirit still lingered over me, and held onto the the false belief that I wasn't good enough. I will never be good enough. And in a way I was right. We will never be better then who ever it is that we are trying to compare ourselves to because we are not them. We are uniquely one of a kind. Everyones journey is being told differently.
Why do we choose to direct our thoughts to those negative voices that tell us we can't? Why do we compare our lives to others?
Later that week, my friend who had encouraged me to restart my journey inspired me to come up with a new name and rebrand my business. Sometimes its as simple as a new coat of paint or a new hair cut that redefines you. Most importantly its in the words. Many of us have accepted lies for truth and we believe in false words. It all starts with replacing our thoughts with words that bring life instead of death.
A year ago this month, Visuelle Photography became my redefined business brand.
Additionally, you have to know and establish your "why" in order to believe in who you and why you do what you do. There is always going to be someone better or at least in other peoples perspectives, and as the world loves to label us, we should not define or label our identity by a career, a relationship or an organization.
My faith has given me peace of gaining my perspective back on life. My identity is in Jesus Christ- the Living Word of God- is the only constant. He is the beginning to every end because there is an end to every beginning. It is what we do in between that counts. Faith is dead when you don't move. So you have to keep going.
It has been heavy on my heart to share my story now I want to help you share yours.
Your story is worth telling because there is only one YOU who can do what YOU do.
Our vision at VP is a great one and we are so excited to share it with you.
The scope of our company is to empower people to reach their full potential. Changing the way people see themselves. Life is too short to be so serious and not to laugh. We want you to laugh out loud and we will make sure before you leave your session you're in stitches.
We all have dreams and goals in life and if you don't you should. Whether you are a solo-preneur or work for a corporate company, having the ability to individualize your self and create a space for your online presence is the best way to reach the clients and audience you aspire to broadcast to. If you don't put yourself out there how is anybody going to know how awesome you are?
We believe in YOU. You are the ingredient that makes the recipe beautiful because there is only one YOU..that is why we do what we do.
I am now the proud owner of a Nissan Juke, its my little Juke box that continues to remind me that life is a journey, we just have to keep driving and stay in tune with God and He will direct our path because, He knows the plans for our lives, plans to prosper us and not to harm us, plans to give us a hope and a future- Jeremiah 29:11.