My story is not worthy of a movie script or a book. It is simple and uncomplicated. But within my story there is determination, mistakes, and hope. Photography is a little piece of that story, but it intertwines with every facet; pulling me in directions I never dreamed would lead me here.
My dad died suddenly in 2008. He was my best friend and so much of the person I am today came from his guidance and character. His death hit me harder than I thought possible and the following years were tough for me. As we grasped at every memory we could, I realized how few pictures we had of him. Fewer yet with even one of us (my mom, sister, or myself) in the picture with him. And of that handful of shots, just one small set were professional – from a department store in 1997 when I was 16.
No one can predict the struggles you will face in life. Or what someone else is carrying with them. The few years after we started our family in 2011 were a struggle and, were quite honestly, miserable for me. I had gone into that phase of life a shell of the person I had been years before and our first baby was what many call a ‘difficult’ baby. Without meaning to, I retreated into my sleep-deprived misery, not knowing how to help myself. While I was bouncing our baby night after night, I learned everything I could about photography so I could give my child those photos that I so badly wished I’d had all those years ago.
Through that fog of new-parent exhaustion I could see how different I was from the person I used to be, but between work and small kiddos, a better me seemed too far out of reach. Our house was a permanent disaster, I forgot simple things despite the 18 phone reminders I would set, and my self-imposed work load was crushing. I was drowning. My anxiety was through the roof and I still didn’t know how to help myself. Our lives carried along for five years that way. Full of happy moments, but feeling overwhelmed and frustrated in between.
One morning last spring, everything changed. My youngest was three then, and she fell madly in love with all things beautiful and what we once called “girly”. She asked me if we could make earrings that didn’t pinch like her clip-ons did. So we tried a few things, made some crazy magnetic designs, and before I knew it, a little jewelry business was born.
This surge of creativity changed something in me, and today I am sure it saved my life. My husband and I started changing the way we spent our time together as a family, and from there it spilled into my photography. My style started to change and grow; this emotion started to show through my work and my love for shooting came back. I decided a new business name would be the perfect way to mark this amazing shift in my art and in our lives. That cute bumble bee up there reminds me that we can do the hard things. The Vine reminds me to grow and seek the light when I feel surrounded by the dark.
Ten years ago when my childhood hero died and my world started to spin, I could not have dreamed about the images I would create today, or the happy little family my husband and I would make.
I took a month away from work after Christmas for the first time since our family began, and we are happier now than ever before over here. Right now I am editing pictures while the kids help dad make hot chocolate and I feel at peace for the first time in years. In that month off, I realized at some point last Autumn, I had slowly made my way out of the fog. I now wake up each day patient and happy to a family that reflects that same change back to me. Awake in a way I didn’t even realize that I missed. I am scheduling less, enjoying more, and have beautiful things planned for 2018.
If you have read this far, and have questions about anything in there at all, please ask! It’s hard to sum up ten years of backstory into one post, but I wanted to share a little bit about how I came to this place in my story.