I want to be real. Being real isn’t easy. I’ve been backstabbed a few times that left long-lasting wounds and the scars still appear; more visible some days than others. There are a few people in this world who I trust explicitly, otherwise, I like to keep my guard up.
Going out on a limb makes me feel vulnerable and I’d rather be a turtle inside my shell most days. I have a few photography heroes*. I follow them like they are the goddesses of photography even though I know they would never claim to know all there is to know. I learn so much from them. Honestly, so much. And one of my learning curves lately has been to be real.
I used to have my personal blog separate from my photography blog. I didn’t even link them because I didn’t think that clients should hear about my struggles with my Grandma’s health or my sunburn at the pool. Also, stupidly enough, I thought that my “professional” pictures should be the only ones that clients see because my “every-day” photos were rarely up to par with how I would shoot my clients. I wanted my clients to think that I’m perfect. Yeah right!
I was—and still struggle with being—insecure. (Now is about the time I’d like to go back into my shell and hide for a while, please.)
I was challenged to let my clients know who I am. This was a few months ago as I was, happenchance, redoing my photography site to portray a cleaner, fresher look. I loved my personal blog. It was called “the art of living” and I changed up the header seasonally with new designs while keeping my life mantra intact: “All the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on.” I liked having my personal space and was terrified to mix it with my business space. Clicking the sync tab to have wordpress sweep over my posts from blogger was, in a nutshell, a panic moment for me.
But then I realized why I love my photography heroes so much. It is because they are real. I love their photos—I think their photos are the Michelangelo of photos—but more importantly, I love when they blog about their personal lives. I honestly feel like I know them! Like they are my photography buddies. Like we could sit down for coffee and just go to town in conversation.
And I realized: why shouldn’t my clients feel that way about me? Why would they want to hire a stranger for their walk down the aisle? Why would they let a stranger hold their brand new baby? Why would they let their 3-year-old daughter go out of their sight with someone they don’t know?
So I merged. I brought my two lives together. For me, it’s been good. It’s made me feel vulnerable, uncomfortable, and a little bit at times like uh-oh-I’m-standing-in-front-of-a-crowd-in-just-my-panties-please-tell-me-this-is-a-nightmare! But it’s good. (As long as I’m wearing clean panties, that is.) I should always be out of my comfort zone. It’s the only way I will grow.
Here’s to growth. I have a lot more of it, but I have a lifetime to do it. Plus, I’ve got great heroes to look up to as I grow.