I’m constantly striving for authenticity in my life, business, and photography. But today I’m really going out on a limb, and telling you things I probably shouldn’t. It’s unprofessional. It’s mushy. There are no snappy tips or practical advice. But I hope you feel connection in knowing another human feels these things like you have, and that you’ll glean some kernel of wisdom for your own soulful life.
1. For the past seven days, I’ve been an emotional disaster. This morning, I woke up crying and telling my husband that I’m a failure.
Yeah, see. You didn’t want to know that, did you? Did you come here for pretty photos and some generic sentence about how great my life is, about how perfect I am at making dinner and photographing everything and cleaning my gigantic house? It’s not real. In the middle of our cravings for Pinterest-ready perfection, we know it can’t possibly be real. It isn’t real. This is the double-edged part of photography: we can use it either to contrive ‘perfection’ or to celebrate the authentic beauty of imperfection. I, crazily enough, think it’s possible to do both. (Weren’t expecting that, were you?! You were expecting it to be all hippie-let-it-all-hang-out love up in here. Bhah! Let me explain.) You should look better than you’ve ever looked in professional photos. But it should be thanks to the photographer’s artistic genius, her ability to see beauty in you, and your own willingness to be vulnerable and present in the sometimes (okay, pretty much all the times) terrifying experience of being photographed. It’s through that process that we make both stunningly beautiful I-can’t-believe-that’s-me! photos and stunningly beautiful that’s-so-me photos. We human beings are very multifaceted. Photographs have the power to capture all of who we are.
2. I haven’t shaved my legs in weeks.
Even though I wrote to you party animals on The Soul Train about self-care, I’ve been neglecting it myself in a lot of ways. Some days I’d rather keep that extra warm layer than be socially presentable, I guess. And maybe shaving my legs is more a chore than a way to take care of myself, but: self-care isn’t always pleasant or desirable in the moment. Think eating fresh, raw food instead of the 13 cookies your mouth is watering for.
3. I’m going for instant gratification.
I’m reading Danielle LaPorte’s The Firestarter Sessions (so.good.read.it.now.) and she’s got me convinced: Why on earth would we delay gratification on purpose? Now I’m really getting out there. Didn’t I just tell you not to eat those 13 cookies? Here’s the thing. We train ourselves to believe there’s no substitute for hard work, no pain no gain, nothing good comes easily. And lots of times, that’s true. But sometimes it’s not. Sometimes, the easy thing–the thing that’s falling into our laps, the thing that seems to flow naturally–is the best.
So I’m finding ways to say ‘yes’ to myself more often.
Yes, you can start a new pretty journal even if your old one isn’t finished. (Okay, I’m a nerd. Love it or leave it alone.) Yes, you can tweak that recipe even though it might be awful. Yes, you can shower twice in a day if you want to. I’m realizing how many harmless desires I can fulfill–and how many times I am inclined to shut myself down for a hundred unwritten reasons. It’s a practice in nurturing and validating yourself instead of believing that stifling your desires, thoughts, and impulses is the noble, right, and practical thing to do.
4. I am more unsure about the future than I ever have been. Like, in my whole life.
I still know everything will be okay. Or, at least, that’s what I tell myself a hundred times a day. 🙂 But with Baby Girl on her way and a husband in graduate school I wonder how far my free-spirited artistic brain can carry me in a world where cars break down, things cost money, and my mailbox is full of logistics to take care of. I can’t hide behind school anymore. I can’t pretend I have a snazzy foolproof five-year plan. I’m flying by the seat of my pants here, peeps, and the rubber is meeting the road–it’s starting to matter big time. I’m about to be in charge of another human. ………………………. Hey. Thanks for listening. Really. Will you join me out on this crazy limb and give a ‘one thing I probably shouldn’t tell you…’ in the comments? ……………………….. Brooke Schultz is a Provo-based Utah wedding and lifestyle photographer who is passionate about keepin’ it real and taking authentically beautiful photos of soulful people. She finds nerdy pleasure in pretty new journals, inky pens, and musty bookstores. She’s really into glitter and yoga and digging her toes into the mud. She’d also love to photograph your beautiful self–the juicy details of which can be found here.