The Most Real Post I’ve Ever Published

My first post of 2011.

What should I write.

“The New Year is a time where we take stock of last year’s hurdles, and resolve to move forward” Delete, delete, delete

“2010 was a great year, and I look forward to 2011 having learned…” Delete, delete, delete

Here’s the truth.

2010 was not a good year for me.  I couldn’t wait for it to be over, I’ve never looked forward to a New Year more.

I can’t look back at 2010 without being thankful for everything I learned however.  I reread a few posts from last year, and what struck me most was that I know how I was feeling when I wrote many of those posts, and at times it didn’t match up to what I wrote.  When I wrote to let the happy in, I was struggling to find happiness. Many of the posts felt like pep talks to myself, as I was dealing with struggles, conflicts, and loss (I can’t find the right word).

Having said that, I do wholehearted feel everything I write, but through loss it’s hard to cling to the positive and LIVE it.  Last year I felt loss over many areas of my life…within important relationships and also through the news of my father’s cancer diagnosis.  When I say loss, I mean that I lost a way of life/an outlook that I felt comfortable in.  I have reinvented many areas of my life, but change occurred slowly and on my terms. Life never presented quite so many hurdles as 2010 did.

I don’t mean to be dramatic, but it was a year of high highs and low lows.  I often felt like I was pretending to be happy when in reality there were many points throughout the year where I was far from it. Now, I say “was” because I’m taking big steps towards inner peace and happiness.  I’m making changes and I’m going to stop ignoring those things in life that I need to deal with as they feel intimidating.

One of those areas is my photography.  There is much to do when you are talking photography as a business.  In the past I’ve viewed it as a hobby. I can’t do that anymore.  It has taken me years to call myself a Photographer.  I used to say “I take photos on the side”.  I had a hard time putting value on myself as a photographer, because I was forever comparing my skills to others who have spent years on their craft. I compared my worst to their best.  It strips away the fact that we all grow as we work. We don’t start off great…the greatest things in life are those you work hard at.  It doesn’t come easy, and it’s not supposed to. I need to put value on my time because time is precious…this much I’ve learned over the past year.

I have to also add that 2010 wasn’t all bad.  There was a lot of happiness too and friendships found which grew through acceptance within the year.  And, as a dear friend pointed out to me, there was much laughter which came through the tears.  She also shared with me this quote: “The hardest place I’ve ever stood is the strongest place I’ll ever stand”.

I can’t wear a mask anymore, meaning I am focussed on just being who I am and learning to accept the good with the bad. Positivity doesn’t always come naturally to me, but I need to focus on the positive.  I need to feel pride. There will always be negative in everyone’s life…I know that.  But, last year I admitted to very few that I was struggling and that on many days I lived with a forced smile.  Why did I think I couldn’t be real with those that love me most?  When I finally did share some of my struggles with friends I felt close to, they also shared their struggles with me.  I don’t believe one should share everything with all, but we all have special people in our lives that we can share life’s challenges with.

I’m going to do something completely out of my nature (insert panic attack here).  A few days ago, I published this post. It wasn’t a good day for me, I was dealing with a lot at the time. After I published the post, I accidentally clicked the “photo booth” icon on my Mac (it’s an application that takes your photo from the inner camera on the screen).  Without meaning to, I clicked the red button that takes your photo while I was attempting to close out of the application, and this is what I captured.

It shocked me that I looked so sad but I decided not to delete it as it truly captured how I was feeling at that exact moment…it wasn’t pretty, but it was real.

The whole reason I gained 90 plus pounds over the course of a few years is because I didn’t allow myself to feel that, I used food as comfort.  Now that I no longer use food in that way, I’m forced to feel it, have myself a little pity party and then move on.  I often turn to exercise to get me through the tough times, as there is no better way to deal with pain in a positive way. There is always good that comes out of the bad, but I can’t pretend that life is great all the time, because it’s not.  I will always have choices however, and to get through a year that carried with it a lot of sadness and come out of it with a lot of positive and the desire to live with a zest for life is something that fills me with gratitude.

Make no mistake about it, I will always look for the silver lining. I just need to allow those I love to see my weakness and struggles because that’s how you build authentic relationships.  You let the real in.  There is such freedom when you let go of the control over how other’s may or may not perceive you.  As another dear friend wrote on her status the other day “(she’s) going into this New Year being true to herself. You cannot move forward or build sustainable, worthy relationships of value if you start off on false pretences. She may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but at least you’ll know what kind of tea you’re getting.” Wonderfully put my friend, and you absolutely are my cup of tea.

Life is good to its core, but you have to fight to move forward sometimes.  You have to make choices towards the bigger picture of living a life of pride and happiness.  That is what this new year means to me, so I welcome it with open arms.

From my heart to yours,