In the Seattle area there are literally hundreds of photographers. It can feel a bit competitive. And among them, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting a handful that feel more like kindred spirits than competitors. Yesterday, I had the pleasure of meeting another one.
Melanie of Rio Jean Photography met up with me at the Olympic Sculpture Park for a Head Shot Swap. We met online through a Seattle Photographers group and within minutes of meeting in person for the first time, we bonded quickly over photographing each other.
As I was photographing her, guiding her to different expressions, it was clear that not smiling is a challenge for her. And, her smile lights up the world around her.
Her sweet little girl came along for the fun, so I had to snap a quick shot of them together too.
It’s funny how nervous you can get once you step in front of the camera. Melanie is a warm, bubbly person who put my nerves at ease as she helped me pose for the camera.
I’m so thrilled with her work that I think these are my very favorite portraits of me! Please do take a peek at her side of the story and my new head shots at Rio Jean Photography.
I wish I could lie outside in the sunshine like a cat, and take a short nap. Instead, I will use just ten minutes of free time to share the reason why I can celebrate my broken heart.
Last year was one of the hardest ones I can remember for me emotionally and mentally. A friend of ours died, and his death was a blow to us because he was our age (28), a new Dad, a husband and enjoying an unconventional career choice from his previous experience in business. He was doing something he loved. This made my husband and I face some hard life questions: what are we doing? Do we both need life insurance? It was time to face the hard things.
Reeling from that emotional roller coaster, a few days later, a close relative’s addictions crashed into my life. I tried to be Super Woman and save him. Literally, I took him home and tried to help him rationally chose sobriety, relying on logic and no experience whatsoever. It turned my world upside down. We tried to maintain a happy home life, but it really made me feel just how broken my heart was, how broken I felt as a person. All those compliments I had heard growing up – “You’re wise for your years” or “You’re responsible, capable, self-reliant,” rang in my ears and taunted me with the fact that I could not save someone I loved. Last April that person went into rehab voluntarily. This month marks the anniversary of me recognizing and feeling my broken heart. They say you have to let go of someone if you really love them, but it was much harder to apply than to mentally understand. My heart was broken with this truth. I didn’t want to let go. But, I did with my actions. I stopped telling him what I thought he needed to do to succeed in sobriety.
I learned that it was okay to ask for help. It was okay to face my fear of admitting I needed it. I don’t have to be Super Woman. Besides, all the greatest Super Heros have side-kicks or the Justice League (each other) to rely on…so I started to discover who was in my Justice League. I started to really see myself. I found support outside of my loving family and friends. I started to really see my broken places as areas for exploration and growth, instead of wasted spaces.
So, while I learned to navigate this new chapter of my life, I found inspiration from a variety of places. Just yesterday, I read an inspiring post by Chris Guillibeau, Empire Building – One Year Later, the author of The Art of Non-Conformity. It is a book that our friend who died last year actually lived – he chose an unconventional career change to do what he loved. The book hit home, as a bright sunrise to the lessons learned from the painful year. Chris’ post is about his launching and experiencing success helping others find freedom to pursue their dreams in practical ways. So, while he asked folks,”What was happening in your life one year ago… and what are you excited about now?” I have an unconventional answer: I am finally appreciating the beauty of my broken heart. And, I’m working on sharing my passions.
This might seem like it has nothing to do with recipes or food. But, it’s where I am coming from as a real person, not Super Woman. My intentions with this blog is to help people, not lead them like a guru. Food and health happen to be an integral part of my life, some of my passions. And, I promise I’ll get back to recipes posting on Monday, but I just needed to share what is on my mind.