It has been my intention for quite some time to add a blog to this space so that I can share more about who I am, my photography journey, the “behind the scenes” of being a work-at-home-mom, and highlights from each session. Part of my struggle has been that I am an introvert and a very private person, and sharing pieces of myself on a blog feels… vulnerable.
Every time I think I’m ready to start, I begin to doubt myself: What if what I write is just not that interesting? What if no one reads what I write? What if no one really cares?
As I approach my 30th birthday, I’ve been reflecting on where I am in my life and my business and thinking about what I see for myself in this new decade of life.
A lot has changed in the last few years, starting with the decision not to renew my teaching contract and instead to pursue my dream of starting a photography business. Then, a year and a half later, I became a mom.
To be completely honest, I’ve struggled to find my identity as a new mom while also balancing a household, a marriage, and a business—all while not losing sight of who I am outside of all of that.
Back in March, I pushed myself outside my comfort zone and submitted an essay to a motherhood blog that had an open call for submissions. This was a big deal for me because not only was I making myself vulnerable by writing about a deeply personal experience, but I was also opening myself up to failure and disappointment if my essay was not accepted for publication. As a perfectionist, this was huge for me because the biggest way my perfectionism rears its ugly head is avoiding failure.
This week, I received an email notification that unfortunately, my essay did not fit what they’re looking for right now. Truthfully, it was a bummer. I knew that the likelihood of my piece being selected was probably narrow, but of course I was hopeful, especially considering how much of my heart and soul I had put into it! And it truly was a labor of love—I wrote and revised, and wrote and revised again, and wrestled with the right words, and then wrote some more until I felt that I had something that was just right. (See? There’s that perfectionism…) The rejection wasn’t personal, but when you put that much of yourself into something, it still feels a little personal to learn that it didn’t check all the right boxes.
After the initial disappointment, I reminded myself how important writing the essay had been. Years ago, I would journal to help myself process things. In a similar way, writing that essay helped me work through some struggles I have been having in my journey of motherhood. It also surprised me in that it revealed ways in which my struggle with perfectionism has affected the way I have perceived and measured my success as a mother. Through writing, I was able to give a name to struggles I have been wrestling with under the surface for months, and now that they’re out there, I have really started to be able to work through them.
Taking the plunge and clicking “submit” on that essay was also a good exercise in “failure” because—even though I will admit that I had moments while I was writing where I wanted to give up—putting such a deeply personal essay out there for potential rejection was really, really hard! But I DID IT, and in doing so I did not allow myself to give in to the fear of failure, and even though my piece was rejected, I survived.
And this brings me to this space. This blog. One of my fellow photographers posted this quote on Instagram recently: “Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good.” I found it shortly after I wrote that essay, and it hit me so perfectly that I wrote it on a sticky note and stuck it to the top of my computer monitor to remind me to keep going, even when I don’t feel like what I’m doing is “perfect.”
I know that for me, the hardest part is often getting started, so here I am, taking my first step into this new venture. I hope you’ll join me for the ride!