These are some different pictures, in a different area, with a different surrounding, and a different message. So join me, let’s be different together.
This week I took the most amazing road trip with some of my best friends. We had a wedding in Southern California and decided to rent a van (yes a van) and pile on in. Because I live in Southern Oregon, the drive to where we needed to be was QUITE the trip. I have taken that I-5 glory bound trip many times, but the extent of how long it is, isn’t fully understood until both of your legs are asleep and the only smell is that of “van”. Other than the same constant ache in the exact same area of my back the whole time, I actually don’t mind long trips in the car. I get to work on all of my projects, have uninterrupted time on social media, and be alone with my thoughts which is rare these days. Though getting that many people in a car together for an extended period of time seemed to be a recipe for disaster, everything went as smoothly as could be even during the “I haven’t eaten, had proper sleep, had coffee or food, I want to punch everyone” phases. Maybe it was just my phase, but we came out of the weekend punch free, so that’s a good.
Though everything really did go as seamless as it could be (other than nearly missing the ceremony of the wedding because of traffic…ha) I found myself thinking the same sentence in my head, “But that’s not what I want to do”. “I don’t want to get up that early” or, “I don’t want THAT to eat”. Even the occasional “I want to go shopping though…” etc etc. Of course I didn’t say many of these feelings out loud (I said many okay my friends reading this), I did begin to wonder when we could do the thing I wanted to do. Me, me, me. It’s so embarrassing typing this all out btw. The more these questions kept floating around in my head, the more it started to alter my mood in certain parts of the day. I really began to contemplate why things just never seemed to go my way. Woe is me. Right? I’m sure you are sitting there feeling SO bad for me. Well good, I’ve got you right where I want you.
I brought nearly 13 outfits to take photos in on this trip , and was really excited for the opportunity to get out of my small town and discover new places to photograph. I knew we wouldn’t have much time to do a whole book of photos for me, but I knew I could get a short story of them, if you will. As the time drug on and the day got later, I knew getting one photo shoot was going to be all the time we had. This aspect was actually totally fine with me, because forced and rushed pictures NEVER turn out how I want them. Relaxed beach photos were just the ticket to what I needed and it gave me the chance to walk off some of the thoughts I had been building up. Don’t get me wrong guys, I was having the time of my life! I am just so cautious about never letting precious time slip between the cracks on trips, and knew if I didn’t make a purposeful intention in getting photos, it just wouldn’t happen. Which brings me to the learning portion of this narrative.
After I did a quick change in the van and began to walk to the beach with Arturo, we had a moment where we broke a part from our group and had some time to ourselves. If you need to know anything in your life, is how much of an anomaly Arturo is. Though I could go on and on about his attributes with you all, the one thing anyone would say about him is his selflessness. It’s actually on another level. I have never seen him put his needs before others, or even complain about something not go his way. Hence the whole, taking photos for me for 2 years, without a dime in his pocket to show for it thing. Even though I could make this whole blog post about him because it would be so easy, I’m going to direct it toward the words he said instead.
As we were walking, I turned to him and asked, “How do you stay so calm all the time, and never get upset when things don’t go your way?” Without hesitation (literally) he looked at me and said, “Because I put other people’s needs before my own.“. As simple as that. No sugar coating necessary. It was so simple to him. Was it simple to me? I don’t think so. The minute he said that I had 3 things go through my mind. (1) Wow, he is WAY to good for me. (2) Is it really that simple? (3) But I don’t want to do that…
I literally was thinking selfish thoughts, as he was talking about selfless intention… How selfish am I? My brain didn’t even let me catch up with this concept, it naturally thinks that way. Which basically means I have trained my brain to be selfish and put my needs above others. I feel like this world almost breeds us to think about just ourselves and no one else around us. We are raised to only care about the circumstances surrounding our own life, and what will get us the furthest in life. Everything in my head was pulling me in the opposite direction from his words trying to break me from my human nature. These lies were telling me to fend for me and me alone. Which I think we can all agree, is the reason for SO many problems in this world.
I was the problem.. Frick, I AM the problem.
The funny part of this whole scenario was the fact that all of the truths he was telling me, didn’t register until like 2 minutes ago writing this post. If I put others needs before my own, not only would I be happier, but the meaning of love would be completely redefined in my life. I would feel less stressed, more joy, and comfort in the happiness of others. Nothing really does sound better than that.
After we were able to do photos, I was still bummed that we didn’t get as many as I wanted and was just so sure that these picture didn’t turn out. Sure as you know though, they ended up being some of the coolest pictures I have, and came with a free side of knowledge. Gosh, I really need to start paying him.
I know I’m still going to struggle with selfishness and discontentment in my life, especially with the industry I am in, but I am so happy to know that there are steps I can take to stay grounded and focused on the prize. I do love fashion, and the idea of a big closet with many shoe friends to hang out with, but I know that the ultimate desire is to make others happy, and to teach others through my mistakes.
So if you find yourself longing to go take photos in a cute beach outfit with not much time to spare, it’ll actually be okay. If you are heading on a trip and not much seems to be going your way, take a deep breath and think about what makes your friends find joy. Maybe you struggle with anger and selfishness in your work place or in your family, and you just want to FREAK out nearly 100% of the time. Take a walk, take a deep breath, and truly contemplate the meaning of doing unto others as you would have them do unto you. This will create a long term amount of happiness, not just in that present moment. It will really open your eyes to how much joy can be received through someone else’s smile.
So thanks for reading my story that was completely unrelated to my beach photos, and if you like my outfit as much as I wanted to take photos in it… I have linked everything below.
PS. comment below and tell me what you struggle with and how you learned to overcome it.