February 4, 2014

23.

A quote has been in my mind all day. "I've heard it is possible to grow up, I've just never met anyone who's actually done it. " Meredith Grey said this in her closing quote of Yesterday (Season 2 Ep. 18) It's after she finds out about her mother's affair with Richard. I didn't find out about an affair of the past or have to film someone speaking horrible messages to be delivered to his friends and family before he dies. But, I am turning a year older.

As I sit awaiting midnight, reflecting on the past year I am extremely grateful. I'm grown. I'm finished. I will always have things to learn, but as far as my person being shaped, I'm done. Then I go back to what Meredith said: "I've heard it is possible to grow up, I've just never met anyone who's done it." And I realize that there is always the possibility of a huge, life changing event happening. Then what? Am I suddenly a different person? Am I the same person who I've always been but I have more life experience further shaping my personality? If this is so, I am not grown. No one ever is. I do not believe that this is a bad thing, either. Complacency is no way to live life. Never knowing what is next and always being open to a life changing experience is the way I want to live my life.

When I think back to this time last year I was in a completely different place in my life and I never would have imagined that in one year I would be where I am now. Last year, I lived in Savannah, Georgia. I was studying for my MFA in photography. I didn't want to be there. I didn't want my MFA. I was so extremely unhappy I didn't even recognize myself when I looked in the mirror. I know that sounds nuts and I honestly don't know how to further explain it, but I wanted out. I couldn't find the words to tell my friends and family. With the help of a very special person, my cousin Steph, I was able to find the words and the strength to tell my dad first and then my mom and then the rest of my loved ones. You can read about all of that here. Everyone was extremely supportive after I explained to them that Savannah was literally killing me. I wasn't happy and didn't see myself becoming happy until I was home. 

I moved home. I was lost and had absolutely no idea what I was doing or where I was going. I knew I hadn't made a mistake but was still uncertain what I was going to do. I interviewed several places. I was grappling for a sense of self and belonging. I knew I wanted to photograph  I just didn't know how I was going to do it. In April I decided I would try portraiture. I booked several sessions and it literally took off from there. It was a but slow at first then it exploded. When I wasn't photographing for myself I was helping out at Diekemper Photography (I worked for her 3 summers & now I am her second shooter for weddings.) 

When I think back to this time last year I cannot believe how much I have grown. How far I have come. At 22 I started a business out of my home and have been more successful than I could have ever dreamed. I am opening a store front in a few months. It's midnight. 12 a.m., I am officially 23. I am a 23 year old with a successful start up business. If I grow this much every year. I do not ever want to be fully grown.

I've had ups and I've had downs. I have met people who I am certain have changed my life for the better. I have learned valuable lessons. And people have reinforced my "people suck" philosophy. And then there are people who have restored my faith in humanity. I have made lasting friendships and have strengthened established relationships. I am a lucky lucky girl. I wouldn't change anything. I can only hope that this new year, 23, will be half as amazing as 22. 

Now that I just got real, I'm going to get real fun. 23 didn't officially arrive until just now, but the celebration began Friday with my momma. Then Saturday with my friends in St. Louis. We went out, we had a blast. I felt so loved and was so happy they all came out to celebrate with me. Again, I state I am such a lucky girl! Pi Pizzeria is fabulous, I highly recommend it. Llywellen's is so much fun. And Sub Zero is definitely interesting! Here are a few images of the weekend.









My last photograph as a 22 year old. Cheers to 23. I can't wait. 


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