I feel like I have to start out by saying, “Welcome back?”
Many years ago, I had a blog and it allowed me to connect with so many people who shared my story or whatever I was going through at the time. It also allowed me to share the people’s stories who so graciously stood before my camera.
Being a photographer has given me this unique ability to connect with people when they are at their most vulnerable. Most people aren’t naturally comfortable in front of a camera, so I get to talk them through it all. In doing so, the conversations tend to take on a life of their own and we end up sharing at least parts of our stories. I believe this not only puts people more at ease, but it also allows them to feel heard and seen, if only for the length of their shoot. The more we have beautiful conversations with people, the less alone we feel as we trudge through the tough times we are all inevitably going to have at some point in our lives.
A lot has happened since I let my old blog go. I don’t even remember what year that was. I’m another one of those people who allowed time to slip by me without me fully living. Life has a way of doing that to us sometimes I think.
In 2020, we were all forced to come to a halt. As awful and scary and sad as that time period was, I believe those of us who were, for whatever reason, blessed enough to make it through, were given this immense opportunity to stop faking life and heal ourselves. We were given a chance to come to a full stop and think about where the roads we had chosen had taken us, and also to think about what road we wanted to take next as the world began to slowly open again. We got to really sit with the people we truly are at our core, and I don’t know about you, but I had a lot of healing that needed to begin.
Throughout my life, I have always been the type of person to stay busy. If you stay busy, the noise isn’t as noisy, and you make your way through your days in survival mode. What no one ever told me was that I was never meant to live in survival mode.
From 2020’s awakening period, I learned a lot about myself. I also learned a lot about the people closest to me now, as well as people who had been woven into my life over the years. What I saw was eye-opening.
I don’t know about you, but I’m stubborn. It takes me years to learn a lesson, and it’s because I always want to hold out hope.
After all of the emotions of 2020, I did end up getting Covid the summer of 2021. It was the strangest thing I’ve ever been through and I pray to never have to feel that way again. Just as I thought my life was getting back on track after it, here came summer of 2022. I had been feeling off for a few days, but like most of us, I brushed it off as stress. Well, it was…sort of.
This part of the story is too long to include here, but the shortened version is that I ended up in the ER. I was blessed with the greatest ER doctor and nurses. They were slammed and yet still took the time to reassure me through everything. I ended up spending a week in the hospital, and an MRI and spinal tap later, was told I most likely had Multiple Sclerosis. It was all too much for me to process, but when I got home, the real lesson began showing itself.
The kindness that has been shown to me since last summer changed me; it brought me back to life. After being terrified that I could miss out on the people I love the most, and/or lose everything I’ve worked for with my career, I had people showing up and pushing me to believe that was not the case. I’m so grateful to still get up each morning and live, and still have my work family I gained in 2019, and I’m so grateful people are still connecting with me and my work.
Because of everyone’s support, I didn’t give up. I went to the scary neurologist appointments, I even spent two months on phone calls to set up that first infusion every fiber of my being was telling me not to take. I sat in the infusion chair, crying out of fear of getting PML or breast cancer from the medicine that was supposed to slow down the progression of the MS…only to have an allergic reaction so they had to stop it. I still didn’t give up. I started working with a nutritionist who has held my hand on this journey of trying to heal my body for the last six months. I am so grateful to her for helping me not feel completely helpless. Are there any guarantees? Nope. But are there ever?
I guess you could say I’m finally climbing out of the cave I found myself in when I finally stopped in 2020, and I’m trying to live purposefully again. Forgive me while my vision gets readjusted to seeing sunlight around me.
Thank you all for your support and for your patience while I figured everything out. I have no idea what lies ahead, but I’m thankful to have this space to share this new journey with you. My next post will be of one of my favorite shoots I’ve done in the last two months!