Please Don't Read The Things I Post

I spend at minimum, an hour typing, deleting, and then re-typing an entry every time I open my computer to write. It’s sad because I know most of it has to do with my fear of vulnerability on the internet and sharing too much that may come back and bite me in the ass, and a large part of me doesn’t want to care about that at all. I fear that nothing I write will make any sense and that those few who even take the time to look over a page of text, even though barely anyone reads anymore, will scoff in disgust and think I am so ridiculous for putting myself out there in the first place. Which is completely idiotic and I know it. You can’t do anything in the world to please everyone, and why would you want to live your life pleasing people who don’t care about you? You are your first priority and I need to remind myself of that every chance I get.

 

Yet I seem to be the type that weighs out their decisions before making them, therefore making me safe, calculated, and ultimately boring in some respects. Then a weight seems to fall on my shoulders and I am hit with an inexplicable wave of anxiety about not having done enough; which is an issue that seems to me, can only be solved by pushing myself to the brink of insanity. Unfortunately, that’s an unhealthy coping mechanism and my therapist said that these types of habits would only make my internal struggle worse. Which is incredibly ironic because the only way I’ve really made change in my life is by throwing myself off the edge and just doing it.

 

So here I am trying to find balance.

 

It’s funny how much of a paradox I feel like right now. I have never been so sure of myself before, but I also have never felt more like I am floating in a void than I have before. All I really know is that I need to aim for something big in my life and hopefully the rest will fall into place. This mindset is helpful for me in many ways and I know it isn’t for everyone, but most of all I think it quells the fears of purposelessness for the time being. Of course, I know that life will throw me for a fucking loop but it’s who I am after that experience that makes me.

 

A year ago I was a completely different person, I thought I knew everything, yet nothing at all, I was terrified of change, I didn’t think I had the strength to make those leaps because the fear of failure kept me paralyzed. I was bitter and sad all of the time. I expected others to take care of emotions only I could deal with, and It wasn’t until I found the courage to make these decisions and just go for it that I found my path that needed to be paved. The thing is though, I made these decisions on my own, I found redemption in my actions, I took that risk, I have and am still working hard to maintain myself, and I couldn’t be happier.

 

What am I even saying at this point? It’s 3 am as I type this and no one really has their life together. I’m 21 years old and if the world doesn’t end in the next 10 years, I’ve got a pretty long life ahead of me.

Fervor.

There was one point of time in my life where I brought my work with me everywhere. It felt like an addiction. 

I used to shoot back to back morning-night every weekend for three days straight, and then immediately afterwards go through an editing frenzy where I cranked out image after image like a machine, and I thought that I was doing great. At this high speed it felt like I was unstoppable and I would reach the top of whatever ladder I was climbing and triumph over all. 

Thinking like this would eventually lead to my demise. I burnt out. There was too much going on at one time and although I was shooting more than I ever had, my images became less creative, less thoughtful, and devoid of all things that made me the artist I was today. 

Eventually I slipped and lost my momentum. 

Gaia Feels

As rain falls we wonder
If we will stay dry
The roof it looks asunder
As we stare at the gloomy skies
Thunder cracks and I shake
Waiting for the storm to pass

She cries.

Cold tears.

Well, What Are You Looking For?

I think one of life's greatest mysteries are the connections that we create with other people, voluntarily or involuntarily. 

One of my favorite things about being human is having the capability to feel, and to manifest these emotions in our actions and our need for other people, or our need to fill the void. 

There is so much out there that we do not know. Why are we living these lives trying to fulfill a purpose that we don't yet understand It's almost insane to even attempt to do so. But that's the thing. Life is just fucking crazy. 

I think more people should definitely try and get out of their box once in a while. Too many individuals don't try and make something mental, they are afraid of the self exploration, they fear some of the greatest pleasures in life and wish to continue living in their own cycle. I think that is what will change with the coming generations. Thank to the technology in the world, there is so much knowledge right at our fingertips, and eventually that will lead to either our greatest success or our biggest demise. 

We have been given life. We exist. We don't know what's going to happen, or how it's going to happen, or if anything will happen at all, but what we can do is make every step that we take right now, worth something to us individually. 

So what do I do? What do you do? 

Humans, by nature I think are creatures of communication. We need others in order to survive, but we need to be in-control and independent in our lives first. If you're looking for something to fill the void, or if there is something that you feel like you're missing, or if the search for fulfillment haunts your every waking hour, then maybe theres something wrong and you should do some digging.

Some psychologist from an article I read once, said, "People need three basic skills to be happy: they need to feel independent, competent, and able to form and maintain relationships with others." But how do we get to these basic skills in the first place? 

I'm still trying to figure it out myself, but you know, I can give you my insight on the situation. 

Get Educated
I think this is the most important part of reaching optimum level of life satisfaction. There is so much information in the world, there is so much that has been offered, that can be offered, it's insane how much you can learn, and this knowledge will open up so many doors. It doesn't matter what you learn about, learn about everything, but it is important that you keep in mind the fact that, the more you know, the more you don't know. Learn about how the actions you make affect others, learn how to not be upset about the actions that you make, learn about yourself, learn about what will help you. You want to be independent? You don't know why your SO is upset with you? Why do people think you're weird? Why haven't you done anything meaningful with your life? Well, I can promise you, the more you search, the more you will discover, and along the way something will speak to you. I get it, it's hard. Hence the term, "ignorance is bliss" If you don't know anything, you don't have to do anything, you don't have to risk getting hurt, or making a difference, or anything of the sort, but why would you wan't to subject the only existence that you know to a monotonous routine full of unanswered questions?

Test Yourself
Now that you have all of this knowledge you've accumulated what are you gonna do?
Let's say you're in this deep dark hole. You're absolutely fucking miserable, it's like the whole world is against you and there is nothing that you feel like you can do to make a difference. Ok. So that's you. But what if I told you, you can do whatever you want to do.
Answer: apply it
Disclaimer; I doubt it'll be easy. You're trying to unlearn old habits and apply new ones because it is one thing to know everything about something, vs going out and actually doing it. Initially, it will be a tedious process, unless you're superhuman, you won't get it right the first time, but the more you do it, the easier it becomes. Anyone who has played sports, or an instrument, or math can tell you that practice makes perfect and that application is no different to your other parts of life. You will become resilient and when you find one day you've managed to do what you've been preparing yourself to do, it will be such a rewarding moment, that you'll want to cling to it and do it all over again. 

Find the Right Support
This is where your foundation for educating yourself will come in handy. That is the joy of living. So now you've mustered up the strength to find some shit out for yourself, now you're educated, you've made a change, you want to continue your growth since the ball rolling. So you need to make sure that you can keep it rolling, even when you feel like falling all over again. Now this is important: friends are important. I'm not just talking any friends, good, really fucking good, understands you to a T, doesn't undermine you, and only wants the best for you, type of friend are the only thing that is going to help you get out of this hole. These friends are going to help you push the ball when you feel like giving up, but ONLY once you've proven that you can push the ball in the first place your friends are there to tell you that you can keep going, will give you the validation that you need to continue. 

*Insert Click-Bait Title About Love and Other Shit Here*

What even is love?

Great complex question, right? 

Some people go their entire lives searching for it, others fear it and the repercussions of it; you can love your dog, a stuffed animal, your family, your boyfriend, your girlfriend, your best friend. You can love painting, writing, dancing, photography, walking, running, crying, laughing, marching, swimming, decorating, or even sleeping. The list is ongoing and endless, yet lacking in explanation.

If you ask this question to anyone, you will receive a multitude of answers because no one really knows. Sure, scientifically, love is categorized as a chemical reaction in the Limbic System of your cranium, which is called the amygdala and it is responsible for the response and memory of emotions, but how much weight does science really hold on the true experience of each individual and their take on love? I'm not saying that science doesn't have an answer for you, but is this the answer that we should all accept when love is so much more complex than the release of energy and chemicals? We're talking about the brain here - the brain is prone to making mistakes, filling in the blanks, and continuously creating something out of nothing. We are infinitely complex, as is the world around us, so are we supposed to just settle for the simplicity of serotonin in our minds that reach receptors to receive this chemical? There are so many different layers to explore that it's a wonder we even love at all. The highest of highs and the lowest of lows seem to create a deep chasm in ourselves that we yearn to fill, may it be because of the societal standard for a never ending hole, or because of human nature, how are we supposed to understand all of that?

Do we decide to love or is it a genuine game of chance and irrationality? Why does it matter so much? Why are we so obsessed with finding it, keeping it, or even running from it? 

There are people out there who spend entire lifetimes searching for the right kind of love, but also this love is subjective to them. Is it because of familiarity or a yearning need to find something so opposite of what we know? Maybe it's just our mental wiring of having to reproduce. Does it matter who we're trying to reproduce with? It has to, because if it didn't, the feeling of love wouldn't feel so good, or even so bad for that matter. It must be the body saying something... right? 

Again, according to science, there are 3 different stages of love: Lust, Attraction, and Attachment. 

  • Lust = testosterone and estrogen to attract one another for sex
  • Attraction =  the release of Adrenaline, Dopamine, Serotonin and other chemicals to induce strong feelings of partnership that build into Attachment
  • Attachment = the consistent release of the chemicals Oxytocin and Vasopressin to solidify the bond between two people.

These are all things that our bodies are doing out of reaction. The biological chemistry within ourselves is so sensitive to the way that we respond to our life experiences that we as people are victim to a frenzied state of mind dictated by nature.  

Still, that can't just be it.   

But then what is it? 

When you find yourself searching for something that can answer your questions the feeling can be futile and the journey ominous of sorts. As humans, we like to dictate our own lives and others to fit a belief system that we have instilled within ourselves to make sense of the fact that we even exist. With or without purpose is subjective, but it is too difficult for any of us to wrap our heads around that fact without going absolutely insane. So we categorize, we label, we try to put everything into neat little packages that makes sense to us and live by it, and love just happens to be one of those things that we have created to pass the time that we have here, in order to feel something other than nothing. 

 

First Drafts Are Always Shitty.

So it's about 3am Wednesday morning, and it's around that time where I have began to feel. I mean, everybody feels right? Twitter culture would call it "simp hours" and that can also be another name for it, but right now, I can just feel all of my miserable, self-loathing tendencies resurfacing and I am SAD. 

I feel like there's no other way to put it other than just SAD. Yes, depression is a thing, and so is anxiety, and maybe, just maybe, it's possible that it is both, but who am I to self diagnose myself with WebMD, because I've definitely tried that too. This is my attempt of being less sad and trying to perform an action without actually caring about what other people think because my world is dominated by the thoughts and opinions of others. Not a day goes by where I'm able to spend it completely on my own and be happy in my own decisions. I rely too heavily on everyone and am a very codependent person, and I am SIIIICK of it. I am so. Fucking. Sick. This of course leads to my feelings and all of the negativity that comes with it and understanding who I am as a person, I tend to blame all of that on the actions of those around me when I should really just be taking control of my reaction to everything that happens around me. The world stops for nobody, so you just gotta roll with the punches. (I think that's how that quote goes?)

If you've ever read Albert Camus' Myth of Sisyphus, it's the perfect allegory of how I should be handling my life but I'm not. Long story short, Sisyphus is this guy that the gods got mad at because the gods are always mad at something, but they condemned him to Hell, to roll a huge boulder up a steep hill and reach the top, just for it to roll back down and him to do it all over again, for the rest of eternity. Now this task was meant to be torture, but our poor blessed soul, Sisyphus finds joy in this laborious task, and just as much as I was when I read this, the gods were really fucking confused. But he had snatched all of our wigs because he figured it out. Life is the boulder and we are Sisyphus. Until we die, we'll be pushing that boulder to the top of the hill and watching it roll back down again and again, and we could look at that boulder and the task ahead in two ways. 

A) Think about how much if fucking sucks to have to push it up AGAIN after all of that hard work and be upset about it just going back down the hill

or

B) Do what Sisyphus does and find JOY in the task of pushing a boulder up a hill. 

This is where it's important to control how you feel about a heavy boulder; because it is the only thing you can control. Life will always keep going, but you just gotta keep up. 

So right now, to try and handle it all, my thing is photography. There have been others, but right now, and I'm trying really fucking hard to stick with it, it's photography. I know I'm an artist; I AM creative, I AM innovative, I AM expressive, I am confused on how to properly portray myself and master my own tendencies. So I have picked this one and I am learning how to not give up this time. When I was younger, I was a dancer, a writer, a reader, a mess of a child that got her fingers into way too much trouble that eventually bled into my adult life, which ultimately has seemed to ruin me. (but that's another topic). And with all of those wonderful and not so wonderful things that I have done, I never stuck with any of them. I'm not so sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing, but now I feel lost and without a purpose. So I'm making one out of photography and trying to really learn and juggle everything else that is getting thrown at me and working to take control of my emotions so that I can become a better person, because I may be pushing a boulder up a fucking hill, but I should at least try to be happy while doing it. 

 

A Short Story

It was a beautiful morning and Mina awoke to the sound of a house already bustling with energy. Mom was yelling at the boy. She didn't understand why he didn't look happy, it was a new day.

She rolled over and stretched her legs.

Mom pointed to the small room across the hall. The boy reluctantly walked over into it closed the door behind him. Mina's eyes flew wide open.

"Oh no," she thought, and she jumped out of bed and hurried to stand in front of the door. "What do I do?" Then she heard noises: a clank, a turn, a bump, she panicked. 

She frantically pushed against the door with no luck. Another bump. She pushed harder, her nails scratching the wood, pausing only for a second to listen for a sound. 

A cough. 

"oh no."

Her heart sank, he had been inside of the small room for so long. 

Whimpering she cried, "This is it," and sank to the floor. The boy is gone forever. As she lay still in her sadness against the closed door, the handle turned and out walked the boy.

"Mina! Hi baby! Who's a good girl?" 

She couldn't believe what she saw, there he was, perfectly safe AND alive. Mina Jumped up with joy onto the little boy and began licking his face. It was a good morning after all. 

Experimental Photography

I have a certain style about my photography that involves a lot of texture to my work. Last weekend I had a chance to shoot at Blok Studio with a couple friends and the thing is about this studio, it's clean, white, walls. 

It threw me for such a loop because I felt as if I didn't have anything to work with. Since I'm primarily an outdoor photographer, I scout for locations often for architecture or different areas that would be prime to put a person in. Walking into Blok was literally a blank slate that could be turned into whatever I wanted it to be. 

However, that day, it wasn't for me, I was assisting a friend with a project and it was her canvas that we were working with, and luckily we had Erica's genius and the lighting abilities of my friend Pete, who is featured in these photos, to do the hard creative work. (I'll jump in next time) Surprisingly it came out pretty great. Think, Drake's Hotline Bling, and the action shots that we took were accentuated because there was nothing else to distract from the subject itself. 

(Click on picture to see more)

I'm excited to try again when it's my turn.  I've learned that you've just gotta throw yourself out there, because you can't make an omelette without cracking some eggs.

Being a Photographer

I think the biggest issues that any photographer has is continuity and composition.

 As I've developed my eye for photo, I've also improved my editing style. Just recently, I've come across some hues that I really enjoy, but it's becoming hard to stick to one particular style when I'm such a young photographer, yet there is still so much I want to experiment with and try. 

Currently, my style has a lot of green tones and replicates color film. As for my composition, I never really thought about it until now. All of my photos used to be too warm and highly contrasted.

Below are photos from my portfolio page.

Click on images to go through album.

Something I also found interesting is how social media affects the way that people perceive photos. Many people use it as a personal platform, but for myself and many others, I've used it to my advantage for making decisions in business and for advertising. However, you've gotta be smart about it, and I think what that sets anyone from a crowd: educating yourself, having the drive, and having an unbeatable passion. Those three things together create individuals stand out.

And that's something that I try to do every day.

Girl Gang

I wanted to give a little background on one of the most impactful creative collaborations that I've ever done. 

I'm so grateful for everybody who worked on this shoot because it took a lot of work/planning to get it to come together as cohesively as it did. However, as much work as it was, I would do it all over again just to be able to bond more with these women, and to create beautiful content.

 From Left to Right:  Chandler, Maggie, Amberley, Jen, Olive

From Left to Right:

Chandler, Maggie, Amberley, Jen, Olive

Never before in my life did I have a group of girls who I could relate to so well. These women empowered me, they hyped me up, they made me feel welcome and loved, supported everything I did and do, and that's how it should be.. right? For the longest time I thought that I would never find that: MY Girl Gang, and it's one of the best things to ever happen to me. What really gets me though, is that they're not just girls that I can be friends with, they're creative, strong, and kind women, and it is SO rare to find individuals like that, much less and entire group of them!

It's amazing what we created together. 


 Always be a first-rate version of yourself instead of a second-rate version of somebody else. – Judy Garland

Always be a first-rate version of yourself instead of a second-rate version of somebody else. –Judy Garland

Our stylist and one of the models was the wonderful Jen Hucko.

She's the link that brings us all together, and the one who gave me a chance to meet the rest of the wonderful women in the group. 

I love her because she's always willing to learn and create. 

 

 


Look at FULL ALBUM here.

 

These photos are also mostly taken from a downward angle to also give the illusion of dominance because "Strong women should never have to bend to the will of men".