On Being Myself

And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the the risk it took to blossom.
— Anais Nin

Let me tell you a secret. I live my life in fear. I am a scardey cat. I’m afraid. I am afraid of people most of all. Crazy, I know, but people scare me to death.

I am an introvert. I am not good at small talk. I am not good at making new friends. I am not good at relationships. Period. It usually takes me years or spending time every day with someone until I finally feel free being myself around them and feel comfortable letting them know the person I really am. There are only a very few people in my life that I feel this freedom with.

Why am I so afraid?

In my heart, I’m an artist. A creative. And let’s face it. Artists and creatives, well, we’re weird. We’re wired differently. People don’t know what to do with us or how to relate to us. They think we’re eccentric and we usually are. People giggle at us or look at each other with those knowing smiles if we close our eyes and soak in a piece of music and conduct along with it. They get impatient if we linger too long over a painting because we’re intrigued by how the artist used light and colors, and honestly, we just like how the painting makes us feel, and we want to linger on and enjoy that feeling.  They don’t understand how we can taste quality and different flavors in food and coffee and how some quirk in a design can drive us up a freaking wall. They think it’s weird how picky we are about the words we purposefully choose to use and how big of a deal colors are to us because of how they make us feel and affect our mood.

I’ve learned over the years to hide my “weirdness” or my quirkiness” or whatever you want to call it. I wanted people to feel comfortable around me and like they could relate to me. Believe me, I’ve seen the wary confused looks on people’s faces when I’ve been just myself with them. It’s not usually pleasant to recognize that look and feel like you just don’t belong or fit in. and to know that they think you’re weird. And so I learned to hide who I really am. Like I said, I wanted people to feel at ease with me, and I wanted friends.  

I am also a very blunt and honest person and driven and passionate. Thank goodness my husband tells me all the time that these are things he loves about me. They’re also what I love about him. We can drive each other crazy sometimes because we’re so similar in these areas, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’ve always been afraid to let these qualities come through, though. I didn’t want to hurt people’s feelings by saying what I really thought. I didn’t want to distance people for saying what wasn’t the socially acceptable nice thing to say, and I didn’t want to lose friends by telling them the truth.  I’ve been afraid to let my passion and drive come through because I didn’t want people saying “Dang, she’s too intense. She just needs to chill.” I’ve heard these things said about others and it’s not cool.

In short, I have worked too hard over the years to be a people pleaser. I hate conflict and I hate being disliked, and I want people to be happy, and so I’ve tried to be everything to everyone. And the truth is I’m tired.

I’m tired of feeling socially awkward because I don’t know what to do or say because I don’t know how to act around people because I’m too afraid to be myself. I want to change. I want to be able to just be me, but every time I try, I’m so afraid I’m going to hurt someone or they’re not going to like me.

Why am I sticking my neck out there and telling you guys this? Partly, because I want to be understood. Partly because I want to feel free to be myself with you. I believe that not only am I doing myself a terrible disservice by not being who God made me to be, but I am also not being the best I can be for the people I want to serve.

When I was younger, I wanted to be in politics because I wanted to change the world. My life has not gone in the direction that I thought it would or that I wanted it to go, and I am a long ways from where I want to be, but I still want to change the world. I want to make a difference, and the only way I know to do that is to quit hiding and to be myself.  

I want to be the best photographer and artist I can be for my clients and for myself. I want to touch and change and impact people’s lives by telling their stories through amazing images and sharing their stories with others.

From now on, I swear to be myself with you so that I can better serve you and so that I can better love and care for the people who’s lives I am privileged to be a part of.  It is not a privilege that I take lightly

Thank you for taking the time to read this verrrrrrrry long post! I look forward to sharing with you next week around this same time!

Much love,

Whitney