Confession #1

I rarely offer very much insight in to my personal life on my blog. It’s not that I’m not introspective at times, and I’m not trying to make the blog all sugar and gumdrops either…. but I have always preferred my blog to be about my work. Who I am as a photographer. Of course my personality is included in all of that, but I have a confession to make…. I am extremely insecure.

To my tight-knit group of friends, this isn’t much of a confession. I’m usually hiding behind things, or lurking in a corner somewhere with only my closest girls…. a far cry from how I spent most of my high school and college days. Those friends would remember me as someone who always wanted to hang out, grab a soda or a late-night run to Dennys.  But I guess it’s all relative.

By nature, I’m a bit more shy than I’d like to be. I prefer small groups of friends to big parties, and you’ll sooner find me at Olive Garden with one of my girlfriends than out at a club.

But I saw a giant shift in my self-esteem back in college. When I was in my sophomore year of college I got really sick. No one knew what was wrong… the college clinic assumed Mono, doctors were clueless. I spent about a month in bed, missing classes, activities and my friends. I was in a near sleep como – finding it impossible to wake up long enough to eat a meal, much less walk to a class. I literally “woke up” about a month later, 90 lbs heavier and barely eating 300 calories a day. I knew something was wrong, but it would take nearly a year to find out what that was.

The summer, I was back in Ohio and seeing a specialist who diagnosed me with PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome). Beyond the weight gain, and what I found out was a natural-sugar coma, it’s not the best thing in the world….. making it 3 times as hard for me to lose weight as the normal person, I may not ever be able to have children, and have to continuously watch for cysts on my ovaries, along with some other random complications. It’s genetic (or believed to be)  and there is no cure. It’s on-set by traumatic stress and there’s nothing you can do to stop it. So I live with it. Se la vie.

My life had taken a drastic turn from 110 lbs., 5’9″ and a 16-year competitive dancer — to 200 lbs. seemingly overnight. I used to love being in front of the camera, and enjoyed the attention. I’ve been fortunate to channel that behind the camera – pouring my heart and soul in to the shoots that I do… especially fashion.

I feel like I’m getting to live my life again when I shoot my fashion work. It’s a desire, an energy, to be something you once were. If you could step back in time and be that person again… would you? And if you had the opportunity to do it whenever you wanted – could you see yourself there? When I shoot fashion, it’s like I can feel every ounce of who I was in front of me. I look back at the photos and remember my exact feelings from directing the location, the fashion and the expression or mood of the model. It’s like a personal digital diary. And not only do I get to shoot it… I get to live it, even for that moment.

Suddenly, I’m transformed. I’m a size 2, standing in a field of wild flowers and horses, in this wide open world, and yet I feel so contained within myself. I want to run, and explore – but I’m fearful to leave the safety of what I know. I feel every insecurity in that moment. And I capture it.

So when you look at my fashion work – I hope this gives you a little more insight into where it comes from and why I shoot it. Why I’m passionate for it, and why my heart breaks for it. I’m hoping that it will also help you to understand about my surgery today. I’ll be posting more on that, and this journey, in the coming weeks.

So if you’re friends of family, leave a little comment about the kind of person I am… or was… or will be. And fellow readers, share some of your confessions, too. It feels good to let them out :)