I brought work home this weekend, but instead of doing work, I did my best to soak up the fastest two days of every week with my little guy. And I don’t regret it. But what I do regret, far too often to admit, is how often I allow the stresses of life to become overwhelming and all-consuming, to the point of emotional breakdown time and time again. I can’t be alone here.
Sometimes I read other’s blog posts, and I wonder if they were nervous to be so vulnerable, to a sea of reading, maybe judgmental eyes, who maybe couldn’t care less. Then I remember that I don’t personally know them, yet I read and I appreciate the vulnerability because it reminds me that despite social media highlights, I’m not alone in the struggle. I vowed to myself, and since then also publicly to use this platform to be transparent. Transparency in the good, the bad, the downright ugly, both in business and in life, because how can you really be an effective encouragement to others if you’re only displaying what’s good? That’s a sure bet to make everyone else feel alone.
It’s been a month since my last blog post, and I’m ashamed. Not because I gave myself permission to just be, to not have a jam-packed schedule for one month out of the whole year, to just go to ONE full-time job instead of two, to let my e-mails sit for more than 30 minutes, to enjoy four, short weeks of something other than go-go-go. But I’m ashamed because things got ugly, and I went silent. Because I chose to ignore the hard truth and fall of the face of the Earth because it felt much easier than letting others in.
Would they judge me? Would they roll their eyes? Would they laugh? Would they find pleasure in my hurt (because sometimes people can be mean)? Are my problems even worth sharing? Will potential clients think I’ve fallen off my rocker and choose not to book me? But I’m embarrassed. But if I just don’t talk about it, it’ll go away.
Then I tried to be strong, and I tried to put my happy face on. I tried to maintain my social media presence, I tried joke through it, and to do everything except talk about it, and you know what? I’d just get back to posting and blogging when my schedule picked back up in August and it’ll just look planned. Yet, here I am spilling my heart on my blog because it’s no coincidence I can’t shake the thought – someone else needs to hear it.
I’m reading a book called Nothing To Prove by Jennie Allen (highly suggest!!) with a group of women from our church. It’s been the best thing I could have ever said yes to, because despite growing up in a house full of women, we all need a group of people to walk through life with. And I mean really walk through life with: the highest of highs, and the really dark valleys. It’s just so necessary.
I think in every really personal blog post I’ve written, I’ve said this at least once, but I’m a do-er. I define success in many ways, but our society defines it as striving. Striving for this, that, the other- and winning. Having a fully booked schedule. If your day was so busy you forgot to pee, you win. If you’re not tired, try again. If you have a weekend with no bookings, your business is probably one step away from dead. So, I’ve spent the last three years seriously hustling. And don’t get me wrong, I am SO PROUD of how this thing has evolved, and it took every bit of grunt work I have given and committing to that was necessary, and IS necessary if you want to succeed. But the greatest revelation came through this amazing book, and that’s that at some point, you (read “I”) have to realize that all of my striving and doing and ultimately burning out is unnecessary if this is God’s plan. If this is what God has for my life, I can’t mess it up. And if it’s not, then if it ends up in a downward spiral, I did Him and myself a favor. He called us to live out the gifts He’s given us, but he didn’t say “at the expense of your health, your time with the people you love most, your emotional, physical, and spiritual well-being”. He didn’t. And that’s where I was when I planned to take “off” for the month of July. I was so burnt-out, despite promising I wasn’t going to do that. Saying no felt like a weakness, so I never did and then I never saw my son or my husband. Balance is always hard to attain - can I get an amen?
The past two weeks have been hard. My happy-go-lucky, obnoxiously jokester self has been no where to be found. I’ve seen the worst side of myself, I’ve single-handedly brought out the worst side of my husband (and he is a patient man, y’all, so that takes an embarrassing amount of button-pushing and nagging). And if you’ve seen me, I’m probably way too good at hiding that. But in this season of life I have cried a lot, like, more than my one year old BY A LONG SHOT. And it’s not because my business is failing, or because of really any one thing. But more the fact that a lot of things have taken priority to my faith, and to time spent with my people. I’ve let myself fill all of my time with superficial things forced onto me by the way society has made me feel I have to live, to the point of forgetting that I’m not in control of any part of the way this all plays out. At the end of my life, I wan't to be known for doing good, and for loving others, not for just being the girl who did it all and balanced it all so well. My son won't ever say wow, my mom was awesome because she worked all the time. That's a thought to swallow hard over, yikes.
Honestly, being quiet for weeks means this could easily turn into a rough draft novel. Point is, if this is you too, find comfort that while hustling is sometimes necessary, you’re doing both yourself AND your clients a disservice by not giving yourself permission to recharge. And more importantly, if this is what God has for you, you can’t mess it up. So, apply that to whatever season of life you’re in. You don’t have to be a burnt out mom-tograph-countant to find the same relief and joy in the fact that you are not solely in control of how this goes. You can’t strive to win His love, favor and stamp of approval, and He doesn’t call us to either. And while I'm at it, you weren't called to give everything to win the stamp of approval of ANYONE.
If you’re wondering, no I’m not quitting, yes I’m still here. I still love this business so much and all of my clients. I've just taken some time to recharge and enjoy summer. And in my down time, some serious share-worthy revelations happened that I couldn't just keep to myself. I had a small handful of sessions scheduled throughout July, but you’ll see me back and ready to hit the ground running in mid-August for the second half of my wedding season.
Thanks, as always, for following along on this little dream of mine.