It's just not worth it...

You know you came here to read this and in the first sentence you are probably thinking what in the world am I about to get into. But I promise you the words themselves are worth reading. With everything that is going on in the world right now things are very chaotic.

2020 was supposed to be an amazing year and for a lot of people it has been quite the opposite.

As we were all sent into our homes and told to shut the doors to wait on the inevitable my mind could not be quieted. My anxiety levels skyrocketed. At first I was anxious about the online learning and not really feeling like I had a purpose with not being able to go into my "real" job. So I tried to be proactive and made schedules for Audrey and I. I reached out to amazing friends and family to help me support literacy with my students. (We mailed over 50 books!) And then my anxiety manifested into a personal dilemma, how can I start my healthy journey again if I can't go to the gym, so I started doing yoga in the mornings just to stretch myself out. And then the anxiety manifested into financial stress because right after the slow season for photography everything shut down. That meant all of the budgeting I had done was not going to happen because the finances were not going to be there. So I began to think about what I could do in my professional life to make sure if this happened again I would not be as affected. That meant looking into a "real" job change. Which then created even more anxiety. So I sat in bed one night and I just made myself breathe. I had too many conversations happening within my own mind. Too many things to stress about, too many things that were literally out of my control. And it took a global pandemic to make me realize that my why was all jacked up.

Which brings me to why this blog is important to read. Sometimes it takes a full on mess like 2020 to make us realize what we need to prioritize and what really just doesn't matter.

You can't pour from an empty cup.

As we were all in our homes cut off from the world really, I realized that throughout my entire life I had rarely prioritized myself.

I worried about my appearance most of my life. To the point that when I look back on moments where I was a complete mess about my self worth I laugh. Because I was trying to be someone I wasn't. I wanted to be a certain weight that way when other people saw me they wouldn't have negative things to say, I wanted to make sure I was put together a certain way so when I was around other people I could make sure they thought I was professional and put together. But in reality I was so uncomfortable trying to be someone I wasn't.

So when we were stuck at home, I really sat and thought about what I wanted for myself. And it all came down to a things. I wanted to feel comfortable in my own skin. I wanted to 100% not care what others thought because as long as I thought I was awesome, other people would have no other choice than to think the same. I threw out the notion that I had to be fully put together for people to take me seriously. I mean come on, I am an artist... none of us are very really put together. I got rid of my inner bully. No really, I tossed that chick to the curb. Then I decided if I wanted to wear makeup I could, but makeup did not make me beautiful. It was a highlighter not the foundation of my beauty. I decided that if I wanted to wear my hair in a messy bun every single day... that was perfectly fine, because that was who I was. I embraced my natural self, and me and her we get along very well.

After I got over my self induced anxiety over my physical appearance I decided I really needed to think about the other stressors in my life. And it all boiled down to "stuff." Yeah, just stuff. Physical items I purchased that I thought would bring me joy, when really all they brought me was anxiety about where I was going to put it, and then most of the time I never picked it up again. And the stuff created stress about money, and the money created stress that filtered into every other aspect of my life.

I started watching people who are minimalist on YouTube. Their lifestyle blew my mind. I mean clearly I had a love affair with stuff. But as I continued to watch I saw just how much they appreciated what they did have. I realized that I didn't have to become a minimalist to be happy, but I did need to start de-cluttering and really thinking about what I loved and what I could 100% live without. That rabbit hole I fell into it showed me that I had so much stuff and so much waste that I was not being a very good human. I was buying stuff and tossing it out, where inevitably it would end up in the landfill. I decided right away that I wanted to be more conscious of what I was purchasing. Did I make a plan to be 100% totally green. No. At this time in my life that is just not a sustainable way of living. But I am trying to be better and that is what counts.

I made my personal self a full on priority. If it doesn't bring me joy or contribute to my life in a positive way. I'll simply just pass. Because I can't pour into the world with an empty cup. So I have to pour into myself first.

I still haven't specified the why...

My why is going to be different than yours. My why for changing my way of doing business and the way I live my life is because I want to give back as much as I can, whether its to my clients, my family, and to the world. And in order for me to do that, I have to prioritize myself. I have to find ways to be filled so I can pour it right back out. I can't be stressed about tiny little things like Facebook drama, or why you feel like someone elses opinion is 100% wrong.

I have to pull back and put the important things first. So this is where it is starting.

I 100% can not wait to share beautiful images here with you. I can't wait to showcase stunning weddings, beautiful engagements, happy babies. But I also can't wait to show you the nitty gritty moments of my life. Because I am an empathetic human, and I want to show you that having a why is so very important!

My advise to you, purge your life and find your why!

With lots of love!- Ashley