Thursday, May 2, 2013

Growing up to become a Do-Gooder

 I had lunch with a former client earlier this week and we lamented about being really tired of small talk. I so much prefer one on one conversations but I love the kind of quick friendship that events like WPPI and Summer Camp encourage, ones where you jump from a compliment on an item of clothing to do you believe in soulmates. But instead of baring my soul to the world on my photography page, I keep it somewhat small-talk-y (I'm laughing to myself that I've never thought about small talk versus big talk, as in you talk a big game. Maybe I should talk a big game instead). But, you don't offer to be best friends to every girl at summer camp, either. Sometimes it's the one with a September birthday and blonde hair and blue eyes just like you (as in, my best friend, Stacy, who I met in first grade, and because of our extreme height differences and head shapes we still refer to each other as oppositely mutated twins), and sometimes it's just the person that you take the chance on because after camp you'll never have to see them again. For Stacy and I, who did spend several years at summer camp, it was everyone but Purple Shirt Girl, who was Not Very Nice.

Anywho, it's odd to be 26 and realizing that you are just beginning to know anything about yourself. So much of who I am seems to just be a reaction to everything and everyone I've come in contact with up to this point. I am just now starting to ask what I want, what things make me happy, what my priorities are. No one else has to/gets to live this life, it's just me. And I can share it with people, but I'm the only one I can change, I'm the one in control of what I accomplish in a day.

I bounce back and forth between loving life so much I can hardly stand it and being so negative about what's out there want to shut everything off and sleep in the fetal position. I'm becoming very aware of the direct relation this has to wanting to feel like I'm good enough. Today I edited an engagement session that I'm ridiculously obsessed with and felt like a pretty great photographer. Then I put a shameless request on my personal Facebook page for likes on my photography page, because I am so close to 2000 that it was just aggravating to see the number teetering there, and in just a few hours I had ten more likes, and even though it takes some 20 or so internet nods of approval to equal one real life "I like your dress/hair/shoes" even, it was pretty amazing how much it affected my mood.

If you knew that it would dramatically change a person's day for the better wouldn't you make more of an effort to compliment people, ask them how their day is going, tip an extra dollar even if it's only on a cup of coffee? I'm telling you, those small things make a world of difference. No, we shouldn't base our self worth on the opinions of anyone else, but I also believe in contributing to a restoration of faith in humans. A thousand little lovely acts probably equals one great big seemingly impossible task, but we rarely think of things that way. If you did one small kindness a day it would take less than 3 years to have accomplished contributing1000 good things to the world. So like some Facebook pages, comment on blogposts (we bloggers have an addiction to comments) tip when you can, never stop yourself from telling the cashier you like her nail polish, send handwritten notes just because, use your turn signal, and speak kindly about someone behind their backs any time you get the chance. I would like to dedicate this post to the Kid President crew, because I have so much more hope for the world in remembering what it was like to be a kid and want to Save the Wetlands, and I'm so happy as an adult to realize that I don't need to save the world in one fell swoop, but rather to bit by bit be a part of the solution.


  1. Aw, thanks for the shoutout! :)

    I can totally relate to the parts about being 26 and just realizing your true self, as I feel I'm experiencing that right now too, and about flip-flopping on how you feel about life. It's posts like this one that make me especially miss getting to spend time together giggling and talking about life and such.

    I love you and miss you, and also I think you're an incredibly talented photographer, among lots of other great things. :)

    P.S. Purple Shirt Girl! haha! I think I had blocked her out of my brain until now.

  2. Oh wise one! Such valuable advice you dispense. It occurred to me last week that from time to time, being nice to people (particularly those who have been Not Very Nice in the past) doesn't even register in my mind as a viable option of something I can do. Particularly, I learned of an acquaintance finding herself in a troubling predicament, and as I lamented over "how could she be so irresponsible?!?!!?!", Drew suggested that I act like a friend to her, and be a positive influence that way. ("WHAT?! Be NICE to her?! CONGRATULATE her?? but but but... I don't condone her lifestyle! but but but... am I really congratulating her for a MISTAKE she made?!?!?") All this is to say, a day later I took Drew's advice and congratulated her, reached out as a friend (rather than a condescending judgmental I-am-better-than-you JERK), and she responded remarkably well. And very nice, indeed. (Shocking!)

    Sometimes I think we just forget to be nice to each other. I guess things happen in life that make us think there are certain situations where we don't have to be nice, or we SHOULDN'T be nice, and we take those too closely to heart (after being hurt so many times in the past). And then we end up as adults forgetting what truly matters.

    In other news... you are most certainly good enough. In every arena. You FAR surpass the "enough" status, in fact. You are just right exactly where you are.

    Also, re: your awesome comment from two weeks ago:

    1. Amen to the light and outdoors and hammock desks! I'm in a hotel room right now, overlooking a grand view of...a Knoxville parking lot. At least I can see the sky! One of my favorite parts about our vacay was the hammock, privately tucked behind a wall of tropical bushes and trees. If I had a hammock desk, oh boy, I'd be set. Especially if I had a palm tree right beside it. A ginormous, big-ass palm tree. Although that might incline me to nap more than work...

    2. Thank you so much for your pride in me!!! I am SO SO SO glad we met two years ago and absolutely believe it to be divine intervention. Some people you just meet because you HAVE to. I'm totally game for swapping office/home-sprucing help and 1000% agree that it's preferable to help others than deal with my own!!!

    3. HAHA and THANK YOU for telling me about the laxative powers of pina coladas pre-vacay!! I made sure to keep that in mind and curbed my coconut drink consumption somewhat. I still had my fair share of coco locos and playa blancas (both DELICIOUS) and a couple of the traditional coladas, but swapped things up with mojitos and sparkling wine (which was so much better than Mexico's) and the occasional dacquiri... because I am somewhat of a resort alcoholic. We had such a good time!!!!

  3. PS: I see hexagons everywhere now; you were right. They're even on the bath mats at the Knoxville Hampton Inn! EVERYWHERE!


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