Friday, April 21, 2017

This is me dressed as a mermaid on my private beach in Key Largo the day after I shot an underwater surprise proposal.  Its a photo that represents the culmination of an amazing journey I have been on, a journey that started with one little word, yes.
I noticed one day that I was really great at saying no.  And I felt pretty proud of that, back then, I was a hell no kinda girl.  Like no I don't want to meet you, I don't want to try that thing you think is cool, I'm not a joiner, I do these things super good and I don't like to fail so I will just only do these things here in this box.  Then one day I did a really big thing, I adopted a baby girl with a special need.  Every single person in my life including my husband said not to do it.  It was the hardest most difficult thing I have ever done in my life, but I knew I wanted it since I was a small child, I knew I was born to do that.  And I moved mountains, to get it done, I convinced everyone it was a good idea, I learned to save money and not be a consumer so I could afford it, I fought the Ontario government at court to allow me to be her parent, I struggled to learn everything I could so I could be a good parent to her. And I did it and she is my soul mate and she is everything I knew I had to do with my life.  But once she was safe at home I realized I wanted more of that.  Maybe it was more adopting, because that is the most life altering thing I think anyone can do... but that didn't seem quite it.  I was stuck.  I felt unable to make any decision.  I really wanted to start my own photography business but my family had just followed me on this really big crazy dream and they told me: Stop.  This is enough.  Be satisfied.  Be happy here, stop now.  So for a while I did.  And I lost myself.  And I was full of shame and guilt that I should have all these blessings and still want more.  I just wanted to be more me.  One day I just started saying yes, I got invited to a concert but I thought the band was stupid and I had no one to go with so all of me wanted to say no, but instead I said yes.  And it was a great night! I decided from now on what if I just stop being indecisive and say yes to every single thing.  At least it would be some sort of choice that has to be better than no choice!  And that is how the year of yes was born.  The first 4 months, I hated every single yes with a passion.  I loved each and every experience though, and that was odd.  Why would I hate saying yes, have to fight myself so many times even though I was not getting negative results?  So I started keeping a journal of all the times I said yes, I said yes to tomatoes in my salad even though I hate tomatoes only to find out they are sort of okay and it nice to not have to pick around them.  I said yes to hanging out with a girl who sort of rubbed me the wrong way, 3 times I reluctantly said yes to her invitations and today she is a dear friend and one of the biggest advocates of my business and work.  Yes, I have a photography business.  Yes, now I am a successful published photographer.  I photograph underwater pole dancers, just because I said yes, and people who like to pretend to be mermaids and surprise proposals in Key West, and babies who were just adopted and are coming home on airplanes, and stay at home moms who don't think they are pretty, and a porn star and special needs kids too.  Because of yes.  I think it took me about 18 months to enjoy saying yes, at about the 12 month mark I knew that yes was always going to be uncomfortable but worth it.  I still get that feeling but it's shorter all the time now.  And there have been a lot of days I feel crazy, and I have lost a lot of people who I call the caterpillars, the ones who stay on snooze and repeat, and sometimes that is sad, and sometimes I doubt myself because the caterpillars think butterflies are crazy.  But I can't go back to caperpillaring its biologically impossible even if i wanted to.  

I read a quote recently that said: 
The world is full of dead squirrels who couldn't make a decision.  Don't be a squirrel.  

It can be easy to not do something because we fear the correct outcome, but the reality is that the fear is what holds us back from achieving.  In the spirit of my continued commitment to  yes I am excited to announce that I will be offering limited underwater pole portraits at Pole Expo 2017 this year in Las Vegas.  I am following this dream, as my dear friend Jocie once said, on a build it and they will come philosophy for this project.  I am looking forward to the connections that I know this will bring me, and the amazing people I will meet and the beautiful art we will create.  I hope you have said yes today and I look forward to seeing you in Vegas!

 The yes isn't the elf living in the wall its openness to hear the elf.


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