I used to love photography. There was nothing more fun for me then taking the children out from some elaborate (to me) photo shoot. I loved taking and editing and planning. I loved it all.
Then the internet.
The internet I wanted to learn from turned into my worst enemy. It became a breeding ground of anxiety.
My gear wasn’t enough.
I wasn’t creative enough.
My shots weren’t sharp enough.
I charged too much. Or too little or I shouldn’t be charging at all.
I was a business moron. Marketing was beyond me.
I wasn’t cool enough.
I didn’t have a studio. I didn’t shoot newborns right. I didn’t do weddings, then I did do weddings.
I wasn’t enough.
Frick, it was like highschool again. Stupid brain. Stupid anxiety. Stupid internet.
I stopped shooting for me and started shooting to be like everyone else. And I started losing my love. And then I mixed friendship with business and anxiety with business and then, I was just done.
Because I never felt good enough. Because I let the “others” win. I let anxiety win.
So I left. I left every forum, every Facebook group. I unfollowed and I unfriended. But it’s not there anymore because I shackled myself to someone else’s idea. Instead of finding freedom in my own work, I let it shackle me. Oh the woes of the anxious introverted artist.
Introversion. It’s the topic of many a blogs these days. I try hard not to use it as a crutch as I have watched many fall down that path. It’s not a crutch. It’s not anything except how I am. I’m introverted, to a fault sometimes but it’s who I am. I married an extrovert and had a few children who are extroverted as well. No, so far only one. Davis. He’s for sure an extrovert. The jury is still out on the others although I suspect the smallest will also follow in those footsteps. I prayed they’d all be extroverted and leaders. That, unlike me, they’d not worry about what everyone thinks. They’d create or sport or do whatever, without the shadow and shackles of worry and comparison. I prayed they’d be surrounded by friends and fun and fitting in.
I’m not sure my prayers were answered.
My only daughter, beautiful, witty and smart, struggles with these things. I’m sure a lifetime under the roof of an over-critical mother does not help. Even if the criticism was never directed at her. Because to me, she’s nothing short of amazing. Yet, I worry the prayers I prayed for her were not heard or were not answered and she will endure the pebbled path of her mother.
So, I wonder how I teach her that the “internet” of her future doesn’t matter. That her photography is beautiful and wonderful ESPECIALLY because it doesn’t look like everyone else’s? That it’s okay NOT to fit in at MOPS or ever attend, because not all moms do and it’s okay. That it doesn’t matter if you go to PTO with pink hair and wishbone tattoo and you will still be a good mother and your children will just be happy you’re there.. How do I help her to embrace the introversion when I have trouble in that skin myself? How do I teach her that she’s enough…
I never want her to lose her love of anything and as I have walked with her during these tough teen years, I have watched as her smile has dimmed and how she’s hidden more and more behind duck faces and friends who aren’t really her peers. I watched her stop singing, stop going. I have watched her feel less than coming off a field of girls who have been playing lacrosse since they were in diapers and feeling like they will never let her in. And maybe they won’t, but I don’t want them to steal her joy and her love.
How do I teach my anxious, introverted daughter not to be all the things I don’t know how not to be, without telling her that she’s bad or broken? I never want her “others” to win. I just want her to be happy and whole… I want her to be anything but me.
Freedom from… anxiety.
Freedom from… introversion.
Freedom from…. me.