Last week was a struggle for me and if I were totally honest this weekend was a bit much as well. Trying to balance it all as super mom, entrepreneur, sister, and friend sometimes wears me down to my core. As a mom, I’m thinking ahead that Christmas is coming, how will the new presidency affect my business, and how to survive during the slow months of photography December to early February. You look at the numbers from last year and projections for this month and you realize that all you have left is mustard size faith and hope that he’ll make a way as he always does. People ask me all the time, “How do you do it all?” The reality is that I don’t have a choice NOT to do it all. Every morning I wake up check the accounts for payments received and expenses paid out, inquiries, and emails received from clients. Sometimes it’s a happy morning and sometimes it like let’s pray the lights are on at the end of the month. That’s my truth. I run a business completely funded by other people. I don’t have a direct deposit or employer. People think that this life is grand. Sometimes it’s not. I’m out hustling books, photos, and everything in between trying to make the ends meet.
Lately, my thoughts have been maybe it’s time to return to the classroom or get a real job. Trust me I’ve thought about it on more than one occasion. Embarrassed that I would have to tell people, “oh, I took this huge leap of faith and now I have to go back to work because I can’t afford the inconsistency of my career.” God has been with me on every corner and every decision. I believe that he puts us in these difficult places not only to test our faith but build our endurance.
It takes so much to keep trying to break into an industry where sometimes I’m the only African-American speaker or one of less than five at a conference or workshop. I ask God, “why me?”. Why me to try to break the glass ceiling of an industry where I’m clearly outnumbered and under represented. I’m getting bruised and beat up mentally receiving denial after denial speaker applications (that’s if I receive a response). Most times without an explanation. Just a “thank you for applying”. Keep pushing they say. It will get better. And it does but sometimes those no’s sting especially when I’m seeing entire panels of speakers without one person of color. I want to say, we have a voice and deserve to be heard too. Sometimes I think my tears fall in a forest in which no one resides except for me, my camera, and journal.
Then I meet people on the journey that give you a chance and say, you are important to me and you are valued. And that’s what United was to me last week. Finally, an opportunity to share my love of senior photography to others. For that I will always be a Showiteer (a Showit user) not only because of the opportunity but because the love, support, and unlimited hugs are just the icing on the cake. It’s the late night emails and inboxes of “I have your back” that mean the world to me. Sometimes, I’m walking on this journey alone but God has this thing about putting people in your corner to give you everything you need and more. That’s what United is to me: my extended family. There’s not another place on this earth that love my children as much as they love me. It’s the embodiment of community of competition and spirit of you have a place here. Yes, the speakers are great but let’s be honest you can see speakers anywhere. What you can’t get is the love, encouragement, and hugs that says you belong here and no matter what happens I support you and believe that you are more than enough. No superheroes just the Super-Showiteers.
Thank you to Todd and the entire Showit Squad for your support.
P.S. This blog post was really for me but maybe someone else needed it too. Sometimes we get into the habit of looking into the other lane to see what other people are doing and are left feeling inadequate. Tonight, I needed to remind myself that I am enough and God doesn’t create perfect people. Every speaker denial letter was just his way of saying, “I know the path that I have for you.” Reality is that I can’t be any further along on this journey than where he would have me be and when I get weary to lean in and hear his voice. If you’re feeling defeated, here’s a prayer for you:
Thank you for being God all by yourself. Sometimes life kicks me down and I don’t feel
adequate enough. Allow me to rest in your peace when the world around me
isn’t a happy place. Allow me God not to compare myself
to others but understand that you created me in your vision
and regardless of what the obstacles I face, I know that I am
wonderfully made and beautiful in your sight. Father, give me the strength to
keep on fighting and finish this race. Allow me to stay in my own lane
and not to be concerned with my “opponents”.
In Jesus Name,
Here’s a few photos of my time in Phoenix during United!