There's a reason why photographers shoot in black and white. And it's also the reason I love black and white photos the most. Because it's one of the most powerful yet simplistic mediums. You don't need to try as hard, you're not distracted by all of the colors trying to compete with the subject of the photograph - it strips everything bare, leaving you with the raw and pure essence of the photograph.
Sometimes I feel like I need to do this in my own life. Strip it bare, simplify, stop competing and comparing and just S L O W DOWN and BE.
Easier said than done.
This blogging thing, this work thing, this relationship thing, this LIFE thing can be busy, complicated and quite frankly exhausting! I feel like things are coming at me at lightning speed and as much as I prefer to be busy over bored, sometimes slowing down is exactly what I need in order to rev things up. (does that make sense?)
Although I'm way more comfortable with who I am now in my early 30's than I was in my 20's, as I try to make this blog and my brand grow I still struggle with finding my voice, my message, my confidence so that I can be successful but also come across as authentic. My thoughts can become blurred and my constant comparison can sometimes stunt my progress. (gee, thanks all of you beautiful Instagrammers!).
I've always been a nostalgic person. A song, an old photograph, a smell, a familiar taste can all transport me back to an exact moment in time, conjuring up happy memories. I've been using this nostalgia to bring me back to days that were filled with more simplicity and peace. Of long summer days on Long Beach Island when my only care in the world was what bathing suit I would wear that day.
Days of not having a phone in my hand at all times, of reading a book and actually FINISHING it, of making lanyards and bracelets out of yarn and actually having the confidence to try to sell them! Heck, I even rocked a fro-perm and felt beautiful!
Those were the days. . .
Whenever I feel overwhelmed or get into these comparison funks (and I will call it a funk because I start to second-guess everything I'm doing and shut down) I try to think back to these times that seemed more black + white, simpler and not as convoluted. I guess I use these memories as some sort of psychological comfort. The way nostalgia should be used, right!?
It's like I want to turn everything into black and white, see the rawness, the purity of life and dig deeper into who I am and really what I'm trying to accomplish - without all of the noise and clutter in my head that keeps me from believing in what I'm doing and myself. I want to go back to those days when my mind was clearer, less distracted.
So in order to s l o w d o w n and center myself more, I've decided to take some small steps towards doing this. Here's what I've come up with:
- Start the 5-Minute Journal. Have you heard of it? Neither had I, but a friend (shout-out to Morgan!) recently introduced me and I'm hooked. It's a tool (and an app) to help keep you focused on the positivity in every day. It's one entry in the morning and one at night that literally takes 5 minutes (or less) but has already helped me to feel happier and more focused. Download it. Trust me.
- Designate certain social media/email times throughout the day. This one is tough, but have you ever noticed that when you're stopped still for even a minute, you automatically grab your phone and catch up on emails or social media? Even when you're just standing in line or walking to work. Instead, I want to designate a few times throughout the day when I will do my social media catch- up - like right after lunch, or right when I get home from work. Instead of right when I wake up and right before bed. Think of all you're missing with your head buried in your phone!!
- Purge 1-2 items a week in your home or office that you no longer have use for. More stuff = more clutter, more mess, more to clean up. S I M P L I F Y .
- Take one moment every day for yourself. Even if it's 10 minutes. Take a longer shower, sit in the courtyard, read a magazine. And leave your phone behind.
- Stop comparing. Start doing. Instead of comparing myself to other bloggers and stylists, I have been reaching out to the ones I admire more. It's actually amazing how responsive people are and how supportive this industry can be. I need to stop using it as an excuse that's holding me back and leverage the amazing people who are willing to help!
- Stop thinking so hard and start being. This is by far the hardest for me. I tend to second-guess every word I write or picture I post. I need to post it and forget it. I spend waaay too much time agonizing over things - which actually prevents me from enjoying the moment that I'm in.
This is just a start but you see where I'm going with this.
So as the weekend approaches I will be trying my best to practice this black + white approach - to see things in a more pure form, to work on being less distracted and more real. To stop trying so hard and just be myself. Who knows, maybe that's what's been holding me back the whole time.