Overwhelmed, Overworked, + OVER It
I was so overwhelmed.
For years I have worked diligently on taking my side photography business to the next level. At the beginning of the summer my sweet, amazing, supportive husband and I had a sit-down-come-to-Jesus talk about finally going full-time with photography. He said "go for it" and that was all I needed. I took off at a incredibly fast pace, setting up booths at every vendor event I could get my hands on; meeting incredible women who also own their own businesses to collaborate on cool projects; and living, breathing and dreaming nothing but photography. On top of all that I was holding down a full-time job - a job that had me wearing out my poor Countryman driving her from as far away as Lancaster and Spartanburg three days a week calling on ob/gyn offices and spending the other two days in an office with a phone glued to my head. There was nothing wrong with the job - it would be perfect for some but it was far from perfect for me - especially as I constantly found myself pulling over to write down another idea for my business or daydreaming about decorating my studio. Did I mention my husband and I are also pretty newly married and I felt like this state of constant work and no play with me glued to my Mac Book wasn't the ideal situation for us. My husband is incredibly encouraging and supportive however I felt like I was being a bad wife as I had my hands in so many different things. I felt like I was drowning and, despite being on preventative medication for it, I was having panic attacks again (I've had them off and on since college). I would think of my growing to-do list and immediately feel like I couldn't breathe. When my husband and I would talk about it I found myself not being able to explain very clearly to him how truly overwhelmed and physically and mentally exhausted I was. Sometimes all I could manage was "It's just too much. It's just WAY too much."
A few months ago we had a miscarriage. We weren't trying and I didn't even know I was pregnant until it was too late. I blamed myself. Had I drank too much wine? Was I working out too much despite all the evidence that this has no effect if you are healthy? Was I too stressed to carry a pregnancy? Deep sadness crept in and I found myself pulling my car over to cry uncontrollably. I even had to leave Harris Teeter one day because I saw the most adorable woman with the cutest pregnant belly all happy and full of smiles at the check out. I lost it and don't even know how I saw through my tears to drive the two miles back to our house. I took long baths and just cried and cried with the water running so my husband couldn't hear me sobbing. I didn't want him to know the hurt and sadness I was feeling. To make matters worse my day job literally consisted of saying the words "pregnancy" and "miscarriage" over and over again so there was no forgetting. My hormones, my feelings, my thoughts, my body, EVERYTHING was out of control and out of whack.
Despite all this I was terrified to quit my 9-5 job. That would mean no steady paycheck of course but it would also mean having to face the consequences of leaving. I've always been afraid of letting people down. It's probably my best trait and my worst all in one. (I'm talking I stayed in a relationship with a guy for a year longer than I should have because I was afraid of how he'd react when I broke up with him). But this week I decided I had to do it - I had to leave. This was TOO MUCH. This was my life and I was tired of living it just to please other people instead of pleasing myself. So, yesterday I cleaned out the back of my Countryman which was full of marketing materials and all the other things that come with being a traveling sales rep. Today I replaced those items with MY Laurel Belle Photography marketing materials - MY gorgeous lay flat panoramic albums, MY canvas prints, MY brochures... all these beautiful things that I have created by developing relationships with great clients.
I don't know what all this great adventure will have in store for me but I am so excited to begin this journey. I'm excited to have the gift of time back in my life - to be able to spend more time with my husband, more time with my mom, more time with friends, more time taking Barre and watching movies and doing the things I love with the people I love. I'm thrilled to be able to do more with my photography now that I have so much more time to really invest in it.
Thank you all for following along on this journey with me and for helping me to build my business to the point that I can finally really do what I love completely. Thank you for telling your friends about me, for coming back to me again and again, for letting me into your homes and into your lives and getting to know you as you've gotten to know me. Thank you for not only loving my work but for loving me and for giving me the best gift in the world - your love and appreciation of the memories we create together.