Looking Back - 2015 to Today
Self Portraiture has been a huge part of my life. Through imagery I found myself. I love looking back at those images and seeing how far I have come - in confidence, body image, and skill.
2015 was the year of even bigger changes than the ones we had made before. Not much could have prepared me for it.
- We got married.
- We traveled again to BC (different area this time).
- We moved back to our hometown, staying with my in-laws.
- My blog became self hosted.
- We started house-sitting for different people.
- I cut out some toxic influencers from my life.
- Kevin went through an interview process and got hired.
- We packed a UHaul, drove into another country, and settled into Wisconsin.
- My self portraits grew as I did.
At the beginning of the year I posted portraits with no text or just a few lines. By April, I started to write a lot of words to accompany the images. I shot outside more and sometimes with people (though usually spur of the moment and not well captured). I have lots posts dedicated to the individual shots I captured and I am very proud of them!
My favorites, of course, are of Kevin and I. Left is from our trip to Revelstoke, BC. Right is from our first visit to Kevin's new place of work. Looking back I am amazed at how well all these shoots turned out, I was still using my camera remote and self timer. Both were slow and hard to predict and required a lot of patience.
One of the hardest part about moving to Wisconsin was the realization of finances. If you've read all the posts in this series, you'll have notice an underlining note about money and depression. It was Christmas 2015 when we really sat down and took a look at where we were financially. Truthfully the number was astounding to me. It suddenly felt like everything we had done financially those 4 years of school was a HUGE mistake. Except that it wasn't. Maybe I would have slowed down on buying new clothes or going to Starbucks if I had better understood our finances, but the travel and experiences were so worth it. We were very lucky to be able to do all the things we have done.
Stepping into 2016, we had a plan to knock that debt in the teeth. Did we? Not really... It's a snowball effect as I am sure you've heard. Once you decide to start the number is huge and it takes time to get the ball moving and to see those numbers change. However our spending changed drastically, specifically mine.
In all of 2016 I bought only 2 pieces of clothing and that was to replace old ones. Now spending almost 99% of my time at home, Starbucks felt silly (also the calorie count of a Starbucks drink, not worth it). Minimalism became a popular thing and I took to it quickly. I don't strictly call myself a minimalist, but it has changed how I shop and spend our money. Being unable to work, there was no way to make extra money. Being in a new country with no credit score meant we had no back up if we fell short on anything in the month. Every penny needed to be accounted for, we were adults and the safety net was no longer there.
My writing got serious because I was home so much. I was home so much because depression reared it's ugly head and leaving became almost impossible. Mental health was just something I had heard of but didn't really understand and this year I started to learn. So everything I wrote and the images I capture to place beside those words all have some deeply attached feelings. You can see them all here.
One of the goals I set for 2017 was to grow as a photographer. The year is far from over and I have already grown so much. From chopping off my hair, to taking photos of yoga, to playing with my lighting, to seeing a therapist and being diagnosed with depression and anxiety. I am learning. I am learning that I am a kind person, who feels deep things. I am a creator, who is evolving. Self portraits are my strength. Writing is a passion.
Within that comes the desire to have others come to love themselves through the photography. Maybe one day I'll host my own weekly portraits and inspire someone in their journey of self discovery and self love. For today, I'll keep learning to love who I am inside and out.