Intention and self-care.
For those of you who know me actively in your life will know that I struggle to say no. I very easily get myself involved in activities, events, jobs and more, because I have an irrevocable fear of letting people down. For so many years, I have lived my life to please other people, because I am terrified of disappointing others. This is a bad habit I have gotten myself in, because while it's important to care for others and live selflessly, if you are first not looking after yourself and ensuring your wellbeing is substantial before sacrificing energy, time, finances and resources for the wellbeing of others, you will wear yourself out very quickly and very easily. For example:
In the beginning of the year, I found myself majorly sick about three times. First, when I left home. Second, about 3 weeks into bible college. Third, about 9 weeks into bible college. The first time, I was so exhausted, physically and emotionally, and so tired that I slept for two straight days. The second time, I had a migraine for an entire week yet still pushed through the pain to be at college and do my field work hours because I didn't want to let the team down. And third, after a crazy week, I spent my Sunday night and Monday morning throwing up for about 12 straight hours. The next day I was moving furniture around to prepare for Karrah and Jen's visit the next day. Coming back from the USA, I discovered that I had caught glandular fever, was severely iron deficient/borderline iron-deficient anaemic (which is still a continual struggle) and had a really bad flu. Little to say, I was stuck in bed for close to 10 days, which did not make the process of missing David much easier either. I watched 3 seasons of LOST within those 10 days and was losing my mind.
These were all a result of me doing more than my what I know my capacity enabled me to do, and of my struggle in saying "no, I'm sorry I'm flat out busy this week, I can't fit that in". Deep at the core of what I believe in and what I do, is the happiness of other people, and anything I can do to help others attain some sort of joy, I will do. Whether that means taking their photo, taking their kids photos, having coffee with a friend, running an errand, cleaning the house whatever it may be, I'll do what I have to do to make someones day. On the back end of that though, here is me, an often sleep deprived (but not sleep deprived because I can never find the energy to get out of bed), rushed, over-anxious and mostly stressed person, who is 1/4 of the person I truly am.
Truth is, I am not the best person I can be for myself, OR for the others around me when I am doing this. I have to learn that people would prefer me at my best, then prefer me as half of who I can be because I am overloaded and way over capacity. Think of me as a little piece of butter (this sounds stupid but hear me out), I am only as much as a teaspoon. On a piece of bread, I can comfortably create a nice layer that goes to the corners and fills the entire surface area of the slice. On 2 pieces of bread, you can expect a thinner layer that may not necessarily reach the edges. On 10 pieces of bread, you might as well forget there was even any butter to begin with.
That is me: I can not double my quantity, I have to work with what I am and what I can carry at a single time. If I spread myself too thinly, I become ineffective.
Right now, this is me saying no. No, I will not continue my 365. No, I will not take on unpaid work anymore. No, I will not do "fun" shoots for the sake of it. No, I will not discount you anymore on the shoot you asked me to do for you, because I also have bills to pay. No, I will not settle for anything less than what I know I deserve. No, I will not be unsatisfied with my photography anymore. When I begin to stand up to myself, for myself, I start feeling like I'm working a little bit closer to being the full Kiara, not just a 1/4 of Kiara.
My 365 lasted 24 days? Okay I failed a 365, and I failed it pretty badly if you ask me, didn't even make it a whole month in. On whose accord did I fail? I think starting and now quitting a second one is the best decision I have made. I prefer to have quit now and made a decision to be more intentional about the art I create, then find myself become lazy and sloppy and taking photos for the sake of it, to please everyone else. While I am sad that I may have let other people down by doing this, I am learning to be okay with making mistakes and not being perfect. I'll be a much better artist when I am intentional about what I want to create. That's why I started this 365 project, because I was obsessed with being spontaneous. But spontaneity is not me at all. I am obsessive, structured, organised, particular on detail, picky and have a very high standard. I found myself doing what everyone else was doing, and that works for them but it does not work for me anymore. I had to start that 365 project to realise that because otherwise I wouldn't have. Now I know, and now I feel like I'm opening up this door of potential for incredible art that is going to flow through me like it never has before. Because I am choosing to be intentional about what photographs I take.
Currently, I have almost an entire hard-drive of images to edit, sort, backup, upload, send, and I am going to pull all of my hair out because I did this to myself! I let things get so insane and I am now putting a stop to it. I cannot keep spreading myself so thinly.
From the 20th of September until 2016, I will no longer be taking on any clients or booking in any new shoots. Meaning, if you want to book me in for some work, now is the time to do so. I can't keep doing things for other people when I can't even make the time to do things for myself. October and November I am on the road; Brisbane, Gold Coast, Vietnam, Cambodia, Gold Coast, Sydney, Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and maybe even New Zealand. The last thing I'm going to want to think of is booking in any new work. I can't give half of myself and my work to people who deserve the full 100%.
None of this is said out of resentment or frustration, please understand it is said purely out of love. I love you and all the people in my life, those who follow my photography, and anyone who may be reading this enough, to want to give you the best version of me possible: not 1/4, not 1/2 but the best, most energetic, excited, confident, free and content version of Kiara that I know I can be. Only then, can I truly love other people effectively, the way I know I have been given the responsibility to.
For the next months, expect to see one shoot a fortnight. A set of images that will be INTENTIONALLY structured, planned, designed and co-ordinated, with proper design, set, costume, concept and all the rest. That is the level I need to be at now, not just running around every day thinking of what I can make look pretty. Somedays that is okay, but that becomes laziness after a while.
I am sorry for failing my 365 by expectation of what a 365 should entail, but if you ask me, I think I succeeded. It has served its purpose. It gave me a boost, a head start and a new vision for the next season of my life.
I'm ready to be more intentional and care for myself a little better. I'm not longer doing things for the sake of doing them. Only now, can I be all I have been called to be.