“Follow your inner moonlight; don’t hide the madness.”
 – Allen Ginsberg

So I was chatting with my mentor, the amazing Leslie Kerrigan of Seniorologie, and I was telling her how I struggle with exposing the real me online. See exposing just rolled naturally off my fingertips. That's a word that evokes I have been hiding something. Not really though. I unload the raw and honest parts of my life on my personal blog, Dancing in a Hurricane. I come from the old school thought that you keep personal and business separate right? When Instagram came out there was the big questions - do I post only my professional work on my business page? Do I post both personal images of my kids and normal life or just clients? Oh what an easy question. Somewhere someone thought it was a great idea to now put your professional photos only on your Instagram business page and then relate it to some part of your life. Oh and those photos must adhere to your aesthetic. That's right. So I have three Instagram pages - my business, personal and art. Keep up with that. That's exhausting to the point you can buy pre-made captions. Hmmmm. Is that being real? Isn't the trend now to fill your social media with authentic you? Hmmm. Isn't that why I'm supposed to ramble on about my favorite color, how long how I was at Target, what I ate for dinner, where I'm going for vacation while relating it to a client standing in the middle of a field of gold? So much surface chat. I'm a photographer, an artist - not a professional Instagram content creator. Guess I could hire one right? Do people (especially high school seniors) really care about my Target routine? I know I don't and I'm a woman. I'm gonna go with social media will never ever ever ever never ever ever show the truly authentic side of a person. Period. I'm even guilty of it and I'm probably the biggest open book I know. So here I was at the end of our conversation with a list of things to share about me. My travels was a big one. I immediately got to work. I also immediately felt this heaviness upon me. Was I being real? Huh. Real is the fact I had scrabbled on 10 post it's with "must do's". And this blog? Do I fill it with personal or just pics of my clients? What about FB? Let's not forget about that dinosaur.

I've thought about this whole Instagram/Tiktok life that I'm supposed to pursue now that my business is at full throttle again and especially that I want to focus on high school seniors. I by any means don't want to give up my families in the summer and fall either. So I was thinking. This isn't my first ride on this photography train. There once was a time I was a newborn photographer. A damn good one. I trained with Baby As Art, the top newborn photographers at the time. I won the Sizzle Award and Best Photographer with Nashville Parent. I was on the cover of a few magazines. I did exactly what I was supposed to do. Then snap. It all fell apart because I was so busy trying to do what everyone said I was supposed to do when it came to blogging, marketing and social media - although social media hadn't exploded yet. I became overwhelmed and eventually closed the doors to my business for a few years. In that time I learned a lot and made a lot of promises to myself. Now see that is what seniors need to know. Be true to you. The world will tell you constantly and remind you of who you are supposed to be. Rarely it will give you permission to be who you desire to be. That person when you look in the mirror you love with your whole heart. It will be hard at times, trust me, but the struggle will be worth it.

Here's my sharing about me.

I crawled through the Valley of the Shadow for five long years. I learned a lot about myself . To heal oneself you have to learn why you got there. To succeed you have to recognize why you failed. This is a key rule in life! I learned how I, me, myself - how I work and how my mind works. It's not typical. I'm really not a business woman. I'm a creator and an artist. My mind moves non-stop with ideas from the moment my feet hit the floor in the morning until the moment my mind burns out and I retreat to sleep. I'm happy that way. I'm not happy forcing myself to be someone I'm not. I once was that. I could still be that but I choose to not to be. I chose happiness. I chose life. I failed because I was trying constantly to keep up with the way I was supposed to do things. Never giving myself grace for failures. If you know me you know I kinda walk the line when it comes to doing what I'm supposed to. Me keeping up with the social media train (and the must do's and what not to do's) will land me back where I was and I ain't doing that.

“If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.”

– Henry David Thoreau (one of the wisest humans I've ever read)

Now that I've rambled about being someone else to keep up her advice was to really share me. Not just grown women go through what I have. I know that. I remember being a high school senior. I remember the dark days. I remember my dad asking me if I wanted to go see someone to talk to, aka therapist. I never did. I read my journal entries from that time and they get dark. I remember the pain of a broken heart. I remember the questioning of my worth. All of this happened again in my late 30's because I spent my adult life running from it all trying to be someone I am not or ever will be. This time though I met true depression at it's worst. I'm open about it. I tell my story often. I find it gives hope to those who are close to being hopeless. I was hopeless. I was suicidal. I was frozen with anxiety many days. I was lost. I felt I didn't fit in. I felt like everyone was always talking about me in a negative way.

So maybe I'll just keep walking to a different beat. Give myself grace. Leave my tiktok account lonely out there in the social media universe. It's okay. Maybe I'll throw this and that on my Instagram feed and it won't have a complete "aesthetic". If you have to force something that causes you stress and anger then it's not worth it in my world. I wonder how many times I've complained about social media to people. Too many.

So here we go with my blog that will have no rhyme or reason as well as my social media because honestly I don't have any rhyme or reason to me.