A little chat about WAKING UP: Why I've recently been a real Grinch, in both good ways and bad.
10:34 PM

This is going to be a rambler, I can feel it.

New Sara Barielles playing in the background, the dog is asleep, nothing is in my way, so I'm gonna ramble. Hold onto your knickers.

I need to talk about waking up.

Quick story for you, before things get too profound. I don't know about you, but I'm not a morning person. I'm not a bright, bubbly, "Oh the birds are singing!" kind of a person. I'm a "shoot the birds and close the blinds, I'll see you next week" if you're lucky enough to get more out of me than a muffled groan in protest. I have to, have to set an alarm. Two alarms. Three alarms. It's alarming how many alarms I actually set (har har). These are alarms on my phone, and I usually leave my phone far away from my bed to ensure my zombie self gets up and at'em to turn them off, hopefully and optimistically assuming that at some point in my journey I will WAKE UP. This... doesn't always happen. I'll bolt out of bed at the most undecent hour, turn off the alarm (snooze), and crash back into bed. Cue: the dance of the thousand snooze buttons.

Now. The sleeping wonder that (unfortunately) shares the bed with me does not appreciate this morning routine. I want to say that I've gotten better lately, but he'll protest otherwise I'm sure. It's as though I don't have any conscious thoughts about actually staying awake after getting out of bed; I autopilot back under the sheets and have no conscious choice but to obey my body. It's ridiculous. It's not normal. Is it? Let a sister know.

The connection for this morning-glory story to the aformentioned profoundness is that... in recent weeks...

I've woken up.

This... is profound. I've woken up... creatively, business-wise, idea-wise, ambition-wise; I've woken up wanting to push again. Push? At what? Oh, that little thing that I forgot I love to do. That, my friends, is as sincere as I can get with a snoring dog drooling on my toes: I FORGOT I loved photography. Totally forgot that the subtle focus of rain drops on kittens (wait, what?) and toothy, gleeful grins that get my heart racing and eyes shining. I love what I do. And I do it, because I love it.

So where have I been before this revelation of epic proportions? Drowning in self-pity, in my negative levels of self-assuredness, drowning in the complete disbelief in myself and my talent. I decided that because I'm not making a million dollars and taking photographs of Miley Cyrus twerking, I'm not worth a single penny of anyone's thoughts or business. This is just insane thinking, folks (much like the a fore-mentioned performance of the fallen Disney star). Insane.

If you can't believe in yourself, WHO CAN?!

I can assure you: caps were needed in that last sentence.

So lets flash forward: how did I wake up? It was a normal day, totally unexpected; out of nowhere, my heart filled with something other than self-hate. I suddenly went OH. Weddings. Love. Light. Love. Photography... love? Love.

A friend has been diligently tweeting and posting over at her wedding planning blog, and I had read a tweet or two that morning. My head got thinking, my heart got beating, and I made a plan to get off the train and buy a wedding magazine. I had a wedding to shoot in the next week or so at this point, so I figured, inspiration is needed anyways. Magazines: expensive! But am I really prepared to say that my inspiration, my love and pride in myself, isn't really worth $6? If there were any moment in which to spend some cash, this was it. I bought my shiny, beautifully-bound WeddingBells and hugged it like a bomb that would explode if I let go.

As I skimmed slowly through those slick pages, my heart opened up again. I kid you not, it's as though I had closed a door inside me somewhere, locked it up, and hung up a sign that said "Given up; try again later". Down goes the sign, and I'm off running through pages and pages of glossy, gorgeous inspiration. It was a real Grinch moment: heart growing so big, it was bound to burst out in a rowdy rendition of Here Comes The Sun.

And that was it.

I went home and blogged (hence the sudden re-appearance, I'm sure you noticed that). I blogged and I edited and I planned. I emailed clients that I hadn't scheduled yet. I emailed old friends and made plans. I organized. I fantasized. I woke up.

I shot the wedding that I had been nervous about, and it was amazing. So inspirational and wonderful. I've since had several shoots, and two more coming up this weekend. I've got new projects planned. I've got ideas. I've got aspirations. I may not be where I want to be yet, but I am closer now with my heart open and my eyes focused. I don't know what made me suddenly snap that morning (the wedding tweets, a bad batch of coffee? Who's to say, really.) but I am so thankful for my change of heart. This, I feel, is what I'm meant to do. One way or another... I will inspire others, and continue to amaze myself with the possibilities ahead of me.

Profound, right? I told you so.

NOW: The homework.
I normally don't care about this side of the blogging business, but I would love love love if you would leave a comment about a struggle you've had lately. About a great morning of triumph over your bad thoughts. A quip about some bad coffee. Don't care; comment. It would mean the world to my tiny brain and over-sized heart that is now full of love, love, love.


retro_rose said...

You've always been amazing Hil.

Jillian Lisa said...

This was really lovely to ready Hilary! I think we all struggle, especially in arts-driven careers. Ultimately though, I am excited for my career in music and I am SO happy that you have become more inspired than ever to keep shooting. Looking forward to more posts :)

Jill (lake RA!)

Robynne Henry said...

Just stating for the record: you have been, and always will be amazing. I loved reading this blog post, it really felt like I was talking to you and listening to you face to face.
My struggle, as of late, is also doubting myself when it came to something I love. I doubted my writing, the thing I want to make into my own career.
My Ah HA moment came late at night while I was scouring the net, envying a writer or two in the process when someone messaged me.
They asked me my opinion on a book I haven't reviewed yet for my own blog, and if I'd seen the movie yet. I admitted I hadn't, because I was in the process of reading the book. She told me that we had the same taste in books, and had thought of me when she thought of seeing the movie.
I also had a friend message me about some books that are in need of a good home, and she said she thought of me first because of my blog and that I'm a reader.
It was what made me realize not only were people 'reading' me, but they trust me.
It made me sore, and lit a fire under me.
Not only do I want to continue to move toward becoming a better writer, but I want to continue my blog.
Keep up all the good work, Hilary! I, for one, love seeing your growth and new ideas. <3

mllryc said...

&dear friend who has graciously awaken and has always been an inspiration of mine, this diligent friend of yours woke up discouraged this morning. i could explain my discouragements, but i already have. and though far a part, we never miss a beat. it's hard to be inspired and on top of things when you have no idea where it's all going. but even you who had locked up recently, have always been bolder about your dreams. today it is my turn to have needed the pep talk from your blog. have an amazing day hilary and open your eyes and your heart to every magical moment you are so great at capturing. and today, see all those amazing things for me too. cause i want to pull the sheets over my head this very morning and call it a day already. xo. i'll see you soon darlin <3.

Courtney said...

My dearest Hilary,

From the day I first saw your work, I was in love. Your keen eye, your passion, your drive; it was always there and so you. Like a musician who's voice you can recognize without being told who it is, your work is specifically yours. And it's beautiful. I am so so glad that you've fallen back in love with yourself and your work. It breaks my heart that you ever lost it, but sometimes we have to lose to realize how valuable and vital it is to our entire existence. It also hurts my heart that I had no idea you were feeling this way. And cue my own awakening...

I'm tired. Mostly of being tired. But also of feeling lonely. I have so many wonderful people in my life, but I don't see them or speak to them nearly enough. I also don't share my truths often enough and let myself feel genuinely. So I'm going to. I'm going to change to feel better about me. And I'm going to change to spend more time and effort on those who matter. Those beautiful, ridiculous, weird, and perfect people I call my friends, they're getting more me time. It's somewhat selfish, because I need them, but I hope that we all feed off of each other. (P.s. this includes you). I find myself thinking of friends often, but never even bother to text and let them know that. So enough is enough. A change is gonna come and the time is now.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts so eloquently, as always, and please never lose that passion of yours. It's far too beautiful.

XO Court

Hilary Spencer said...

I am sick, sick, SICK as a dog (colds come out of nowhere!), but reading these comments made my day. Blogger won't let me comment back specifically to each one, but thank you to everyone who have ultimately affirmed my love for the arts, and writing (which I have always been back and forth about). You are all wonderfully talented people and I am so so glad to be able to call you my friends, and that I can help in any way with motivating your hearts. <3

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