I’ve been debating with myself about whether I wanted to write this post this year. Each year I take some time out to reflect on the year that has passed. That time has well and truly come and I fear that this is going to be a long piece of writing. One that will be hard to write; one that will leave me feeling rather vulnerable. One that will not be a light-hearted read. So this is my disclaimer; stop here if you’d rather read something merry. The truth is, this year is one that I would happily let pass by as soon as possible and leave behind. It was without a doubt, the hardest year of my life so far.
It started off well. I went home to Australia where I was able to spend some much needed quality time with my family and friends. My family threw a surprise party for my 30th, inviting all my friends without me knowing. It was surprising and wonderful. I feel truly blessed for the family I was born into. They say you can’t choose your family, but if I could, I would choose mine, a hundred times over. Cliché I know, but 100% true.
But I digress; the trip to Oz was amazing. I travelled to Byron Bay – somewhere I had always wanted to go. I attended the most amazing film photography workshop, connected with like-minded creatives and I even managed to cross off sky diving from my bucket list in Byron Bay. What a place to do it! Although I still felt I had a long way to go and a never-ending list of things to do, I started the year feeling proud of where I’d come with Kytography and I felt positive about the direction of my business.
Before I left for Australia, I met someone. He caught me by surprise but we kept in contact everyday and little did I know the journey I was about to experience. Over the next few months our lives became so intertwined. Despite both of our busy schedules, we spent a lot of time together, and when we weren’t together there were constant texts, emails, phone calls. In each other’s presence, we were completely oblivious to the rest of the World. He brought light into my life and made me feel so special every single day. For the first time in a long time I let my barriers down and I felt alive again. Little did I know that in a matter of 6 months, the intense happiness that I was feeling, would be replaced by a darkness riddled with so much confusion, heartache and loss.
He passed away in June. It was sudden. And whilst there is so much more to the story that makes it even more heartbreaking, this isn’t really the forum for it. But I can firmly say it is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to deal with. It’s been a whirlwind of emotions since. For a while I became stagnant. I felt completely lost but I did what I could to find my way. I threw myself into work, filled every minute with activity and subsequently, completely burned myself out. I can only say this in retrospect, as I sit here by myself on a train from LA to San Diego – time alone so very much needed. There is a certain power that comes with solitude. It is in that space that I find the capacity to listen to my own voice and take ownership of my feelings and ideas. I never gave myself proper time and space to honour the transition that life doled out to me. I just pushed myself to keep going – keeping myself busy, yet not really achieving much. I realise now that I need to give myself more ‘me’ time – time to re-charge, listen to my body and show myself some love. Because if I’m not going to do it, who will?
I’ve been on holidays for over a week now in the beautiful west coast USA. The trip marks a year since I met him and 6 months since he passed away. I can feel that I need this break in more ways than one. My body is showing visible signs of fatigue and stress and it’s only in the last couple of days that I’ve started to feel rejuvenated again. My mind also needs the time to reflect and process what I’ve been through and also to contemplate what the future may hold. I’m well and truly ready to leave 2013 behind and embrace 2014. I need to take this time to search for purpose, dream again and regain my self-confidence. I need to understand my own wants and needs and to find the strength to do what it takes for my own happiness.
Whilst this year has been hard, I’ve grown through the struggle. I’ve learnt so much about myself, about loss and the fragility of life. Every day I am still dealing with my feelings and coming to terms with having to accept things that I cannot change and also answers that I will never have. Some days are good, some not so good. But I’m stronger than I thought. I’m moving on with my life. Albeit with more scars and baggage. But I’m sure time will be my friend and surrounding myself with the right people will help me heal. A byproduct of everything that has happened this year is that I’ve learnt not to care too much about what others think – especially if they don’t know me. Because I know who I am, what I stand for, and what I deserve. And I also know this: I want to make sure that I live every day to the fullest. To continue to strive to achieve my dreams, but to also find the time to relax. A healthy balance is so important and that’s what I’m going to strive for in 2014. Usually this time of year I set a million and one goals that I must achieve and I always have high expectations for the following year, but this year I’m not going to do that. I have just three things that I want to remain mindful of:
- Continue to do what I love
- Strive for a healthy balance
- Keep perspective
I’m going to take each day as it comes with those three things in mind. You never know what tomorrow will bring, but I’m thankful for every day that I wake knowing I have the opportunity to continue to do what I love, write my story and grow. Thank you so much to my dear family and friends that were there for me through my darkest hour. Thank you to my peers for your encouragement and support. Thank you to my awesome clients who put the trust in me to capture the important moments in their lives. Those moments gave me direction and hope during a time where I felt extremely lost. Now more than ever, I know that photography is my calling. The passion for it remains a stability in my life.
I know that as a photographer I’m meant to post all my favourite images from the past year, but that can wait until I’ve had enough time to myself. Maybe mine will come at Chinese New Year 🙂
I fell apart a little this year. It’s time to pick up the pieces and put them back together. I need to find a way to create a solid whole once again – none of these band-aid fixes. Looks like that’s what 2014 is for.
If you’ve made it this far, congratulations. I told you it would be long.