Not Everybody Wants To See You Succeed.
First of all, I just want to say that I decided to write this because I share a lot of the super happy, wonderful, golden light filled parts of this journey to becoming a 100% fully self employed photographer, and I don't share very many of the struggles. This one's going to be categorized as a struggle. If you don't want to read about that, I have lots of other posts on this blog to entertain you.
So, there's this dumb feeling that's sort of been eating away at me lately, and I'm not entirely sure of it's validity. But nonetheless, it's something I haven't been able to get off my mind, and I feel like I need to word vomit it out. So, here I am at 9:17 on a Saturday night, here to tell you about my most current struggle in this business:
I'm way too busy and I can't please everyone.
I'm a people pleaser. I always have been, and now I've been working retail for almost a year and that has somewhat amplified that part of me. I want to be that awesome, super successful person who works and supports themselves and creates this amazing business for myself AND manages to meet the needs of all the important people in my life, but I'm starting to realize that it's just not possible. A few days in to October, I wrote out my whole month on a calendar. I filled in all my shifts at work (37ish hours a week), the shoots I've booked, and the previous commitments I'd already had before the month started, and what was left scared me. As it currently stands, I literally only have 3 days left in the whole month where I'm not committing my time to someone else.
This is both a good and a bad thing: good, because I'm starting to notice visible growth in my business, and people's interest in booking me has multiplied. That makes me so fricking happy. I literally get all weird and throw my arms around in excitement every time I book another shoot and get another client that wants my services because they love what I do. That is honestly one of the best feelings in the world. However, it's bad, because I have to throw a lot of other parts of my life on the back burner. Sleep (what is that again?), diet (ask me how many bags of frozen tator tots I've consumed lately, the answer will shock you), and last, but not least, an ever looming social life.
The social aspect of my life has taken a total 180 in the past couple years. In college, I worked 15 hours a week and went to school with all of my friends anyways, so a social life came so easy to me. College sort of felt like a 2 year long social event, and that was awesome. I loved that part of my life and I have some of the greatest college memories. However, since then, my life has begun to mold and shape itself into something entirely different. Bills and rent made taking on a full time job necessary (by the way, I love my job, and it's awesome and totally not a burden at all), and a growing clientele made my "extra time" even more slim. So, a social life isn't as important to me as it used to be. Sometimes (actually, a lot of the time) I have to say no to various invites because I either have work, or a shoot, or things to edit and finish in a timely manner. Or if we're being completely candid here, sometimes I just want to sit in my pajamas until 1 PM and maybe not shower for a day and catch up on Grey's Anatomy and I'm sorry, I just want to blow off my social life because sometimes my alone time is just a little more important. Sue me.
This is not meant to rant about my own personal lack of time, though. My point here is that in the past year or so of my life, as my business grows, I've started to also feel a lot of pushback from people who I thought supported me. All of a sudden, the people who wanted my success, now resent me for it. Without sounding like I'm getting a big head, the cause and effect happens like this: the more things I book, the less time I have for others, and the less time I have for others, the less support I receive. Seems sort of silly, right?
Sometimes, I have to just say, "I'm sorry, I really wish I could make it, but I have (insert task here) to do and that is more important to me right now."
People do not like to hear that something else is more important than they are. It's a negative response and inherently we don't love hearing negative things. However, I'd love nothing more than to hear "that's okay, I'm happy that you're working towards your goals and I want you to be successful, so no worries!" It's not often a response I get though. A lot of people react in silence or passiveness towards the fact that I can't make time for them. Believe me, I wish there were more hours in the day to make it all happen, but there's not, and I can't change that, and I've made a choice for myself that requires sacrifice, unfortunately.
If I'm being totally honest, I've never felt the cold shoulder more than I have lately, and it comes at the same time that my schedule has filled twofold. It's something really hard to stomach. It feels lonely sometimes, and hopeless, and kind of awful, and more than anything it leaves this pit in my stomach with the realization that not everyone is there for me. Not everyone is on my side, and not everyone wants to see me win in life. I can put happiness and success and good vibes out all I want, and never receive them back. More and more I'm starting to feel like I'm walking down this path more alone than I realized.
You can't make everyone love you. I get that. Not everyone is going to want to see you get ahead. There are always people that want to knock you down or set you back or not get behind the things that you are striving for in life, and that's a hard pill to swallow. It's the feeling of putting something positive out there, and having that positivity pushed right back with a negative response. It's tense and awful and there's no relief to it, because as easy as it would be to lash out and speak my feelings in a unarticulated way, that's not the kind of person I want to be. I am trying so incredibly hard to be the bigger person, and choose to not let negativity get to me, but we're all human and at the end of the day, I'm writing this blog post to get it all off my chest and find some kind of relief from this little thing that's been on my mind lately.
What I'm trying to say is that it's really hard to cope with people who do not want the best for you, or aren't happy to see you happy. I'm still trying to find balance in my life, and I'm starting to find out what things or people have become higher or lower priorities. I think this is that part where your dad sits you down and tells you " that's just life; it's part of growing up and not everyone is going to like you."
Not everyone wants to see you succeed. And I don't know if I'm totally okay with that yet but I'm working on being okay with it. It's all a process.
PS: There are some seriously incredible people in my life that DO support me endlessly and want nothing but the best of me, and although that number of people isn't as big as I realized it was, it's quality over quantity, and regardless of everything I've mentioned previously, I have the most kickass support system. So, to those who have pushed me forward in the past couple years, seriously, THANK YOU. You are all the best.
(Also, shoutout to my mom who always leaves nice comments on my photos. Thanks, mom.)