Recently, a friend of mine invited me to a cookie exchange party. The idea is that you bake a bunch of cookies, everyone else bakes a bunch of cookies, and then you trade! What's not to love?? I immediately had visions of these totally adorable red and green pinwheel cookies that were on the cover of my most recent Food Network magazine. The recipe looked simple enough and they were the 'picture perfect' cookie, so I decided to go for it. I'd put on an apron, be housewife-y, and make gorgeous cookies...that I would of course photograph!
I do not have photo evidence of my 'picture perfect' cookies however, because, to be honest, they were FAR from picture perfect. In fact, they didn't even make it past the dough ball stage. There were SO many steps. Measuring, mixing, dividing, coloring, chilling, rolling, cutting, rolling, cutting... after spending hours on the process only to pull my (not red enough, and not green enough) dough balls out of the fridge to find them TOO chilled and unable to roll out, I was filled with a rage that was kind of comical and I threw them with considerable force into the pit of my flour-covered trash can. I wound up bringing some much easier Snickerdoodles to the party in the end, but I tried one later and really hope that the other guests hadn't broken a tooth on them.
I was joking about my cookie fail with one of my amazing clients the next day and she said something that made me have an epiphany! She said she hates baking so she just ROCKS some no-bake Oreo Truffle Balls and calls it a day. I called her a genius and told myself that I would most definitely be doing that the next time....which would be very soon because I wanted to make some goodies for our neighbors.
It dawned on me that day that I actually HATE baking. H-A-T-E it. Why was I doing something I hated? Was it to impress other people? Not really, but I'm sure that thought I wouldn't have minded if the other guests ooh-ed and ahhh-ed over my cookies. Was it to be perfect? No, not that either (although I am definitely a recovering perfectionist!). After thinking about it a little bit, I realized that I had tried the recipe because I was INSPIRED.
Inspiration can sometimes strike spontaneously, but perhaps more often, it comes from seeing someone else try something that you think is cool. It makes you want to try it too! Those picture perfect cookies inspired me and some crazy part of me thought it might be fun to try.
But I forgot a very important part of the recipe- ME!
I found myself in retrospect admiring my client for finding a way to participate in something fun without doing something she didn't like to do. She was staying true to herself and totally owning it. I probably would have been a lot less stressed out that weekend if I had just done something that was a lot more manageable for me.
The cookie incident got me thinking about how other times I have been inspired and failed and, conversely, times I have been inspired and succeeded. There have been times during a photography session when someone asks me to do something and I give it a shot, but the results just don't live up to my expectations. Or sometimes, I see someone else try something and I love it, only to find out that my attempt falls flat. On the other hand, when I completely rock at something I had envisioned in my head, I leave a session on a complete high!
Just like the cookies, the difference maker is me. Knowing myself and knowing my style. And staying true to myself.
My latest session was for a local photographer whose work I admire very much (stay tuned for that blog post soon!). I admitted to my husband before the session that I was a little nervous. What if she doesn't like my work? What if it doesn't live up to her expectations? What if, what if, what if? He just said simply, "Be yourself! That's why she hired you!" And so I did! And guess what? The session went so well and I was really proud of my work. I know that this was because I was using all my creative and inspired energy, but MY way. Not what I thought someone else would want and not worried about what someone else might think.
Here are a few of my not-so-perfect photos of me and my oldest, Charlotte, 'baking' our not-so-perfect, yet quite delicious Oreo Truffle Balls for our neighbors. Being myself. Having fun. Creating...
...and being inspired.
The food processor broke so we had to use the blender. Lila was having a complete meltdown at my feet (note to self- do NOT run the blender during naptime!!). It was messy. But it was all stuff I could manage because I wasn't trying to be something I wasn't (aka Betty Crocker). We had a great time and we made some sweet memories.
I hope that you try something new in 2017...maybe you succeed, maybe you fail... but just remember, not to lose sight of yourself in the process. That would be the only way you can truly fail.
I'm wishing all of you a inspired holiday season that is perfectly YOU.
Interested in having a photography session that captures your family or newborn baby in a way that is perfectly YOU? Contact me to book a session today :)