The concept of life is a strange, strange thing, but I think a shift is happening. It seems that more and more people are starting to get it; to become enlightened... to realize what it's really about. Jhene Aiko is certainly one of them. I heard this song for the first time this morning, and almost immediately the tears started to flow. Not because I was sad, not because I was happy. Simply because of the truth I was hearing -- feeling -- in her words. Nothing's real... yet nothing isn't real. Everything keeps going... it'll never stop. You have to embrace it, flow with it. Take it in and live it with everything you are. Life is just... life. Life is. There's not reason not to smile.
Maybe I can use this very realization -- brought about by the overabundance of captured moments -- as a tool to help the aforementioned balancing process; to take a step back and slow it down. We experience so much, all the time. It's likely that this will always be the case. We're constantly experiencing, constantly changing. There will always be something to capture -- why take photos as though there will soon be a shortage of inspiring moments? Why take our present selves out of these beautiful moments just to get that shot? We should let ourselves capture, then let ourselves breathe. Capture, breathe; capture, breathe. There's so much around us to soak in, so let's make a point to choose certain moments to soak in fully, with all we are. Let's choose to do this more often than not.
Sometimes, though, one of those beautiful moments is the experience itself of capturing an image -- or in creating a piece of beauty that's fit to capture. An experience that would never happen if capturing were not an option.
Photos of me by Erik and Gretchen.
A good photographer has to have the somewhat innate ability to recognize what's aesthetically pleasing, and then alter his or her own perspective as well as everything about his or her subject, in order to create something that comes across as such. I am not a natural in front of a lens. Joel Henderson, on the other hand, is a freaking magician behind it.
The first two photos above were taken with his phone. HIS PHONE.
It seems right now that things are on the up for me, in all aspects of life. A few minutes ago I found myself watching all the videos I recorded in Photo Booth on my laptop in the past two years. It's incredible to think of how much I've experienced since then, and how different my life is at this point in time. But the most miraculous differences are not in where I'm living, what I'm doing for work, or anything like that.
They're in my own well being. When I look back at those videos. Holy shit. I was 15 pounds heavier, skin broken out like crazy... I just didn't look good. No, it's not about what's on the outside, but -- more often than not -- the outside is a direct reflection of the inside, and it's crazy to see.
I was stressed. I was working too hard. I was eating shit. Gluten overload and so many processed foods. I was using beauty products that were far from natural. I wasn't doing any physical activity. I was partying. I was anxious. I wasn't... truly... happy. Something was off. Everything was off. I was fearful of life. Stuck in a whirlwind that was swallowing me whole. I didn't know what to do.
I'm the least stressed I've ever been. I'm taking it easy. I'm eating so well. No grains, nothing processed. Everything from the earth. Everything the highest quality I can get. Natural beauty products galore. I work out incredibly hard 3-4 times a week. I hardly party; I certainly don't drink. Anxiety: almost fully gone. No, I'm not totally healed, but I feel happier and healthier with every waking morning. I'm getting back on track. Things are falling into place. Opportunities are arising.
Life doesn't scare me. It makes me feel excited.
You guys, this isn't just about me. This is about all of us. It's about you. Take it from me, because I've fucking been there, and I'm sure you have too. You have to take care of yourself.
You have to.
I'm not sure you're hearing me.
Take care of yourself. Every day. Put yourself first. It's not selfish -- it's just the opposite. Once you put care into yourself -- the amount of care you deserve -- everything else starts to fall into place. It becomes easier, more natural, to care for those around you. The love just flows. You don't have to try.
Making the shift -- the conscious decision -- to take care of yourself... is one of the most difficult things you'll ever do.
Maybe you're reading these words and nodding your head. Maybe you know you need to put more care into yourself. Your body. Your life.
But will you do it? Nod with me. Smile. Make the decision right now, and fucking put that idea into action. Your life is right here and right now, and you deserve to live the happiest one possible.
No more excuses. Don't create hurdles where hurdles don't have to be. They're likely just an illusion created by your mind out of fear anyway. What is the point of being fearful? What good has it ever done? You're smart. You know you are. Decide what's important to you. Embrace what's positive, get rid of what's negative.
Are you ready? Let's go.
Photos by Charlotte.