Maybe, Just Maybe, You’re Not Meant To Be A Photographer (or _____)


What I am about to say will probably ruffle feathers, I can almost guarantee it, BUT I hope you’ll feel this through to the end.  See where my heart is, and why I say maybe you’re not meant to be a photographer…or whatever it is you’re struggling to make a go of.

Here’s the deal I get it in this “You can do anything, and be anything you want in life” mentality that this isn’t going to be a popular statement. So just roll with me here 😉

Maybe, just maybe, you’re not called to be a photographer, chef, firefighter, wedding planner, baker, florist, teacher, or ______ (fill in your desired career). *GASP* and cue the lynch mob! Maybe you are, BUT it IS possible that you’re not.

Just because we all own stoves, and loooove to cook, doesn’t mean we’re to become Julia Childs.

You may have a “healing touch” that can soothe just about anyone, but you’re not meant to be a Doctor.

Likewise just because you have a killer boat, fishing rod, and can spend all day on the river you’re not going to become the next Bill Dance.

A gift, an ability, having the right equipment, do NOT always equate to being the gateway to the career you’re meant to impact the world with.

It took me years of getting hooked into “pyramid” companies, many of which ARE indeed amazing and can having mega rewards/paychecks, to realize something monumental.

Yes, the discounts, and the money, are sooooo enticing you see others making so “effortlessly”.  Then, BONUS, I loooove make-up, skin care, chocolate, jewelry, even wine, BUT they weren’t jobs I was sincerely, 100000%, passionate about.  They weren’t gigs I was willing to sacrifice anything for…much less vacations, my own place, dinner out, etc…

You see I was in love with the product, the idea of a quick buck doing something I loved…and getting it for less…not the process and the PURPOSE behind it.

Even answering phones all day in a Call Center is a calling (no pun intended😂)…some are meant to do it, while others almost, or do, suffer nervous breakdowns.

You either see the purpose behind it, love the process, and embrace it to the fullest, orrrrr, like me, you quit.

You quit with no solid back-up plan, no job in line other than this VERY part-time, time stealing, money eating, soul fire burning, hobby called “Photography”.

You quit, jumping blindfolded, ready to fumble it out, because sitting in discontent just for security no longer sounds as appealing as dangerous uncertainty doing something you wake daily thinking about.

I left a steady (AMAZING) paycheck, INSURANCE, retirement fund, bonuses, living in the wonderful Middle Tennessee area so close to Nashville that it was PERFECT…for straight uncertainty.

I had to move back with my parents in East TN, surrender security, surrender luxuries (like health insurance), all to pursue something that FINALLY, truly, FIT ME!

I’d found my purpose, and as awful as it was not having steady, reliable (make people pay deposits ya’ll!!!) income, it just started to naturally role into place.

Wasn’t easy.  Still to this day is packed with sacrifices (can’t get a mortgage, chose a studio over my own place because that was a need more than my parents not driving my 30yr old self crazy), sleep loss (though that thankfully has gotten better with outsourcing!), giving up one thing I’ve saved for to replace something more important, and the list goes on.

You see I’ve been told over the years I can “sell you the shoes off of someone else’s feet”, so it wasn’t lack of sales ability that was the problem with those other jobs.

I couldn’t sell any of it very well despite my killer sales pitches, knowledge, and knowing the bonuses I could achieve; because I didn’t TRULY care about it.

THEN when someone else I knew came along to sell the same thing (whatever the new *trendy* sales item was in our tiny town) I was always devastated at how seemingly quickly they took off…how much more they were making than me.

And I wasn’t willing to fight them for it. It wasn’t my absolute passion…and it showed. In my sales attitude, and my business.  Maybe others didn’t see it, besides my recruiters, but I was NOT interested in sacrificing anything to build those businesses or advance positions (unless it was pushed upon me).

I let these teeny tiny speed bumps become giant brick walls blocking my success, and I had no interest in mustering the energy to tear them down or climb over.

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Like Sue Bryce says I had “self imposed mental blocks”, and because those weren’t career paths my soul was on fire for I was perfectly fine letting others just take my business.

Now this part won’t be for many of you, but my faith and belief in God’s divine plan, and His perfect timing, has shown me time and time again that He has a career for us that is designed to fit uniquely us.  A passion, not just a paycheck, that He also let’s pay our bills.

So, you have to decide if you love it so much you’re willing to sacrifice what.ev.er. and do whatever it takes to make this a success.  Decide if you’re willing to fight for it because it’s what you live and breathe to do, or if it’s just an outlet to let you do something fun and creative for little while.

What you fight for is what will manifest. So search your soul, and find the thing that lights it on FIRE! Fight for that! Invest in that!

If it’s not photography then so be it!  If it’s not law school, your teaching certification, your nursing degree, a promotion, etc… then let it go.

BUT, if it is, then I urge you to run, full steam ahead, stop building your own walls by laying the bricks, or letting others lay them for you, and, like the saying says, “get out of your own way”!

I would rather spend every day of my life clawing, scraping, fighting for this gift of Photography, than simply making an easy, secure, dollar.

The risk is great here, people’s memories and legacies are on the line with real lawsuits and consequences possible.   I say that’s how you know you’ve found your soul fire calling…when you know the risks and proceed sacrificing anyway to make it happen.

I can tell you all of this as one who’s lived it.  Is still living it, walking it out sacrifice by sacrifice, but is reaping rewards never imagined.  Rewards that came in form of a thriving Clothing Boutique for Small thru 3XL…another business, another passion, I didn’t ever plan or see coming, but that fits smashingly.

Why?  Because if I hadn’t walked out Photography I wouldn’t have learned all I needed to know to offer a unique eye for outfitting women of all BEAUTIFUL sizes in figure flattering, photographer approved (i.e. will photograph well), clothing.

In the wise words of Yoda: “Do or do not, there is no try”!

You never know what other blessings await as you trudge it out toward the goal line, and you just might miss those blessings if you keep trying to force something you’re just not meant to do.

Make it happen, or find what you’re supposed to make happen, and let everything else fall by the way side!

Xoxo,  B

 

 

Happy 32! – To The Death of Comparison!


Ohhhh comparison.  You thief of joy.  You mocker of milestones.  You berater of success.

I almost let you get to me….almost!

Today I turned 32. Happy Birthday TO ME!!!  🙂

I’m not one of “those women” who hide their age.  Like a fine wine we only get better with time, so like a nice “vintage” Merlot, or Pinot, I shall own these years.  I have indeed earned them.

Albeit still nowhere I thought I would be, or even near what I wanted to be, I’ve carved 32 notches into this belt, and I’ll wear them proudly.

You see, comparison, your scales are always weighted unevenly.  For no two people can ever be perfectly symmetrical, therefore neither can their journey.  Even identical twins will have some sort of difference, and two separate life paths.

I am not in control of anything.  Tried that. Was terrrrrible at it…and always more disappointed after the fact when what I wanted at a certain time still hadn’t manifested.

So today I celebrate uniqueness.  For so long I tried to fit in…to be “popular”.  That is ANNOYING!

I’ve found out that, like Christ, it’s much harder to be “unpopular”, and far more rewarding in the long run.

People love the lambs in society…the quiet, the timid, those who dare not speak up, or ruffle feathers. They get all the “likes” on social media.  Their blogs tend to get shared more than the “hard hitting”, toe stomping, posts.

But God…He reminded me just a few weeks ago that He didn’t make me to be quiet, timid, docile, or placating to the masses.

So I wasn’t chosen to be a speaker for this event, I wasn’t chosen to be a leader for this group, I wasn’t asked to share my yearrrrrs of vast wedding prowess at this conference, and allllll of the women who were chosen for these things are much either younger, trendy dressers, hip, soft-spoken, much smaller in stature than I…. I admit the rejections hurt.

One denial message stated I wasn’t “a fit stylistically”….whatever the heck that means!

I didn’t know telling people about Jesus and wedding photography had a “style”, but I was CRUSHED.

Once again denied because I don’t “fit in”….that’s when He reminded me I AM fearfully and wonderfully made just.how.I.am!   That He has given me the gift of spoken and written word, and He’s going to use me just as I am!!!

While I longed for a softer, quieter, more “dainty” or “lady like” voice (like my grandmother used to tell me to speak in!), and to be more “popular”; He shouted through the self-deprecation.

If you’ve never had God “scream” at you it’s rather weird honestly.

I was just sitting there replaying a sermon I heard last year where the preacher laid out a man’s role in the home and a woman’s role in the home.

Telling how He made us each male and female, one strong, the latter soft.  Man to take care of provision, then woman to take care of the heart matters.  How men are designed to fall for the “lady-like” as it is the “way woman was made”… “delicate, smaller, more fragile than man”…..

In the midst of rehashing that night I closed my eyes and in alllll CAPS ( so you know it was serious!) these words played in my mind, a sort of visual speech.

“I CREATED YOU TO STAND OUT! I MADE YOU TO ROAR LIKE A LION, NOT COWER LIKE A LAMB!”

When I was hearing this sermon I sat there defeated, sad, in full knowledge I literally was physically “gifted” with the natural muscle mass and strength that’s made every male personal trainer I’ve ever encountered “envious”, many Doctors and Nurses weigh me twice with exclamations about what muscle mass I have,  a “boorish” voice (again my grandmother’s word, love her heart she just didn’t get it) that is the complete opposite of what we call feminine or dainty….and I was hearing that I’m not desirable to men…

I beat myself up, and tried to make myself not do things I knew I could because of my grandmother’s, and then the preacher’s voices, playing always in mind…”dainty and feminine”.

I used a shopping cart to carry “heavy” bags of dog food or all of the groceries.  I tried to ask for help unloading/carrying all of my gear on shoots.  Tried to not ruffle so many feathers by refraining from blogging or posting on Social Media at all.

My grandmother and the preacher were wrong.

All of that just isn’t me!  If I wasn’t meant to leg press over 600lbs without ever training weights then I wouldn’t be able to.

If I wasn’t meant to carry a 50lb sack of chicken feed or dog food like it’s nothing then I couldn’t.

If I wasn’t meant to carry 20-30lbs of gear on me shooting an 8-12hr wedding day then I wouldn’t.

He made me strong.  Physically, Spiritually, and emotionally.

He gave me physical strength because He knew my “Prince Charming” would take for.ev.er to arrive, and I’d have to carry all my own loads until he gets here.

He gave me a physically strong stature to not only carry my own loads, but to carry those of the people I love….everyone!  So, He gave me broad shoulders, long, thick legs, and wide hips, to carry those on.

He gave me a commanding voice, both in person and in writing, because He has a purpose for my boldness.

He gave me a thick skin to weather criticism and loneliness because His ways are higher than my ways, and He wanted me to be able to carry truth through this growing mine field we live in today.

He shouted over allllll of the self-loathing what I knew all along….I AM FEARFULLY AND WONDERFULLY MADE….EXACTLY HOW I AM!

These aren’t traits to be hidden from the world, ashamed of, they’re ME…they’re “B”…at my core.

I’ll never “fit it” because truly I was made to stand out, and stand UP for truth.

I can’t do popular because “warm and fuzzy” feel good types are everywhere.

No, people need the “unpopular” people no matter how much they talk trash about us…because we are the game changers.

We are the boat rockers, the bell ringers, the door knockers trying to shake up a world that’s falling down.

We are the lights in growing darkness, the pillars of strength among a cowering, scared, people.

Male and female He created us.  Yes.  His creations though come in all manner of sizes, heights, strengths, gifts, talents, voices…male and female.

So, no, I will no longer cower and hide who I am, how I was wonderfully made.

I shall be proud of who I am in Christ…spiritually AND physically.

I’m no less a woman than my size smaller, thinner, counterparts.

No less a woman than the mother struggling to just carry her newborn and their car seat.

No less a woman than chime-like, bell voiced Kristen Chenoweth.

God made me desirable to men too, not a lot, obviously, but still He has one special gent still making his way to claim allllll of this 😉

And it’s about time I CELEBRATED that!

I’ve always secretly hated photos of myself (besides the occasional rocking selfie! Haha!), and therefore tried my best to stay behind the lens…letting my own self-loathing insecurities inspire me in how I photograph others.

It snowed here in Tennessee, and while shooting some Sweet 16 snow
Portraits for my precious photo-ge (protege of photography), Ally, I had her turn my lens on me for a few shots.

I felt awkward, weird, goofy even in front of that lens…just like always…and just like every client seems to say during each session.

For some reason it always feels strange that we would capture ourselves living, that we would want documentation the we were, in fact, ALIVE and part of this world.  Why is that?

Why are we so shy in front of something that’s only a tool to let our future generations “know” us because they may never get to meet us, or won’t be able to remember us?

Albeit the images where I felt most awkward and just could t stop laughing are by far my favorites, why?

I should’ve felt confident in who I am, confident in who God made me to be, that I was all in that camera like “Here I am, and I.AM.AWESOME!”

Sadly I was letting worldly opinion define me, and my confidence.  I wasn’t “measuring up” to worldly standards on what is beautiful.

I never will.  I have to be OK with that.

It’s dis-honoring to my maker to be anything but happy with how HE.made.me!

Certainly I can still stand to lose a few, but I’ll never be a size 2, probably not even a 12, and I’m 100% OK with that.

I am loved, I am respected by many, I am fierce, I am unique, I am remarkably healthy, and I’m exactly who and where I am supposed to be.  I am enough!

I want to urge you to laugh loudly.  Be not afraid to shake things up in Jesus’ name.  Stand tall, hey wear heels even if you’re 6’2.

Hold your head up high, shoulder’s back, make eye contact, get in front of cameras, make yourself known.

You are a person worth knowing…just as you are!

Let comparison die.  And leave it dead.  That’ll be the best birthday gift you’ll ever give yourself! (And a photoshoot…that’s an awesome gift to yourself too! 😉 )

BraskaJennea Corporate Headshots - BraskaJennea Photography-2 BraskaJennea Headshots - BraskaJennea Photography-1 BraskaJennea Headshots - BraskaJennea Photography-4

A few favorites from my headshot shoot back in January…because I like these too 🙂  BraskaJennea Headshots - Whitestone Country Inn - BraskaJennea Photography-3 BraskaJennea Headshots - Whitestone Country Inn - BraskaJennea Photography-1

Good-bye 2014! Hello New Year!


It’s exciting reliving where all I’ve been this year, and the breathtaking sites God has let me witness…and capture.

The people He’s let me meet, the lessons He’s taught me, the promises He’s made me, the loves and lives I’ve been chosen to photograph to capture small parts of their Legacies.

I’m so beyond thankful for the lives He’s led into mine, the people I’ve been able to impact, but mostly the blessed people He’s used to impact me.

I can truly say 2014 was a year of change. Heartaches, pain, growth, loss, unexpected additions, new dreams, putting old dreams to rest so new ones can be born, and a new calling on the horizon that still scares me to death.

When trying to sum up how I feel about saying good-by to 2014, and hello to 2015, there’s ONE image that plays on repeat.

It’s an image that, at the time, no one, not even myself, would know just how poinant it would become.

Lauren and Trent stood out on a bluff, overlooking the Chattanooga Lookout Valley, just as the sun was setting, staring out into the vast beauty, but yet great unknown of all that lies before them.

Symbolism. Stunning symbolism. It’s the image that sums up all my feelings of one year out, and another one in. Staring straight ahead, eyes fixed on the feet of Jesus, His warmth and light guiding my path.

So, CHEERS to a New Year! May yours be more than you ever dreamed, and may blessings flow to you and yours everyday!Lauren-Trent-Chattanooga-Lookout-Mountain-Engagment-BraskaJennea-Photography_0035.jpg

A Lesson Learned & A Memory Found!


Tonight as I sat here editing, and as usual being my own worst critic, and wishing I would’ve been a snap faster, or wouldn’t have bobbled a bit & caused a smidge of a blur (that only I probably would notice); A little voice told me to go through my iPhone photos….and I saw an image that immediately brought me to uncontrollable sorrow and tears…. What was it?  The last picture I ever took of my beloved “Pappy”!

She was comforting my precious cousin Ava the last day I saw her and something said “THIS…THIS is photo worthy!” Little did I know almost 2 months later w/ Christmas looming that it would bring a smile to my face thru the tears…and a much needed reminder to cut myself some slack.

I’m a believer it’s those imperfect, slightly blurry images that sometimes mean more than the most perfectly composed shot. Those “just have to have it”, no matter the quality, images that will bless someone’s heart because it’s a precious memory!  And memories are fuzzy anyway…that’s what pictures are for…to clarify that memory just like you were back there, so if the pictures blurry too it’s alright!   That fuzzy picture and that fuzzy memory combine to take you back…back in that living room sitting beside your grandmother watching her hold, comfort, and love on a baby just like you know she did you when you were little.  And you miss her…so much it hurts…but you’re thankful for that blur, thankful for that static or “snow”, because at least you have it!

So, here’s to 2012…. a year of living for the memories…not over analyzing the minute details, and sharing my gift with the world! May you all be reminded too to sit back sometimes and just “shoot for the blur”…because in all honesty I’d rather a blurry image than no image at all!!!

Here’s my “Pappy” as we called her…doing what she did best…loving on her family! Rest In Peace my beloved Granny… You are missed, but you’re celebrating the Savior’s birth this year WITH HIM, and for that I am glad! See you when I get there!!!