Hey, it’s future me. It’s been a few years since my last blog post. I didn’t intend for it to be that way, but shit happens. Once I had realized I hadn’t blogged in awhile, I decided to leave Visual Individual in my twenties and move on and live my life without feeding into the obligation of creating content and screaming into the abyss of the internet.
Life on the internet has been a part of me since I was fourteen. I’m thirty now.
However, during this long hiatus, I realized was that blogging was not only a way to connect with others but also a way to connect with myself. I consider myself lucky that I have almost my entire twenties documented here in real time. I’ve been able to look back and reflect on my life choices and consequences in a way that most people cannot – through my own words and photos written as raw and uncensored as possible. This blog is a gift to myself and I think I’d be doing a disservice to my future self by not continuing it, though not in the same capacity as before.
What’s happened in the past few years? I don’t know where to begin so I’ll pick a point and run with it.
When I left you I was just passing the year anniversary of my dad’s death. If you’ve been a longtime follower you’ll know that he passed in 2018 of brain cancer. If you haven’t been a follower, you know now. If you’d like to read more about that experience in-depth, please visit here.
Now it’s been almost three years. Three long years of living in the purgatory of “is this real life?” and “did that really happen?” Some days are harder than others and some days feel even…normal. I was told this happens after the death of a loved one and to just go with the flow. Accepting your trauma and emotions and allowing yourself to feel is the best thing you can do for your soul, or so I was told. I’m a work in progress. Here are some notable things that I would have blogged about had I been blogging……
- I walked out of my full-time job as a marketing director. In August 2019 I walked out of my job as a marketing director for a national non-profit. The non-profit was focused on people with cancer, so I thought that by utilizing my skills I could help people like my dad. Unfortunately, my boss was a micromanaging extremist and I was unable to get anything done, not to mention voice new ideas or complete any projects that I started. After several months of trying to make it work I walked out – the first time I’d ever done so in a work environment. Driving home that day, with my office plant strapped in the passenger seat, I felt freer than I had in MONTHS. I didn’t have a job or a clue of what to do next, but what I did know was that I was leaving a place that wasn’t met for me – just like I left Florida a year prior. Those who held my position before and after me did the same.
- I started an agency geared towards small businesses. Following the end of my time at the non-profit, I started a small agency called Launch 2020. My agency was focused on social media management, email marketing, content creation and PR. I was a one-woman show. I was able to use all of my skills I learned throughout college and various professional positions to help small businesses achieve and maintain their voice by creating them a consistent and aesthetically pleasing brand image. I built my clientele on a retainer business module and saw a lot of success my first year – I had eight clients on retainer. Then COVID hit.
- I lived through a pandemic. COVID was a weird time. Fortunately, I was able to stay sustainable but a lot of my clients who were small businesses were not able to continue with me. I spent a lot of time working from home and planning my next move. I knew that I’d have to figure out something – I needed my business to grow and most importantly, I needed to make sure I could stay at a certain income during a time when so many were losing theirs. Navigating sales and personal branding image during a pandemic was a challenge but I feel like I succeeded with my clients.
- I was diagnosed as pre-diabetic. This one was crazy. I’ll be doing a more in-depth blog post on this in addition to this one because there’s a lot to unpack here. Basically, I had a lot of symptoms such as muscle and joint pain, fatigue, exhaustion, brain fog, mood swings, weight gain, bloating, and an inconsistent menstrual cycle. Not one time did any doctor test my blood sugar despite both my mother and grandmother being type 2 diabetics. My mom tested my blood sugar and it was 264 – if you know blood sugar you know that not only was it high but dangerous. It took a few months but I am healthy again, no longer pre-diabetic and down forty-five pounds. There will be a blog post talking about how I accomplished that and what I am doing now to stay healthy.
- I taught my first college course, photojournalism one. I currently teach photojournalism at my alma matter, Towson University. I really love it and I hope to do this for a long time. My students are so talented and empathetic that it gives me hope for this next generation of journalists. They teach me as much as I teach them.
- I signed a military contract and am now a military journalist. This opportunity fell from the sky for me. I had a grad school friend who saw an opening for a journalist with the military and she submitted my resume for me. I got the job and knew that turning down such an offer during a pandemic when I wasn’t sure of the outcome of my agency would have been a stupid move so I took it. I can’t really elaborate or go into much detail for obvious reasons but I will say that I love my team and my work. While unexpected, I’m really glad I took this challenge. I am based in Baltimore and work from home on projects unless I am sent elsewhere to photograph and film. What’s that mean for my agency? I still have all of my loyal clients and am still taking photo shoots when scheduling allows! I also still shoot civilian news as well.
- We are renovating my house. I’ll be doing as separate post on this as well because there’s a lot to talk about here but I’d like to think my dad would be really proud of all the work Galen and I are doing to his project. I can’t wait to show you photos once it’s finished. This space has always been such a safe haven for me and I am so excited it will physically reflect that.
- I have a really solid relationship with my partner, Galen. I introduced y’all to him before I took a hiatus, but he’s still around and growing and evolving every day, just like me and with me. Shameless plug, he just dropped an album and it’s truly a work of art. The pandemic really made him have to pivot in terms of performing music but it hasn’t stopped him from creating.
If you’ve read this far, consider yourself loved by me. Seriously. It means a lot to me that you chose to take your free time to read what I have to say.
The 2020 Pandemic was such a time of growth and evolution for me. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that I also entered a new decade of life during that time. While all of the bullet points above are successes, I don’t want to end this reintroductory post without saying that it was HARD too. There were a lot of manic episodes and breakdowns and second, triple and quadruple guessing myself. It was hard to take care of myself at certain points – I went a whole week without a shower more than once during this pandemic. Gross, I know. Depression and anxiety were roommates for awhile here.
I feel like for the first time in over a year I can breathe easy. There’s still a lot of stressors and things to take care of and handle but it is far more manageable now.
Thank YOU for reading this and supporting my content here on the internet. My need to create and document is a part of me and it always will be. I do it in private as much as I do for the public.