Sharing with you all on a more personal level isn’t really something I’ve done with this blog. I can be absolutely awful at posting some of my latest favorite weddings & engagements during certain times of the year because I’ve just gotten so straight up busy with editing and shooting some of my new favorites, so how on earth would I have time to post more personally? Well, I’ve made it a goal in my business to be more open and to be share more of who *I* am and not just what I do or the pretty pictures I take because HilaryColleen Photography is not just a business, it is my life, my heart, and I want you to get to know more of me than just the images I take. And sharing my story as part of the #wearefireandlight campaign seemed like the perfect starting point.
Passion is always something that has driven my life – a passion for children, a passion for the lonely, a passion for God, a passion for music, a passion for everyone to feel love, a passion for photography… Oftentimes in life it can feel like the only way to succeed is to compete my passions with the passions of others – as I’m sure we have all experienced. Thoughts like “Am I good enough at _________ to do a better job at it than so-and-so?” This stops me so often from doing things that I love and things my heart desires, simply because I feel there could be someone more qualified, better with words, more equipped or better liked.
Before I continue, let’s just take a moment to look at that thought process. It boils down to basically me saying “Because I might not be the best, I’m not going to do this.” Now I’m going to poke at your shell for a minute: you tell yourself this, too. There are so many things that we stop ourselves from doing because there might be someone better at it than us. This is absolutely ridiculous. There is always the possibility that there might be someone better at something than us! If everyone on this earth didn’t do something because they might not be the best at it, we would have no electricity (thanks, Benny Frank), no moving music (Beethoven was deaf, guys), no iPhones (good ol’ Steve was definitely not the best), and the list goes on and on. Do you see how silly this thought process is? When I sat down and really looked at how these things would go through my brain, I felt like I had let myself miss out on so many opportunities for growth – I may not have been the best or been qualified enough, but I had a desire to go forward with whatever it was and everyone has to start somewhere to get better. You don’t start at the top of a mountain – you start at the base and have to climb.
“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”
Howard Thurman made that pretty epic statement that I honestly believe would revolutionize the world if people took it to heart. We’ve all seen it – when someone is in their element, doing what they love to do with such heart and determination… They are unstoppable and bring such joy to whatever it is that they are doing. As part of the #wearefireandlight campaign, I’d like to share my fire with you!
My fire is to stay open, show my scars & lead women into vulnerability, and the fear of judgment or failure will not extinguish it. For years and years and YEARS, I was a completely closed book, dealing with so very much in my life from a very young age and I would just struggle in silence. I went through forms of abuse, self-loathing, depression, suicidal thoughts, anger issues, fear of human contact, paranoia and more even before the age of 15. I felt like I had no one to talk to and hid so much because I was a “young lady” and a “pastor’s daughter” and “little girls are perfect angels”. I felt like I had so much to live up to and didn’t want to let anyone down. My years of struggling in silence had major effects on my mental & emotional processes, and once I began to open up to those around me (which happened nearly 10 years after these things began), I couldn’t believe how not alone I was, that it wasn’t my fault and that there wasn’t something wrong with me.
And that’s when I felt a fire get lit in my heart. Every ounce of my being wants to provide safety for young girls and women to share what’s going on in their lives – their hurts, their struggles, their questions, their curiosities, their pain, their problems – without a fear of rejection, judgment, exclusion, denial… I want every woman to know that she is not alone in what she is going through – whatever it may be – and that there is healing and power in vulnerability, however scary it may be at first. I might not be the best at wording things and sometimes I might not plan things out well, but there is nothing that will stop me from being open about what I have been through with others to bring them through where they are. I may not have “the saddest story” and I may not have lived “the roughest life” compared to others who dealt with similar things, but I have a passion to share, educate, encourage, heal, empower, revive and embrace women who have dealt with too much in silence and I don’t need to have the biggest scar to care for those who do.
Now, I’d like to challenge you, ladies, to share your fire with the world and make a statement that it will not be extinguished. The #wearefireandlight campaign is live October 19-21 and you can share a simple tweet, Instagram photo, Facebook post, blog entry – however much or however little you’d like. But it’s time to step up and show the world your fire. Because the world needs you. And women set on fire can change the world.
If you’d like to hear more about my story or would like to share yours with me, I’d love to chat with you. Send me an email and I’ll talk your ear off as soon as I can.