School, the thing I have struggled with since elementary school (I'm talking first grade). I was never that straight A student, never the honor roll student with so many stickers on my car to show off.. nothing. I was the kid that came home crying because I didn't understand why I couldn't do it. I was such a visual learner, always. Most teachers got annoyed with me, few gave me the time of day or even tried to get to know me. One teacher loved me for who I was and gave me a chance. She still has such a huge impact on where I am today due to this. She worked with every student for who they were and how they learned things. Throughout so many years of school, from teachers to friends, I had very few that truly understood me.
Fast forward to high school. The three worst years I have ever had, except senior year. Freshman year began at a private school, where girls weren't the nicest to me, and classes were way too hard for me to handle. I struggled to find myself, and eventually left for public school due to many things girls said and did to me. About halfway through freshman year, I walk through the doors of a public high school for the first time. This was so terrifying to the girl that came from a class of 60 people total. But, this was a fresh start. I met a group of girls quickly and started to feel as though I was finding my place. As high school went on, friends came and went, I dated guys that cheated and lied, and just never truly found happiness in myself. Do I blame this on those people? Not at all. They formed me into what will later all fit like puzzle pieces.
Senior year, the year that changed so much for me. I found myself so much during that time. I loved my senior year, truly. So many football games, pep rallies, friends, and just true enjoyment for the first time ever. I never wanted this year to end. It came and went fast just as everyone always said it would, but it ended in the best way. The end of senior year brought me lifelong memories, and relationships. I got to go to prom with the guy that I hope to marry one day, gained forever friendships, and realized who I was. Although, the thought of college, and more schooling terrified me.
Freshman year of college. Another year that I wish I could just erase. While all of my friends met so many new people, joined sororities, and just truly enjoyed themselves, I was on the phone with my parents or boyfriend balling because once again I was so out of my comfort zone with classes and truly just not understanding things that I just felt like a failure. I would stay up all night studying just to absolutely bomb every test. I cried, went into depression, and realized that no matter what I try, school would just never be my thing. The dreams I had for myself of being a dental hygienist didn't seem like they were right for me anymore. But, then that camera got in my hands and the world made sense to me. My Pa had instilled his love for the camera in me my entire life. I always loved and wondered about his camera, and asked for a new camera every Christmas for about 5 years. When my little rebel t5 got into my hands, my world changed. A semester later, I dropped my classes and took a leap of faith into photography that has taken me farther than I, or anyone else imagined.
I started going out and just taking pictures of friends. I got so excited to rush home and "edit" (horrible editing, but everyone starts somewhere). This love and passion that I had never had for something started forming a fire in me. I took that fire and I ran laps with it. I never gave up or lost any interest. I just wanted to prove that I could be good at something. I wanted to show myself and everyone around me that school does not define me, nor make me any less if I do not do it. I wanted to prove that this was what I was made for.
Here I am a year into this business that I have started all on my own, with so much support from every family member and amazing boyfriend that have all done more than I could ever imagine to help and encourage me every single day. Without the things that had happened, I would never be where I am today. Those things I thought were so horrible were in God's precious timing. Those girls that made me feel like I was not worthy to have friends... they taught me that I have to truly love myself and see the good in even the most heartbreaking situations. I had to realize the friends and family that always stuck by my side, not the ones that tore me down. I had to realize that there are very few true friends, and those few are all you ever need. Those guys that cheated and took all of my trust away? They did nothing but prepare me for the man that He had made for me. A guy that has taken my anxiety and worries away almost completely (everyone has moments, right?). Those tough years of school? They truly prepared me to realize that school is not the only thing that takes you far in life, and those degrees that people get are not where true happiness nor accomplishment always come from. That camera? It showed me my purpose and passion for something that God instilled in me. It showed me that I can accomplish so much if I stay dedicated, and never give up.
With all of this being said, I hope I get my message across that you may not see what God is doing in the moment, but step back, realize everything happens for a reason, and never lose sight of the good in life. God's timing is better than anything you could ever plan for yourself. Nothing is worth the hurt I, or anyone else puts or has put themselves through. Do what you love, and love what you do. Never stick with things in life that truly make you unhappy. Life is so short and time is so precious. Don't waste it on that girl that brings you down, or the boy you know is not the right one. Be patient, and your puzzle of a life will start fitting together just like mine has.