For the last few months, my brain has been on an interesting track to answer two questions: “what do I like?” and “why do I like it?” As I’ve been hard-culling my work and defining my brand for myself – I think it’s clearer sometimes to others than it is to me! – sometimes the answer to those two questions have surprised me.
What do I like? – Anthropologie
Why do I like it? – Their catalog photography and their strong, visible brand
But would I wear their clothes?
What do I like? – Jose Villa’s Photography
Why do I like it? – Light, beauty, inspiration, and a consistent, predictable result
Do I want to have a predictable result from my own work? Would my work lose something if I did what I’d need to do to get it?
What do I like? – Starbucks
Why do I like it? – The atmosphere, the smell, the sense that I am not really the hot mess I think I am
But I don’t even DRINK coffee most days, and then I drink decaf if I do.
What do I like? – Homemade Peach Pie at Lunchtime
Why do I like it? – My grandma ate peach pie at lunchtime. When I eat it, I remember her.
I’m not sure my food cravings are enough by themselves to talk me into baking peach pie.
Asking why I like what I like has helped me begin to step out of the roles I tend to assume and do things because *I* want to do them, not because I should or because everybody else is doing it. The things that I can’t answer that “why” on, that I gush about with my “I have no idea why I like this, but I do!” – they’re the most ME. I’m discovering that they’re the things that are most “me.”
I don’t know if it’s an oldest child thing or what, but I have often tried to emulate the people and brands I admire without knowing why I do it, because I want to “be them” when I grow up. But the more I think about it, the more I want to be me when I grow up, just me.
I’m remembering what it was like to be a kid, and just like something because I liked it. Ultimately, I have to trust that God – who knows the full picture – is for me, and get on with the whole living thing. The only thing I really need to know about myself that I can’t tear apart (in my cynical, nihilistic fashion) is that I am His.
It’s time for me to stop trying to be “a photographer” or “a writer,” to quit worrying about being “a good Christian,” to let go of my ideas of what it means to be “a good mom” and “a helpmeet.” The different hats I try to wear leave me feeling schizophrenic, and I start living from my head while my heart curls up and dies. Being me, in Him, in the place He has put me – that has to be enough.
The image above contains my business cards (old and new), a favorite quote/bookmark, my favorite leather portfolio, my dried dutch tulip, my birthday earrings from Pete’s mom (which I have been wearing a LOT lately!), my Grandma’s silver bracelet, notes from one of my business brainstorm sessions, and the OnceWed Magazine open to page 13 with Jose Villa’s photo from his Sullivan’s Island shoot here in Charleston.
And if you’re wondering? I LIKE all of these things. ;-)