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honest mom

An Ode to 2016 and 21 Things To Take Away From It.

 

1. If you struggle with something, then you struggle with it. You are not weak or inadequate for struggling with things others don’t find challenging. 

2. Everything should add value to your life. Everything. If you can't justify its purpose it has to go. This includes people.

3. If you’re trying to convince someone to be with you, you're eventually gonna be trying to convince them to stay.

4. Stop opening your doors for toxic people under the guise of seeking closure. Closure is the gift you give yourself when you've been brave enough to close a door that needed to be closed.

5. It is not your job to keep everyone else happy.
It is not your job to keep everyone else happy.
It is not your job to keep everyone else happy.

6. It is not a sign of loyalty to endure abuse or cruelty or one-sided relationships/friendships.

7. It's taken most of us 20+ years to reconcile who we are. You shouldn't have to heavily craft a version of yourself for people to like or fall in love with you.

8. It's totally heathy to miss things and not want them back.

9. Don't accept someone's emotional unavailability as a challenge. If you can't meet them where they're at then send them off with love.

10. No one has it all the way together, no one.Take solace in that. There is no value in comparing. We're all working on our very best selves.

11. You don't get to choose the version of people you love best. Folks are who they are. Either love them or leave them where they're at.

12. You can't break yourself open for folks who won't stick around long enough to see you whole again.

13. Its okay to have seasons. You dont have to be blooming all the time.

14. What worked for you before may not work anymore. Be open & flexible to shifting what is no longer serving you.

15. We all need to give ourselves permission to be wherever we are when we’re there, whoever we are in this moment & claim the right to evolve at our own pace.

16. Creativity requires courage.

17. The wrong person will have you convinced that you're asking for too much. You're not.

18. Let this be the year that we stop telling people they aren't deserving of love unless they love themselves. Everyone is deserving of love, even if they're in repair.

19. You'll love someone so intentionally and they'll change into the person you always knew they could be...for someone else. It's a very hard truth.

20. It is not overreacting to ask for what you want & need. How many times have you suffered because you didn't ask for what you wanted or needed? Transparency can be uncomfortable & scary & make you feel vulnerable & anxious but speaking your truth & asking for what you need is power.

21.Surrender to timing. Know that what's for you will be yours when the time is right and not sooner. Show up as you are in this moment & let that be enough.

Thank You for Not Judging Me

Part of my 2016 resolution was to honor my commitments, especially to those I consider close friends and family. This included showing up more, attending important events, art shows and birthday parties. Buying gifts and sending cards, answering the phone and having real conversations. Intentionally listening when they need to download. I feel good about how I have stuck to that commitment….except when I don’t.

As I roll into my early thirties I’m learning things about myself that my twenties couldn’t teach me. Like not to commit to anything before 2pm because by 5 I will woefully regret it and wish I could be surrounded by pillows in my bed. And that if I don’t take time to recharge from energy draining days then I’ll completely melt down and not even wine can save me then. (Picture me floating in a blow up raft in the middle of a wine river with a straw not long enough to reach) Lastly, that you can search a lifetime for hands trusting enough to come undone in and never find them, so now I unravel with caution.

I canceled yet another friend date today and as usual I am riddled with guilt, more than usual because this is the 3rd time I have canceled with this friend and each time she is so gracious and understanding and each time I am so thankful. Often our sadness has an expiration date. We can be sad and tired but not for too long. Soon, the get well wishes stop and people just start to get annoyed with our lack of energy to engage. Sometimes they even get upset. Eventually, we become a burden and who wants to be that? Who wants to feel heavy and hard to love. Not me.

My friends unwavering understanding and flexibility with my need to recharge, her grace and care and compassion with me felt so soft and easy and not hard like how everything else feels hard right now. I told her Thank you for not judging me.” Seems like a silly thing to have to be thankful for but in this world of measurements and scales it is a luxury not to feel judged. To feel that I can be my whole self, intentionally and someone will hold space for me until I am ready to step back into the world.

Thank you for not judging me

I am complex and emotional and full of love and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I have learned to be more gracious with myself and I encourage my friends and even some of my clients to check-in with me before they start to download to me about heavy things. I think this is a vital part of self -care. We can’t always carry the emotional weight of others, even if we want to --even if we love them. We are worthy of love and compassion and the flexibility to say “not today” and to also say “not tomorrow either.”

Grown up, adult life is hard. Really hard. Navigating intersections, making ends meet, owning our okayness...all hard. It really takes some super human energy to get through some days. To do the small, life sustaining things daily, and not be rewarded for it. We are so fundamentally human, we tend to forget that. Daily we make mistakes and have to quietly and gently reconcile with ourselves and then repeat that process for our whole lives. It’s overwhelming

 

Seek out folks will show up for you, hold space for you, make room for you all without making you feel like it's a difficult task. Folks that are willing to walk alongside you without judging you, making you feel inadequate, or trying to fix you. Friends that will understand when you have to cancel a date and not internalize it or make you feel guilty. You shouldn't have to heavily craft a version of yourself for people to like or fall in love with because authentic love and friends won't ever put you in the position to betray yourself. Find your tribe & love them hard

Taking Back My Art....An open letter to existing & potential clients.

I love photography. Unequivocally. I am addicted to the transformation I see my images take from the camera to the final image I deliver. I love what I do. I love seeing the look on my clients faces when they get their gallery or the emails I get thanking me for their beautifully crafted images. This is the WHY. This is the reason for 16-18 hours days at my computer. The reason that sometimes I skip park days with my son or dinner dates with friends. I am dedicated to my work and to my clients. 

Somewhere though, this is getting lost. At the root, I am a human. A mother, a sister, a friend. Photography is what I do, it is not who I am. I am happy to provide a service to my clients who trust me to capture and create beautiful images for them. And I am proud to do this. However, I feel there is a need to set some boundaries between who I am and what I do. 

I am taking back my art.....

I am taking back my free time. I am taking back my social life. I am taking back my role as a mother to my son. No more missed park days, no more missed dinner dates with friends. There will be no more early morning text messages, or texts at all. There will be no 10pm phone calls inquiring about photographs. I will ask, with respect, that these boundaries be respected and honored. 

We all have jobs. We all have families and friends. Some of us have children and some of our children have special needs. Mine is one. He is why I worked so hard to craft a flexible schedule so that I can dedicate more time and resources to him and he is not seeing the fruit of that labor.

I love photography.  I have a standard. I have a speciality. For the sake of my craft & my clients, I will not deviate from these standards. I will do my very best to accommodate requests within my speciality, if you request something that falls outside of my speciality I will do my best to refer you to someone who can help you.

I share this with you, humbly, in order to preserve my integrity and my art. So that I can wake up and create for the rest of my life and not feel burnt out. 


Thank you to everyone for your respect, support & understanding. 

Office hours: mon-fri 9-6

-Sasha

My shame; The truth behind why I love maternity portraits.

9 years ago I was 22. I was in college, I was happy and working and felt whole. I had been in Louisiana just a few months shy of two years when I discovered I was pregnant. I found out very early on, four weeks in. I was sick, so sick. I experienced a myriad of feelings, excitement, nervousness, disbelief, everything I felt any woman, at any age would feel upon this big discovery. But my primary feeling was anxiousness. I knew I'd have to tell my parents & I knew they wouldn't be happy.

Upon divulging my new, big secret to my family, I felt such a sense of shame. It was suffocating how much shame I felt. There was no celebration; there were no plans being made for a baby shower. There were no mom/daughter shopping dates for little person things, there were no dad-to-be and grandpa putting cribs together, and there were no photos.

There were no photos......

If anything haunts me, it is that I did not document my pregnancy. I didn't get dressed up and put on a gown, get my hair and make-up done and traipse in front of a camera to have such a beautiful and special time captured. I was so ashamed of being young, black, unwed & pregnant. Was there anything worse? If there was, I didn't know it. I hid in my room for most of my pregnancy and watched tv. Never even dreaming of documenting such a shameful event. So I didn't. And it is one of the single regretful decisions I ever made.

You may be wondering why nine years later I am still dwelling on the photos that never were. Today I stumbled across a photo on Facebook that brought everything flooding back. An LSU student, I have no idea who she was, asked my sister if she thought I would be interested in taking a couple of photos. I had no idea what it was for other than it had something to do with twins and pregnancy.

They're not the best quality, but I am so thankful for my sister and that LSU student. She captured something for me that I was not brave enough to do for myself. Aside from these and a few other cell phone images, I have no documentation of my pregnancy. 

 

Thus my love for maternity portraiture arises. If I had to select one singe part of my career as a photographer that I love best it would hands down be capturing the beauty and essence of an expecting mother. I am completely enamored by the strength and resilience of pregnant women to carry and birth beautiful beings with such grace. I love being a witness to the growth and am honored each time I am asked to capture such an experience. 

Here I am, a proud, brazen mother of a brave & bold 8 year old. I may not have had my photos & my decision to have no more children may prevent me from ever doing so, but I have dedicated my career to making sure that any woman who wants to document her pregnancy can do so beautifully and affordably without shame.