Embracing the Darkness: Project 365 {2017}

Honestly, I think I'm actually completely insane to take on a project 365. Last year, I offered monthly prompts in a Facebook group I run and regularly stated "I think I can do it this month!" only to find another month go by and I didn't get in one prompt. So why do I think I can do this? This project will be different than my others. It's not to grow as a photographer. It's not to document my family's life. Though these may be subsequent benefits from this project, this is not why I'm doing this. I'm doing this because I have been living in heavy darkness this past year. It's been a tough year for me. The growing pains have been tremendous, bringing me to my knees over and over again. However, I would be remise if I didn't mention how thankful I was for this year. The end result is quite magical and growth was inevitable.

Suffering massive anxiety attacks as a result from my hormonal levels being depleted from being pregnant and nursing for nearly 4 years straight. Exercise catapulting me into panic attacks. My body shutting down and grabbing so many bugs that I could never get myself back to feeling well. My blood sugars being completely unstable and also throwing me into panic attacks if they dropped to a certain level.

All the while, trying to stay emotionally and physically stable to get my kids to school and to swimming and to dance and being the happy mommy they deserve. To make it through my days with silent panic attacks. Smiling through sweaty hands, dizziness and nausea. But knowing that when my camera was in front of my face all was okay with the world.

Along with this, my ability to balance my life was catastrophic. Having your passion as your career is a blessing, but on the other hand makes it so hard to know when to stop working. Being a full time stay at home mom with a fabulous growing business left me no time. I've missed countless social events with invitations dwindling. I fear that I've lost several friends this year because it was simply impossible for me to have the strength and energy to put into anything outside of making it through the day. It took me nearly 4 months to meet my new niece. I didn't take my kids to the zoo one time. I missed my daughter's very first dance recital. I never joined a community pool like I've been wanting to do for two years now. I still have boxes that aren't unpacked and we've lived in this house for over 2 years. The list can go on and on.

I've worked tirelessly to learn how to eat to fuel my body to balance my sugars and level my hormones. Going through therapy to learn how to manage anxiety that creeps up even if a lot of it is brought on for physiological reasons. Understanding my energy. Knowing how to ground and take a hold on the chaos.

Most importantly, I'm learning to sit in the darkness. To not be scared of my shadow. I feel like when we're in the dark all we want is light. We are afraid of the dark. Instead, of trying to "find the light" as I originally wanted to label this project, I'm embracing the darkness. This is where growth lies. This is where the magic happens.

Photography is my therapy. I feel complete peace when I'm taking pictures and seeing them come to life. I'm not sure how this project will manifest. I may share it weekly, monthly, daily. I don't know. I may get to March and leave this project behind. I may keep going and it might turn into something I totally don't anticipate. Whatever it is, this project is for me. But, I know that I'm not the only one going through this. In fact, I know from talking to many of you that you are likely reading this thinking "me too." So, this is why I'm sharing it. I want you to know it's okay to sit in the dark. This is where you'll grow. This is where the change is. You're not alone.

Despite knowing all of this, there are some days where the darkness is so heavy, I literally can't breath. I actually can.not breath. I'm short of breath and dizzy. On the darkest days, where the lack of light is petrifying, this man saves me. Time and time again. No questions. No complaining. He loves me unconditionally and I am so tremendously grateful he is mine. He has been so immensely supportive through this journey. I love him beyond measure and thank God every day that he's in my life. Dustin, thank you for being by my side. For bringing in a little candle into my dark space to remind me that there's nothing to be afraid of. That I'm not alone. I love you.

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