As an outgoing, "on the move" type of person, it was hard for me to sit down and take the time to put my own personal feelings on paper.
However, just a few days ago, a client came in and after a 30 minute discussion about how she lost her sister-in-law to cancer in just one month's time, I realized that conversation was just one of many signs telling me to write this blog. You see, within only a few hours after that client conversation, I saw a Facebook memory telling me it was 6 years to that very day that I lost my own grandfather to cancer. Another client came in and mentioned that her husband suffered a stroke just a few days after coming in for their family session, and I cried with a dear client about losing her sister-in-law in the blink of an eye. To top it all off, while talking to that same client about her sister, we happened to grab a Christmas card that featured a family who lost their dad/husband due to a sudden heart attack. I’m not sure how much more of a sign I needed to finally sit down and tell you why it’s important to love yourself and the people in your life just as they are right now.
As a portrait artist, I hear on a daily basis, "I don’t need family portraits right now," or, “I need to lose 20 pounds or I won’t buy any portraits." "I just need one family shot, there’s no need to take a picture of my husband and I or the kids by themselves," or, "We will do this again next year, so just a Christmas card is okay." Wow! Just, WOW! I wish I could tell all of my stories to every person that decided to put their family last because they aren’t happy with their self-image or believe the beautiful expressions and love shared with their spouse aren't important today. But, I can’t. Why is it that something tragic has to happen to shed light on the power of family on a daily basis? No family or individual is perfect, but I love capturing those few moments that seem to say otherwise. And why shouldn’t we all be able to go back and remember that one portrait that makes you feel like you belong?
A picture is worth a thousand words, right? We are told this all the time. Think about what your mom, dad, spouse, or children think every time they walk by a portrait of their family. When you visit someone’s home or walk down your halls and see that portrait, what do you think about? Is it how mom was asking for one nice picture? Is it how good you felt seeing the people you love so happy? You might think about how much your siblings have grown, or how you fought like cats and dogs but now respect them. Does it make you think, even for just a second, “I’m so blessed to have people that love me?” If you have experienced any of these thoughts, you are so incredibly lucky! Why, you ask? Because your family chose to celebrate who you are at that time in their lives! Now every time you see that portrait you get to relive the memory. Do people change? Absolutely! We grow up and we go through awkward stages. We ALL do. But that can’t be the reason we decide to push off a family portrait. Or worse, like complaining about all the things you don’t like instead of looking past those superficial things to see the love that exists!
Young or old, there is no guarantee you will get tomorrow. Please read that again. It’s a powerful and oh so true sentence. We can waste time hating the little imperfections that we all have, or we can choose to love ourselves just as we are right now. I ask you to please love yourself today. Forget the little things, or what you deem an imperfection, and focus on the important people who want to love you just as you are! And don’t even worry about that zit…I can photoshop it like a crazy fool!