Lately I’ve been feeling…off. I guess that’s the word. I haven’t felt at all like myself, and it’s simply too embarrassing to document my behavior other than saying that I’ve been acting like a crazy person. I finally decided it was time to kick this funk in the ass, and get my act together. I call this, the Kim Intervention, or, steps I’m taking to be a better me. These interventions happen often (though sometimes not often enough), take some serious soul searching, often end with me in a puddle of tears and page after page of handwritten notes, but they also leave me feeling refreshed and like a whole new person. It’s amazing what happens when we simply stop and listen to our hearts on a daily basis. Unfortunately, I don’t do this on a daily basis. Until now (I hope).
So, here’s my guide to being a better me. I’m documenting this, publicly, well, sort of, for those who read my blog at least, because I want to hold myself accountable. I’m almost twenty-eight (oofda) and I’m tired of making excuses.
1. No more social media.
“Okay, what? This is crazy! You are a photographer! You can’t be a photographer and not be on social media! Your career practically depends on social media.” I had this epiphany the other day where suddenly I realized that I was a PHOTOGRAPHER not a social-media-tographer. Lately, I can’t stand photography. That’s the honest truth. But after some deep soul searching I realized that I really do love photography, it’s social media I don’t do well with. I love photography because I love to create and I love personal expression. I love photography as an outlet. I’m an emotional person and I spend a lot of time in my head. I used to dance to get my thoughts out, I’ve always written to get my thoughts out, and in my early twenties, I began to take photos in order to get my thoughts out. That’s what it’s always been for me. Personal expression. Personal freedom. Social media, unfortunately, for me, is detrimental to my creativity. I want to say one thing: I don’t hate social media and I think it’s a really beautiful and powerful tool. But for me, and my personal life, I can no longer do social media. I read my journal from two years ago (and then the one from two years before that) and my goal is constant and clearly written on far too many pages: spend less time on social media.
Social media eats at my soul and my heart. I don’t know why. I don’t know why some people are fine on social media but I am not. I’ve always considered myself a fairly confident and happy person, but somehow, social media has turned me into someone I do not like. Social media has caused me to compare myself to others. I hate to even admit this, but social media has also robbed my bank account. I see so many photos on Instagram every day of women wearing these cool outfits and the next day, I go buy them. How gross of me. Why have I become so insecure that I absolutely have to have what everyone else is wearing? Who cares! Why do I care about what other people think of me? Why can’t I just be me? I’m so tired of thinking about how I look all of the time because of social media. You know what else is weird? Before social media, when I just took photos (and also selfies), I didn’t really care about what I was wearing or how I was presenting myself to the world. After social media, suddenly each and every morning I think about what I should wear and how I should present myself to the world, just in case someone snaps a photo of me and posts it on social media. That’s so messed up of me. It’s so vain and selfish and gross of me. So I can’t do it. I can’t compare myself to others, and I also can’t care about what other people think about me. It’s been eating at my soul: one that is generally care-free and very invested in the present world. Social media is also addicting to me. I can’t control my habit or put time limits on myself. I’ve tried, but I’m an addict, so, I have to cut it off for now. It causes me to think unhealthy thoughts and quite frankly, it’s now wasted brain space for me.
Yes, it’s going to effect my work. If I’m not posting on social media, that also means that not really anyone is reading this blog post of mine. But that’s okay with me. As much as I love to share what I create, I am ten times more happy and ten times more creative when I’m just creating for me and not for others. I feel free to be me. I feel free to express myself how I need to. I just am, ME. As for client work, thankfully, I can disconnect client social media work from my own social media work. I’ve started writing for this company in the UK (which is amazing!) and they post what I write to social media. But that doesn’t mean I have to post on social media. That’s the beauty of work. I get paid for it, so I do my job, I work really hard at it, I give them the best possible piece I can, and then I move on. There’s something about creating stuff for companies verses creating stuff for my own account. I don’t struggle in that area. I can create stuff for other people’s social media because it’s contributing to something and someone else, ya know, but when it comes to my own personal stuff, I don’t need to post about it. I’m fine with it. Right now, I want to work with companies I truly believe in and help them become the best company they can be. I don’t need any recognition for the work. If I’m passionate about it and believe in it, that is more than enough for me.
Yes, I will miss out on stuff. Yes, my exposure will go down which may mean I even miss out on job opportunities. But maybe it just means that my beliefs aren’t in line with those types of companies anyway. I don’t want to do anything half heartedly. I’m either in, or I’m out. The moral compass inside of me is just too strong.
2. Drink water.
This seems like a no brainer and also like a new years resolution, but for me, it really is a matter of life or death. I’m not exaggerating here either. A few months ago I had one cup of water in two days and by the time I realized it, I was surprised I was still functioning. I don’t know if this is a “thing” or not, but I strongly disliking the act of drinking…anything. I’ve heard it all, too–“drink lemon water, or put strawberries in it, crystal light, drink tea…” Trust me, I do, I do all of this. I even have water bottles I rotate through (some with straws, some with sippy lids, some that you unscrew) so that drinking doesn’t become tedious and I surprise myself and for a few minutes I go, “oh, this feels nice! Maybe drinking isn’t so bad after-all!” But then after a few hours I forget and I won’t drink again until the next day. It’s weird. It’s also very first-world of me, very privileged of me. Water is not something I take for granted. I know how lucky I am to have clean water, hot water and free access to water at all times. I just wish I could get water in me without having to drink. I also don’t drink juices, coffee, alcohol, you name it. I just don’t like drinking. Eating, on the other hand, I love eating. But for now, I really need to focus on drinking water. It makes my body happy and my mind happy and my body and my mind will always thank me for this.
3. Walk your dogs.
I don’t actually walk my dogs. My dogs walk me, and for this reason, I think everyone should own a dog. I am happy to sit my lazy ass in front of the TV for five hours but I could never cause such boredom to my dogs, so I take my dogs for walks, or rather, they take me for walks. And for that, I am forever grateful for Clementine and Scout. Walking is also good for my body and mind, and again, my body and my mind will always thank me for this. Oh, and I need to keep taking my vitamins, but I’m already pretty good at that, I just don’t want to forget.
4. Declutter your life, specifically, your closet.
For months now I’ve been reading about Project 333 (which I’m going to try). I’ve also read countless articles (both online and offline) about this minimal trend and about how cool neutrals are. I’ve always fought against neutrals, simply because I *love* color, but you know what? I *hate* clutter. A cluttered house means a cluttered life means a cluttered mind means chaos. I can’t work if my house isn’t clean. I also can’t think about my really important to-do lists for the day when I’m staring at a closet full of things, over half of which I never wear (but keep telling myself I’ll wear on the right occasion). Welp, no surprise there, the occasions never happen, in fact, never in my life have I been invited to a garden tea party and I’ve only ever been on a sailboat once. Minimalism isn’t a trend, or at least it shouldn’t be. Minimalism is practical for so many reasons: you save money; you save brain power from making superfluous decisions about what to wear instead of the really important decisions later on in the day; you save closet space; you save time, and my time is oh so precious to me; and therefore, you save yourself from frustration and become happier. I’ve read a lot about how the human brain can only make so many decisions throughout the day, whether big or small, and so things like choosing what to wear are actually interfering with the really important decisions you have to make later on in the day. Whether it’s true or not, I whole-heartedly believe it for myself, so I need a uniform. Yes, maybe this means sacrificing some of my love for color. After-all, neutrals are so much more versatile. Neutrals are also less busy and therefore less cluttered, so I think I just need to accept it. And hey, I can keep a few pops of color here in there throughs things like shoes and bags. Decluttering my wardrobe (and slowly my whole home), is simplying my life. I like to think of it like this: the less I have, the more space I have to breathe and feel and live and dream.
5. Pray and mediate, every morning.
I’m hoping this will be an easy habit to jump into, considering I won’t be spending the morning in bed on my phone looking at social media. I’m a feeler, and I need a lot of introspective time, and I know praying and meditating do wonders for me. They keep me grounded, they keep me focused, they remind me of what’s truly important in life, they humble me, they put my focus towards others, they allow me to have more faith, they allow me to let go of control, they really are wonderful things. The allow me to be a much better person throughout the rest of the day.
6. Write, daily.
You know, I really do write, a lot, like, a lot a lot. But I don’t write daily. I tweet daily, but that doesn’t count. I really want to write every single freaking day. I started writing a book last month, a novel. An actual real novel. But it sure isn’t going to write itself unless I keep writing even when I don’t feel like writing. I also love writing because it means I get to spend time alone, and I’m a bit of a hermit, just me and my thoughts, we tend to do well with one another when we’re both nurturing one another. Writing also is a brain detox for me. And while I’m not trying to belittle my spoken voice, I truly can express myself better through writing than speaking, so I know it’s important for my heart and soul to keep writing. In fact, if I can write all of my thoughts out, I am able to speak better throughout the day. I am less distracted and more direct. It’s a win win for everyone.
7. Eat from the earth.
Food is something I’m really passionate about but I also don’t talk too much about because I don’t like to be preachy. Food is something I categorize into the same topics as politics and religion, both of which I like, and both of which I do not generally discuss unless I feel safe with you, because again, I often am tongue-twisted and things are taken the wrong way. I’d much rather just write you a letter. But anyway, food. A few years ago I developed chronic idiopathic urticaria (aka: the worst full body hives you can ever experience that happen to you for no explained reason at any given time (often, the worst times)). But I’ve discovered that, Hippocrates said it right, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine by the food,” and I’m not just talking about allergies here. When I eat well, my body (and my mind) are on top of the world. This means eating whole foods, not processed foods. I’m not vegetarian, nor am I vegan, and honestly, this is something I really struggle with on a daily basis because I am not into the meat industry (for various reasons). The truth is, I have tested my body, and my health deteriorates so quickly when I don’t get protein from animal products. I hate to even say that because in my heart, I am vegan, but I haven’t been able to find the vegan cure that keeps me healthy (and I try really, really hard). I have so much guilt about this that I’ve never really discussed this with anyone. I feel bad about not being a vegan, and I will always continue to try and be one, but for now, I just have to give myself grace, try my best, and know that I am not perfect. The point is, eat from the earth. Eat naturally. Eat whole foods. Let food be thy medicine, let food by thy life.
8. Work on your identity.
This is my last thing, to define myself and to ask God who he defines me as. For a long time I have defined myself by what others think of me. I’m a people pleaser, so I end up sacrificing a lot of my core in order to meet the expectations of others, but it’s simply not healthy. It causes me to create a person I am not. Lately, I can’t even remember why I like taking photos or what it is about photography I like, and so I want to spend some time working on this identity of mine, and re-falling in love with my passions, and being okay to not like certain things (and not feel bad about it either).
So, that is me in a nutshell, at least in terms of where I am at. This might be my longest blog post ever. I’m not going to tweet about this or Instagram or Facebook or anything. I’m just going to leave it here in my quiet spot. My happy spot. My quiet, little blog spot. I’m going to leave it here and use it as a way of keeping myself accountable.
I am so thankful for this life I have been given. Today as I was reading through my old journals I thought to myself just how blessed I have been, especially these last few years, including now. It’s humbling to know that someone out in this universe is taking care of me and giving me things I don’t deserve. I want to serve God better. And I really want to be me better. There’s only one of me. There’s only one of you. Let’s be the very best version of our own selves because our own selves are the best we can give to the world, and the world needs that.