Unabashedly Honest

This week’s Two Mann, Two Sense (2M2S) is a sequel to last week’s, very polarizing article. If you have yet to read last week’s 2M2S, you can read it here: Embarrassed Wedding Photographers Unite. There were those with whom it resonated deeply, those who thought it was clickbait, and those who were completely offended by what I wrote.

Given the shitstorm this article caused in my inbox, I thought it would be worth continuing the discussion for one more week. You may or may not know that I am unabashedly honest. So, I am in no way going to take back the words I said last week because they remain 100% true. To review… I am sometimes embarrassed to be a wedding photographer. But, feelings do not exist in isolation. Feels are not binary. Because along with that embarrassment, I also feel pride. It is possible to feel opposing feelings at the same time, in the same breath. Feelings are not mutually exclusive. Our brains are weird, strange, sometimes beautiful, sometimes not-so-beautiful creatures.

Much too often, in our industry (in every industry… IN LIFE) our actual lived feelings about something are sugar-coated, covered up by layers of fakery. If we’re not following our passion, we’re wasting our life. If we’re not ‘living the dream,’ we’re not living our best lie (pun intended). We have to show gratitude. We have to be happy. We have to be spreading joy. And, in such a joyous line of work as wedding photography, we better well be joyful and grateful for our job. On Facebook. On Instagram. On our about pages. I’ve heard this referred to as toxic positivity.  

If we have a day where we dislike our job, we’ve lost our passion. (Gasp! Heaven forbid.)

In the case of my embarrassment, I got embarrassed about being embarrassed. We feel anxiety about our anxiety. We feel shame about our shame. You can imagine the vicious downward spiral this leads to, especially if it’s trapped within the very small physical confines of our cranium. So, what do I (you) do? I cover it up. I cover it up with awards. I cover it up with so-called ‘success.’ I cover it up with toxic positivity. I cover it up with layers and layers of bullshit. Because it’s easier to cover up than to uncover. But, this weekly article is all about UNcovering.

There is no way to get rid of these thoughts/feelings/ideas, but there is a way to dilute them. We can dilute them by giving them space. Speak them out loud, whether it’s to your friend, your therapist, or in my case, an 11,000-person mailing list. The more we trap these thoughts/feelings/ideas inside a tiny space inside our brain, the more they scream to get out. The more they spiral, the deeper down the constricting funnel they spin. Our brain becomes a whirling vortex enslaved by these intruding thoughts. It spirals, down, down, down, and as it spirals further down, its power grows like the life force of a tornado. The smaller the space we give it, the more powerful and destructive it becomes. BUT, once these ideas are out of the confines of our cranium (outside of the spiraling tornado) they are simply a beautiful breeze – rustling the branches without toppling the tree.

Hey, I am embarrassed to be a wedding photographer (and proud too.) And, HEY… I am not the only one. So when I said, embarrassed photographers unite, I meant it!

Love, Erika

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