On Keeping It Real
I did it. I left California two and a half months ago, went on the worlds most epic road trip with my small cat, got to Nashville, moved into a beautiful house that I love with the person I love, and we are loving our new hometown... says the highlight reel. Oh how I wish it was that simple.
Ever flip through somebody's social media and think their life is perfect? Well... it's not.
I had forgotten that moving across the country is a little like putting on wet jeans... like pouring salt in your coffee... like trying to back your car out of a parking spot while you're in drive.
Uncomfortable, frustrating, and the occasional kick in the teeth when you think you're finally getting somewhere.
Sure, my Instagram may look like one grand adventure after another, but my days are nowhere near as pretty as the photos I post there.
So... off comes the shiny happy filter we tend to apply to the best 10% of our lives.
What You Might See: My new friend and I adventuring at the river on a Wednesday afternoon because we are freelancers and can do whatever we want with our days.
The Truth: Lauren also moved to Nashville in May and is a super talented photographer, but neither one of us are getting much work right now, and we wouldn't know where to shoot even if we got hired, so we packed up our anxiety and unrest and went location scouting. We had no agenda, but it was no surprise we ended up here. The ocean used to ground me... the river is the only thing that comes close.
What You Might See: A lovely portrait of a strong woman in Nashville, TN. That didn't take long. Clearly I've landed well.
The Truth: This was my first paid job in over a month and it was for 50% of my usual rate. And still, I cannot begin to tell you how grateful I was for this photoshoot and to Jacqui, who took a chance on a total stranger.
What You Might See: Look at my new cool friends and this beautiful place that we're in!
The Truth: My heart is aching for a creative community that is thousands of miles away. Trying to build a new one has been an exercise in humility and rejection, but Roanoke said yes... and boy did this collaboration fill my soul.
What You Might See: A hilarious photo of our little family.
The Truth: My photoshoot got rained out. Again. I was in a horrible mood and trying to make light of all the things I was frustrated about: the weather, my lack of work, the 396,274,385 kinds of bugs that exist here, our current state of the union - suffice it to say the list was long that day.
Bonus Fact: This was my cat's last adventure outside... because she's violently allergic to Tennessee... go figure.
As you can see, it has not been a smooth, Instagram-ready landing.
I miss my people.
And everything else about California.
And I could absolutely do without this fifth circle of hell style summer in Tennessee... but we are figuring it out.
I am learning to love new places.
Meeting new faces.
And am continuing to chip away at the painfully slow rebuilding of community.
In a world where nobody hangs hard times on the wall, I'm going to do my best to keep it real.
Because I've spent a lot of time in my new office scrolling through feeds of all kinds that make me feel far away from where I want to be in all ways.
And I don't want anyone else to feel that upside down.
So if you're out there in the middle of where you are and where you want to be, know that I am to.
And that it's okay to be unsure, unsteady, and afraid.
We all have days that are full but feel empty. Moments of being close and yet so far away. You can be happy and sad at the same time... And strange as it seems, it is possible to love your new life while still missing your old life.
Please know that this is as much a pep talk to myself as it is to you.
And a reminder, to all of us scrolling through the vast internet chambers of comparison, that there is an awful lot of real life happening behind the scenes of these real pretty pictures.
And there always is.
So... let's keep it real.
*bonus photos of my amazing road trip cat for those of you who made it this far*