Finding your tribe and why I'm crazy about Christina....
There are not many people that I would post a picture of myself with this kind of hair for (yikes, I should pay more attention when I do a photoshoot- though to be fair my only concern is not having my hair down so it doesn't blow in front of my lens).... but today we are going to talk about my feisty (said in the best of ways), creative, fabulous photographer, amazing baker, sweetest human and bestie a girl could ask for: Christina. She took this awesome photo (awesome because of her skill, not the hair lol) when she graciously agreed to stomp through dead limbs with me for my hair-brained idea of shooting with smoke bombs, only a few minutes after landing from an exhausting work trip. Never once did she question my crazy plan, or complain she was tired, even when I had to call the fire department and police station to make sure we weren't going to create a public panic.
I've spent the years since my twenties reestablishing the tribe of women I have around me. So many women from my younger days were catty, jealous, overly dramatic, or sadly using (when you are a person with a photography hobby/ business you tend to get a lot of people that want to "be your model in exchange for images on your website" which quickly becomes give me free photos and not much care about you as a creator or boosting you up). I'm a pretty non-judgmental person so it took me a long time of feeling kind of crappy or down on myself to realize these "relationships" were one sided, or not super fulfilling.
It wasn't that they were doing anything wrong, or I was doing anything wrong, we just weren't the right match for each other. When this realization dawned on me, as I inched closer to my thirtieth birthday, I did something very traumatizing at the time - I blew up my friends list and started over. Of course a few people, those ride or dies you have in your life, made it back on my new fresh page... I don't think you ever have to start at square one... but having most of these tried and trues living in new states, or having schedules that now involved children, gave me the opportunity and the alone time, to truly find the people that I cherish now today.
I was so open, so vulnerable and loving to all those that I met and had been hurt, accused, blamed, and frankly unfairly had things told to me and others "about myself" that are in no way shape or form true, or part of my character. I pulled back into myself a little, and decided that the only people who would get to be in this new tribe of mine were people like me, who looked at the world and people as good, and not something to fight against but to lift up.
Christina was one of the first people I met during this time.
It's crazy to look back 5 + years ago now and remember myself trying to talk to this cool girl down my hallway. She was also a photographer though she didn't then, and doesn't now, give herself enough credit for her craft. Funny, smart, and wickedly honest I came to trust this beautiful soul with my own. I love her outlook on life, the way she views the world (through both her eyes and her lens) and how easy it is to talk to her and know the advice she gives will be not only truthful, but helpful.
Recently, while sitting with a group of girls I admire, we were all talking about what we bring to the table. After we made it around the circle laughing about our personality traits, Christina rather sadly said "And I will be the friend that is honest", she gave a small frown and jokingly added "I'm the bitch". Though we all told her how untrue the 'bitch" part was, it got me thinking about her the whole rest of that day.
She is 100% right about one thing... she is the honest friend.
I can't tell you how hard and valuable I think this trait is. How many people don't have it, and what a rare balance she brings to the mix by being able to be truthful and yet not make you feel shitty about yourself.
Let's be honest, we all have that friend we go to when we want the absolute truth. The friend that will tell you when you have stuff in your teeth or that yes you can see the zit but you still look pretty.
I'm lucky to have two of those in my life, though I think Christina is probably my true north star when it comes to these things. She is my guide in the dark of night, when all you have is tiny points of light and you don't know which to trust, she is the one that will never lead you astray, will always be there for you, and you know you can set your compass by. She is the one that would tell me if my outfit didn't make my body look good, or if my photography wasn't as on point as other things she's seen me do. She's the friend that openly admits I talk too much and can be too loud, and I LOVE HER FOR IT. I love her because she has not judgement, only love, when she gives you these life pointers. I love her because when I am in the dark and I need that light at the end of the tunnel I know what she tells me is true.
There have been so many times I've looked at my own work too long and can't see it as good any more. I've even shot a wedding or two where the vibe was so off, as an empath I had a hard time not associating that with the images later when I was at home editing them. In these moments I always go to Christina and ask for her opinion and I know I'm okay when she calls my work beautiful, or tells me the client will love it.
Everyone needs a north star, and in our group the beautiful, talented in her own right, Christina is ours and I couldn't imagine life without her.
There is no one I'd rather get drunk with, especially since we get drunk at different times and usually can walk the other home...except that one time and thank goodness we have another friend for that =). No one else I'd want to share my crazy ideas with first, because only this girl will tell me if it will work and that she's down to try. I've been so at peace and blessed to be able to surround myself with women who all fix each other's crowns, don't have backstabbing or overly competitive nature in their personalities, and I am still so happy with my choice to make this lovely lady one of the first people on my new list. She never gives herself enough credit so today this little tribute is for her.
Maybe that's why I won't pick anyone else as my second shooter... she's just that good ... inside and out.