The bare minimum

March 18, 2021

What a damn year it has been. I know that I am not alone when I say that the last year has been one that has transformed who I am as a person.

It stripped me down to the core, personally. The first hit was my home burning down in later 2019 and followed by Covid breaking out and causing a state-wide lockdown in California. Quarantine put me in a feeling of isolation and loneliness that I couldn’t do anything but really look at myself and life. I was without my home, without all of my belongings, and now couldn’t escape outside the house. Being with the bare minimum, I was forced to find peace with no distractions from old traumas and depression that had been haunting me under the radar.

For years I have been preaching self-love to be the cure to all of your problems. But it wasn’t until this year that I think I finally really realized what self-love truly was.

You don’t realize how many things you disliked about yourself until you can’t escape from them anymore. Nothing like a worldwide pandemic to make you stop escaping in bars, social life, work, shopping, and really take some time to truly work on yourself. To finally look at all the bullshit beliefs about myself and habits that were leading my life in a direction I wasn’t too happy with.

And not only to look at them, but to forgive myself for them. Forgive myself for not knowing better at the time, and love myself for doing better when I finally knew better.

  • saying no when I don’t want to
  • speaking how I truly feel even if it hurts my chest and makes me sweat
  • giving love with no guarantee they will stay, but for the pure fact I love giving love to that person
  • Forcing time in the day to move my body for no reason other than it makes me feel so good
  • Not abandoning myself and my own life
  • Allow me to have confidence in my gifts without fear of being “arrogant”.
  • Doing things I enjoy even if people I love them don’t approve
  • Filling my mind with positive affirmations instead of abandoning my mind to negative thoughts about myself
  • Asking myself what I need and taking the time to think about it and give it to me when I am triggered or upset
  • Saying kind things to myself in the mirror
  • Re-parenting myself to do the things I don’t want to do but Future Heather is really going to love me for
  • Seeing myself as an endless project that will never end and never stay the same (I am kind of like Disneyland)
  • Reminding myself why I love taking intimate portraits by taking the time to create just for the sake of creating
  • Learning to see my worth as a person outside of my camera. Who would I be if I could never photograph again?
  • Reconnecting things that make me giggle and have child-like joy
  • Journaling to connect to myself

This terrible year made me into someone that practices far more of what I preach. I realize now more than ever how important it is to truly love and appreciate ourselves as that relationship is our only constant in life. And it’s how we see ourselves that reflects back to us through the world we view. Our attitude about ourselves bleeds into our attitude about others.

I am so grateful to see things moving in the direction of “normal life” coming back. Although I doubt things will ever be really normal again. To be able to create art that changes how people see themselves again is such a gift. And it’s a gift I never want to take for granted again. 🖤