frame of mind

This has already been such a fun year.  God has been guiding me through this whole “self-employed” thing, and thank goodness for that because I have no idea what I’m doing.  I find myself daydreaming a lot (not unlike Walter Mitty?), and when I come back to real life I have all of these great ideas with how I want to better myself and my business.  It was only a few weeks ago that I started thinking about being a kid, partly because I’m getting a little tired of being an adult (Bills really do suck.  People aren’t joking about that stuff.) and partly because this whole process is forcing me to figure out who I am.  And in order to figure out who I am, I’ve had to think a lot about who I’ve been in the past.

People always tell you to think back to your childhood and try to remember what you were passionate about.  This is supposed to guide your decision on what career choice you should choose.  I guess if you’ve been building things since you could stack blocks then you’re more likely to be an architect or a construction worker.  So anyway, I’ve always thought about my childhood…what did I do then that still intrigues me today?  I always wanted to believe that I spent all my time designing clothes or discussing books with my friends so that I could become the next Vera Wang or wealthy book editor.  Yea.  No, I spent my time playing with Ariel Barbie in the bathtub until her head dissolved and fell off.  I was the kid who took my mom’s recipes and traced her handwriting with my blue Crayola marker so that I could pretend I could write in cursive.  And I danced.  A lot. But with every “passion” I had as a kid, it was always replaced with something new.  Barbies turned into American girls turned into real friends (of which I did not play in the bathtub with or pop off their heads, just to clarify).  And you can’t do much with tracing, right?  And dancing…well.  My best friend posted this picture on my Facebook the other day, tagging my other best friend to laugh about how true it was about me, so there’s that.

So as I’ve grown, I really haven’t gotten much out of my childhood talents.  I did write a lot, and that’s something I still do today.  I would love to publish a book, but I can never think of what to write..and it doesn’t make an immediate income, as any of you writers know.  I had given up on believing I would ever truly follow through with a passion, so when photography came along it was hard to imagine it would ever become a career.  I would go up and down on my thoughts about it.  As soon as I messed something up, or got a bad critique in one of my photography classes, I would tell myself “never again” and try to think of another career choice.   Even to this day, I have frequent fights with myself about my ability to do this.  I don’t know all of the technological terms about a lens.  I don’t know all of the functions of my camera.  I don’t have the best equipment, or the money to buy the best equipment (donations can be made out to Emily Richardson…..).  And I suck at self-motivation (daily struggles: Get out of bed, bum. Talking to the dog instead of doing the laundry is not productive. Dancing to this song with your lying hips will not help you get things done today, etc.) 

Aside from all of this, for the first time in my life I am passionate about my passion.  I may fail.  I may fail again.  But I don’t want to give up on this, because when I look back on the photos I took when I was a senior in high school, I want to shred them.  I really want to throw them away.  And that’s what gives me hope.  I look at my photos now, and they are far from perfect.  Far.  They are also far from the work I did in high school.  I have grown, immensely.  I actually know what it means to work with light.  I know what 85mm 1.4 means.  I can get a pretty clear photo in a poorly lit room with my crappy lens.  Still working on the rest, but if I gave up now, I would miss out on the growth I could potentially gain from hard work and failure.

It’s all God, guys.   I am not a motivated person.  I don’t like work.  I really, honestly believed I’d be a stay at home mom by now, chillin’ with babies and sitting around all day (although I probably do way more sitting around than any mom I know.). I never wanted a career.  But here I am, doing something that’s totally out of my hands.  It’s not at all where I thought I would be.  I quit a steady, full time job to do this unpredictable work.  It was a step of faith, and even though I’m not yet where I dream to be, I’m taking continual steps of faith to get there.  Jesus is my motivation, and if I’m seeking to glorify him through this season of life, I can’t fail.  So there, that’s my “go get ’em” speech for you.  Every blog needs one (or five).

Also, I was wrong about tracing my mom’s handwriting.  It actually has come in handy.  (Get it..handy??)  (Yea, I went there.)  Through the years, hand-writing is something I have continually done.    Starting with those recipes, moving onto full pages of typography in the form of favorite quotes and songs in high school, and now onto a second small (VERY small) business of making hand painted signs, like the one below. I named my business after this blog, modern mildred designs.  Go to that link and message me, I’ll totally make you a sign if you’d like!

So maybe people are right, when they say your childhood frames who you will be in the future.  I was creative.  And God has formed that into something so much bigger than myself.

Thanks for reading, friends.



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