This morning, I stood over a basket full of odd socks. As I sorted through the mismatched socks, I reflected on how many hours I have stood in the laundry trying to match up pairs. It is a thankless task; one you don’t’ appreciate until you are in a desperate need of a matched pair. However, my children have moved past the matched pair and they have embraced odd socks. Yes, they wear socks that are similar but may not always match. At first, I was horrified. It was a reflection of my poor laundry skills. But my children saw clean socks and they grabbed the closest pair. They quickly moved on to the next task. It was practical and not emotional. They went off into the world wearing their odd socks and the world continued to spin. Life happened in odd socks. No “bad mother” committee knocked on my door and judged me. My children are my best teachers. The teach me lessons that I need to learn. They teach me to let go of emotions and the idea of perfection. They taught me to embrace the odd sock and move on. As I stood looking at the huge pile of odd socks, I wondered how this idea of perfection was controlling other parts of my life. What else am I trying to fit into a box?
I couldn’t think of anything at first. I matched up many pairs but left a huge pile in the basket. I went about my day and later found myself editing photos that I captured on the weekend. I was excited to share these images and they jumped to the front of the editing queue. These images capture my youngest daughter with paper hearts. The paper hearts were for a project to raise awareness for Congenital Heart Defects*. When I told her about babies being born with heart problems, she instantly wanted to create with me. We made brown paper and newspaper hearts. I asked her to take some photos with the hearts and we decided on a dress and styled her hair.
We haven’t shot a styled session for ages. Mostly, I have been capturing our life with lifestyle images. I love lifestyle but I realized as I shot that I like these styled sessions as well. I love creating with my daughters and we enjoy this creative time together. I felt the buzz you get from a session when you feel inspired. It is a contagious high and I uploaded the files instantly. Something I haven’t done in a while as I have been uploading once a week or when my card is full. I haven’t felt this kind of creative joy for a while.
As I sat editing the photos, I realized I have put myself in a box. I am trying to match my socks in my photography world. I am trying to achieve the idea of perfection. I have attached my art to lifestyle images rather than embracing it all. I am a photographer who captures lifestyle, still life, and styled portraits. I am a photographer who captures beauty and whatever inspires me. I do not need to fit into a self imposed box. I can let go of the emotion and just be practical. I am an artist. I do not define my art by wearing matching socks.
I am embracing my odds socks, creating with paper hearts, and my world will keep spinning. This I know for sure!
*February is Heart Month and a group of photographers are spreading awareness for Congenital Heart Defects with their art. The more awareness we can get will eventually help fund more research. CHD’s touch 1 out of 110 babies……What if your baby was that 1? Let’s support our heart heroes by spreading more awareness.