My initial response to trying new things is usually to think no. No, I can't do that. No, that won't work. No, I'm not good enough. Some of you may be surprised to learn that I always have this subtle case of internal anxiety. I've just gotten really good at controlling it. Through the years I've learned if there's something I'm nervous or afraid of, then that usually means I should say yes to doing it.
In college I was encouraged to apply for a White House internship. My first thought was to not even try. When I got the job I almost didn't want to take it. I was terrified I wasn't as knowledgable as the other interns. And you know what, I wasn't. Not even close. But it didn't matter. The journey was life changing.
Shortly after I gave birth to Grayson, Kristen Quinn the owner of Charlestown Yoga asked me to cover some Mom and Baby classes at her studio. Immediately I thought no way, I'm just barely breathing over here. How am I supposed to lead new Moms through workouts when I have no idea what I'm doing myself? I was afraid of being judged by the other moms since I clearly didn't have my act even close to being together. But it didn't matter. I figured it out. Now three years later my mom and baby classes are some of the most rewarding classes I create and teach.
Then there was the time I got an email suggesting I apply to be a Nike Trainer. I actually laughed out loud. Me? A Nike Trainer? I've never played a team sport in my life. I'm lucky if I can throw a ball into a kids basketball hoop. For the heck of it, I just did it (no pun intended) and filled out the application. I was called for an audition. Before walking in I considered turning around and leaving. I was so nervous. I didn't feel qualified and my anxiety was through the roof. I actually thought I let my fears get the best of me during the interviews. Well, I got the spot. It didn't matter that I couldn't (and still can't) throw a ball. Working with Nike taught me so much about myself as a trainer, opening my eyes to the realization that I can do so much more than I often give myself credit for.
The moral of this story is that at the time these opportunities seemed overwhelming, scary or out of reach. In each case (and in others) I almost let my fears hold me back. It makes me sad to think about what if I had said no. The summer I got home from the White House I remember writing in my journal, telling myself that every time I want to say no, to do the opposite. It's a process I still struggle with but strive for.
Point in case, I recently got an email from a local photographer Janelle Carmela. She asked me if I would be interested in collaborating with her on a motherhood project. She wanted to come spend several hours with me at my house and capture my day to day life with the boys. Immediately I thought, no way. Why would I want pictures of Grayson throwing a temper tantrum or of me struggling to balance both kids and look semi presentable. I'd have to make sure our house looked "photo shoot ready" and who has time for that? Besides, my body isn't quite where I want it to be for photos yet. My mind raced with reasons for no. And that's how I knew I should say yes.
Inviting someone I didn't know into my home felt very personal. And for all the reasons it made me nervous, it excited me at the same time. So often as mothers we are the ones behind the camera. We document the day to day moments, from little to large, of our children. But who captures us during our daily feats? Where are the photos of us helping our kids wash their hands after school, reading books before nap and singing songs together? We'll always have these memories in our hearts but as the years pass, these times will seem farther and farther away. Wouldn't an image be a special way to keep the memory vibrant and fresh?
YES! I said yes. Turns out once again this was the right response. I never could have predicted how emotional my time with Janelle would be for me. Documenting my day with the boys helped me turned a new leaf in my recent chapter as "new mom of two." Turns out I actually needed this experience. And I'm dying to share more.
But I got a little carried away and now this blog is too long. So... who wants to keep reading?
And anyone else out there sometimes struggle with saying yes? I feel like all I read online lately is that it's okay to say no. Ha! Maybe I'm the only crazy one who doesn't have a problem with this!!
I'd love for you to please leave a comment and let me know what you think. And let me know if you want to hear more about my motherhood project with Janelle and to see the photos!! Has anyone else done a "day in the life" photo journey?
Here's a little teaser to leave you with...