2018 in Review

Well, 2018 was a hell of a year.

I don’t even know where to begin with it. 2018 had so many ups and downs, it is hard to say if it was a good year or a bad year. It definitely wasn’t neutral, either.

As I struggle trying to write this, switching between different playlists, checking my phone, and eventually settling on silence to compose this blog post to, I am reminded of the very similar year I had.

2018 was a whirlwind.

If you can’t tell by my lack of blog posts from last year. I was one busy photographer.

It started out with me trying to re-brand my business. I upped a lot of my pricing, and lost a lot of clients. I tried to grow too fast and quickly outgrew my clientele before I could gain a new clientele.

I shot almost 20 weddings last year, and have shot so many now that I have lost count since being in business.

From James and Justin’s wedding.

From James and Justin’s wedding.

I went to Canada for a boudoir photographers’ retreat for free (just had to pay travel), and met some of the best artists in the industry. Here are some of my favorite photos from the event. All the people pictured are also boudoir photographers all around North America, as well as a few models that were brought in.

I went to Ireland on a trip I paid for, which was the first overseas trip I had taken where I paid for everything including air travel, food, lodging, etc. with my own money.

I opened up a studio in downtown Chattanooga in March, then decided to move to a bigger studio closer to my house in September, and renovated it to fit my needs.

My old studio in downtown Chattanooga, in the Chattanooga Workspace building.

My old studio in downtown Chattanooga, in the Chattanooga Workspace building.

My newly renovated studio, set up fully for boudoir.

My newly renovated studio, set up fully for boudoir.

I celebrated one year of happy marriage to my husband.

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Our Anniversary Dinner

At Old Gillman Grill

I bought a house in May with my husband and decided to add another animal to our furry family. We adopted Hilda from McKamey Animal Shelter, and she ended up being a full-blooded Maine Coon. I love her to death.

The day we closed on our house, with our dog, Nigel.

The day we closed on our house, with our dog, Nigel.

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My Darling Hilda

The Maine Coon Kitty

I had a bad relapse in my mental health that was so debilitating some days that I couldn’t even get out of bed.

I was diagnosed with PCOS after trying hard to convince doctors that having less than 4 periods in one year wasn’t normal, and that something was wrong.

Self portrait from a photo series I did about mental health.

Self portrait from a photo series I did about mental health.

I started the process of peeling back the many layers that had accumulated over time from unresolved trauma and social anxiety. In peeling back those layers, I started figuring out who I truly was.

I had lots of new experiences and tried new things. And I don’t regret a single new thing I tried.

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I made mistakes. I learned from them.

I grew.

I made mistakes. I learned from them. I grew.

I’m still in the process of trying to figure out who I am, but I’m getting there. And I’m so glad that my clients get to take this journey with me.

So what did I learn from 2018?

Be the most authentic person you can be. This means sometimes you will lose people you thought were friends. Not because you’re act however you want, but because sometimes they can’t handle the person you were always made to be. In being your most authentic self, you gain power in standing in that authority.

Don’t cut corners. Good things don’t happen overnight. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Hard work and success come after hours of working, and you will see the best results from being thorough, detailed, and meticulous. Slow and steady wins the race.

Take chances. Make mistakes. What Ms. Frizzle said all those years ago is true - sometimes we will make mistakes. Don’t be afraid to take a chance just because there’s a possibility you might mess up. Learn from the mistakes, and move on.

Take time for self care. If you don’t take a little time to take care of yourself every day, it will catch up with you. Sometimes the consequences of neglecting self-care are costly and unavoidable.

Treat yourself every once in a while. In this self care, don’t feel guilty for spending money on yourself, taking a break from work, or buying something just for you. Not everything you do has to be for others.

Love like you have nothing to lose. Be nice to everyone. Yes, everyone. Even when they aren’t nice to you. Don’t spend your energy on people that won’t do the same for you, but in that basic human decency, it is possible to be civil with others who want to see your whole existence leave their sphere of influence. Guard yourself, but don’t stoop to their level.

I don’t regret any decision I made in 2018, and I am healing from terrible things that have happened in the past, one step at a time. I’m not perfect, and I’ll never be. But, I’m finally okay with being on the journey and not focusing so hard on the destination. One day at a time. One step at a time. I will get through this.

McKenzie McClure