Your Life as a River

Anyone who knows me will tell you that I am a very firm believer in the power of positive thinking and will-power. I believe that energies and auras are real, and karma really can be a you-know-what. My glass is usually half-full, and my grass is just as green as my neighbors’, thank you very much. That being said, everyone has off days, ruts, funks, or whatever else you want to call them, and I am no exception. September will make it a full year since I’ve graduated from college, and lately I can’t help but to reflect on all I’ve accomplished since then and all that I still have to do. It was during a long walk home one night, when my thoughts started turning negative and defeatist, that a thought occurred to me: when engaging in the processes of self-reflection and self-evaluation, your attitude and approach plays a major role on your outlook.

I like to think of life as a river – one that can be very dangerous if not navigated properly. On the one bank lies all of the reassuring elements in one’s life thus far: thriving relationships with friends and family, physical and mental health, past achievements (however grand or small in scale), and all of life’s little joys. Indeed, on this side of the river the sun is always shining, the birds are always chirping, and Disney princesses are practically falling from the trees (although considering it’s Disney, they’d probably descend gracefully with the help of butterflies and fairy dust). On the opposite bank though, things are not always so chipper.

On this bank lies elements of one’s life that seek to hinder one’s progress; things like doubt, past mistakes, lethargy, excuses, bad habits, and hesitation linger here like a thick fog. Speaking from experience, this fog of negativity can diminish your vision of the path ahead and discourage you from moving forward, making it easy to drift over to this side of the river and not even notice it.

The waters of the river that stretch ahead are full of possibilities and opportunities. It is important to remember that though they may be rough at times, these waters are not impossible to navigate with a bit of hard-work, a lot of determination, patience, and some positive thinking. And who knows – every now and then you may get a favorable current from the waters you’ve already traveled!

It can be very tempting to just rest on the bank of reassurance, and dangerously easy to crash onto the bank of hindrance – no one can blame you for doing either from time to time – but it is absolutely crucial to understand that in order to move forward, you can’t spend too much time on either side. You have to keep moving, to keep focus, and to keep hope in your heart that when you finally do reach the end of the river, the journey you took to get there will have been well worth it.

I hope you’ll keep these thoughts with you when you feel an episode of self-reflection coming on. Just remember that you have some place to go, and you won’t get there by standing still. 🙂

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Curves & Confidence

Recently I got the opportunity to work with the bodacious, curvacious Veronica Tejado, one of Wilhelmina’s newest plus-sized models. Veronica and I met once previously at a mutual friend’s going-abroad party and immediately bonded over food and fabulousness. After our shoot, we (along with stylist Karima Renee for TheSkinnyMinorityStyling and makeup guru Tatiana Ward for BeatFaceHoney) went out for dinner and had some awesome food and correlating conversation. Among the topics that we chewed over that night (lame pun intended) were a few that really stuck with me: how to chase your dreams wisely, body image, and the importance of good support systems.

I want to expound upon the latter topic for a bit. (For all you non-readers, the link for the pretty pictures is down below.)

It’s no secret that having a good support system is crucial to success on any level in any instance, but it is surprisingly shocking how many people live without one. On a whole, my family has been pretty supportive of me growing up and encouraged me to follow my dreams, so long as they led to stability (happiness and fulfillment were perks). Fair enough, considering I’m the first of my family to go to college, the eldest of three, and my parents come from a “work hard, then work harder” upbringing. Things got a little shaky when I chose art school over a hefty scholarship in English Education, but still, they stood by me.

But what if they hadn’t?

During college I met people whose backgrounds and family situations blew my mind. But what astounded me even more was the tenacity and faith that some of those people had in themselves, and had created for themselves, in spite of everything. It was truly inspiring, and I found myself many times drawing strength from their strength. I won’t go on and on about this as much as I’d like to, but I will leave you with this final thought on the matter:

It doesn’t matter where you come from, what your situation is, or what you do. Your biggest obstacle, your biggest competition, and, more importantly, your biggest fan is YOURSELF. 

And if that’s not enough, I’m rooting for you too! ::shakes pom-poms::

Now that I’ve gabbed, follow the link to see the sizzling Veronica and how she flaunts her curves and her confidence!!

(Also, for all you photographers, I will be posting a lighting tutorial soon based on some of the looks from my shoot with Veronica, so be sure to stay tuned!)

from l to r – Karima Renee, R.Carter, Veronica Tejado, Tatiana Ward
(Karima and Tatiana are going to kill me for posting this picture, so if you don’t see me for a while, look in one of their basements! ^_^)