2017 is here. It’s already February.

And I’m not even mad.

Celia G Photographie

2017 came in like a big, squealy sorority girl hug: a little loud and questionably tipsy, but with a gaping mouthed smile – maybe a little ugly-happy cry – and excited to get things started.

How weird to be sitting exactly where I sat a year ago… I was wearing 2nd (maybe 3rd) day old pants, crying, praying, thinking I had made a huge mistake in moving to our new coastal home and trying to take my business full time all at once. I was upbeat and positive on the outside, but internally I scared and lonely. Lost. The place John and I had wanted to call home for so long felt so nostalgic yet foreign and desolate. That yucky floating head of social norms boomed with a voice that said to let go of my ambitions and ideas and dreams of owning a profitable photography business. It told me to settle… so I went to the job boards and started planning how to quietly close up shop, at least “for now.” Maybe I’d try again later.

Thankfully, the voice of “Lil C” was louder. Much louder. And more persistent. And she only got more intense the more I snacked on leftover Christmas candy.

{For those of you who are joining us here for the first time, “Lil C” is the inner voice of my younger days… she was fearless and bright-eyed and knew not the meaning of limitation. She guides me on the regular.}

So I took small steps in my business. I planned and I set goals and I kept key people in the loop. I asked for how I could help. I asked for help myself. I also took literal small steps on the beach or local trails – lots of long, quiet walks with my little fuzzy butt to meditate or pray or let my mind wander uninterrupted.

celia g photographie

Things began to happen.

ALL THE THINGS.

And thus began one of the most wild rides I’ve ever been on that was 2016.

I ‘effed up a ton ( and pretty royally at that). I lost a lot of sleep. I had to ask a lot of John in terms of patience and understanding. I said “yes” to everything for fear I’d miss a big opportunity. I felt overwhelmed but never knowing where to start. I let the Doubt Monster and the Comparison Beast take up space in my head and my heart. I learned really quickly that there are some people who only see through the perspective of what they get out of things, never truly valuing creative work. I found out there were those who didn’t believe in my goals or who said mean things. I noticed there were people I had constantly supported and valued as friends who suddenly went silent or became apathetic or became difficult to reach.

It was embarrassing and so, so painful.

BUT, I also scored a few key victories. I gained some incredibly valuable experiences and learned a lot through taking chances. John continued to highlight the progress and express support. I discovered some splendid, magical, selfless (often hilarious) people who want nothing but good, GOOD things for my endeavors and our new lives here in this special little island community… even when I had nothing to offer in return. Some of those people even came out of those screwed up experiences, which feels even crazier that it’s all part of the story.

More importantly, there were people who stuck with me and were the wildly encouraging, funny, and graceful beings who held me accountable because they knew I knew better than to accept defeat. Even when things got tough or scary or weird, they reminded me repeatedly why I was doing it in the first place.

I often feel so undeserving of these people, new and old friends, far and near, because I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to repay them for what they’ve done and continue to do for me.

But I do know I wake up every day motivated to live into – if not beyond! – the space of generosity and ambition they’ve created for me. And it ultimately led me to my Word of 2017: Responsibility.

I toyed around with several words and thoughts for weeks: Fearlessness? Intention? Gratitude? While strong words, they didn’t feel quite right. In looking ahead to my 2017 year and the fullness of things already well in progress or already in planning stages – things I couldn’t even fathom sitting in my 2nd (3rd?) day old pants a year ago – I felt it needed to be a big, more encompassing idea. And “responsibility” hit me, hard, as I sat in the airport on my way home from Texas in early January 2017, filling out my 2017 planner and making To Do’s and scribbling down big ideas. They were all things I was insanely excited about, despite the crazy amount of work they’d take; things that other people helped make happen and believed I was the right person to do; things that Lil C screamed GO FOR IIIIT! while running in muppet-flailing arm circles.

I have a responsibility to give THEM the biggest YES’s!, to work whole-heartedly and appreciatively for the chances they’ve provided, and to hold space for relationship and friendship (hopefully over bourbon or waffles… or both). To realize I have something and someone(s) to work for with no room for distractions is something I’ve prayed and worked and wished for, for a long… LONG time.

celia g photographie

I realize that 2017 so far for the world at-large has been tumultuous and disheartening and scary. I’ve witnessed fear and self-importance and mean-spiritedness in ways and on levels I didn’t know existed.  It makes me feel guilty when something good comes along and creates a lot of “what’s the point” feelings. I feel compelled to say something, but I can’t find the words. The noise is deafening.

I’m not nor will I ever suggest one should be blind to what’s going on. But I will say the digital mobs will distract us from what’s going on around us – and being blind to how we can truly BE is how the bad guys take control. Or so I’ve noticed.

Being responsible to my commitments and the people who have given me so much while also giving everything I have to what I really feel I should be doing… that’s the only way I know how to deal with what’s going on in the world. To continue to feel things fully. To start giving back to the people and organizations in my community. To hold others accountable to live into their best selves. To be fully and totally aware and appreciative of the freedoms and “ordinary” luxuries I enjoy every day. To stay excited. To be inspired by people who don’t hide behind angry social media posts and classless protest signs… but who trust the process, do the work, believe in themselves, believe in others, and who just darned NICE people.

But anyone taking time to read this flatulent musing of reflection already knows what they can do to combat apathy, suffering, and ignorance.

And know I’m here to support you every step of the way. Because the world needs your light and laughter and joy. It needs it real bad, y’all.

For the times that get scary or rough or hopeless, I’ve got a full glass of red wine and buttery soaked waffle with your name on it.

Let 2017 give you that big squealy hug and feed your inner “Lil” that leftover holiday candy… because we have work to do. And we’re literally just getting started.

Hugs & high fives,

C

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