Oh 2017, where the heck did you go?! I feel like I say that most years, but this year was definitely different. It flew by in a FLASH!!Looking back to where I was a year ago today, I was finishing up my Masters, navigating through my business and going through some rough patches in my personal life. Like every year, it has it’s ups and downs, but I’ll be honest with ya – this year had a lot of downs for me emotionally. I struggled a lot with my inner battles which led to a hard time for me to enjoy the present moment. I struggled with feeling like a fraud and I constantly compared myself to others. This is not to say that I didn’t have a great year, but when I look back, those feelings are what I remember most. Which then led to further issues…sleepless nights, overworking, stress eating, not working out, less family/friends time – and ultimately, not living in the present. My mind was ALWAYS RUNNING!!!
I can promise you that this blog post isn’t to bring back sad memories of the past, or sulk in my sorrows. It’s here to encourage me to not let those inner demons control how I live my life. I was faced with some very big decisions this year, and what I realized most about myself is that I tend to make decisions based on how other people will react to them. I made decisions that would receive the least amount of backlash. And every time I was faced with a decision, I felt guilty – or even when I did make decisions that were best for me, I hid them from others. I wasn’t in control, and I was too consumed with how other people viewed me. I regularly watch Rhiannon Bosse‘s Instagram stories because she’s just so talented and inspiring (go check her out!!) and a couple of days ago she posted about her 2018 Vision Board where she included a picture of a peach. She explained that someone once told her, “You can be the sweetest peach in the bunch, and someone will still never like peaches.” It’s 100% true. We all have the right to our own opinions, and we just may not be everyone’s cup of tea and THAT IS OKAY! What’s important is that YOU are in control of your life and are happy with the decisions at the end of the day.
I am writing this thinking, oh duh, thats so obvious. But clearly it wasn’t because I’ve been living the past 24 years of my life in fear of what other’s would think of me.
So if you are in the same boat as me, I am sure you have heard this advice time and time again. It is a very hard thing to get past, and I am working on it everyday. But just know that at the end of the day, this is YOUR life. YOU hold the key to endless doors of opportunities. Don’t let the opinions of others stop you from living to your fullest potential!
On a lighter note — one HUGE highlight of 2017 for me was graduating with my Masters in Communication Studies at Cal State Northridge. The past 6 years at CSUN has been the most rewarding and fulfilling journey. I have met the most incredible people who have shed so much light into my life! Getting involved around campus and trying new things really shaped the person I am today. The best part of my grad program wasn’t just the classes (yes, I LOVED my classes) or the people, but it was having the incredible opportunity to teach Public Speaking to college students. Now this was a whole other part of the journey I will have to blog about later, but my oh my, this was the highlight of the program. I was introduced to 50+ new students every semester, 200 total throughout my 2 years in the program. Being in a room filled with students who are so motivated and determined to be the best version of themselves was so. damn. inspiring. I came to class everyday inspired by my students and their stories. Together we grew as a class. They saw things in me that I wasn’t brave enough to acknowledge of myself. Teaching is something I do have a passion for, and hope to implement more in the coming years.
One other big highlight for me was beginning to work FULL TIME in my photography business. All 5 years of my business have been shared with school, other part time jobs and internships. The second I crossed that stage back in May, Angelica Marie Photography was now my only responsibility. These past 7 months have gone by faster than I could’ve ever imagined. I feel like I’ve been running around like a mad woman – driving all around Southern California for shoots! Any opportunity I was handed, I immediately said yes to. I hustled as hard as I could and as fast as I could. I needed to prove to myself (and to my parents) that I could make this dream into a reality. It has been one hell of a journey and I am so eager and excited to give my business the attention it’s been longing for.
2017 – You were a year dedicated to growth, self-discovery and passion. Thank you for the obstacles along the way. I am excited to take all that I have learned from them into 2018.
And of course, a very special thank you to all that have supported me throughout this year and years past. Family, friends and clients, I cannot tell you how much I appreciate each and every one of you. You are my driving force and my inspiration. I wouldn’t be here today without you, thank you.