this life i’ve created

Who am I if I leave this dream I’ve manifested–this life I’ve created–behind? I lost and reframed my identity: I recognized that. I recognized that I lost my sense of community, too. What I didn’t recognize until tonight was that I needed to allow myself to grieve those losses. I needed to allow myself the grace to acknowledge that this thing I once loved, no longer holds the same place in my life. And that is loss. - if you’ve ever made a transition in your life, this story is for you. 💛 you can read the whole post, titled “this life i’ve created.”

Tonight, for the first time in a long time, I checked the feed of one of the facebook groups for wedding photographers that I’m a member of. Some of my closest professional friends and peers are in this group. I felt so strange as I scrolled through the feed, looking at a mix of referrals, business discussions, and more; knowing that while I understood what my peers were going through, I was leaving this part of my life behind, at least for a time.

I’ve known for a long time now that I’ve felt isolated from my professional friends because we no longer are pursuing the same goals. Part of this was intentional– I needed to process the choice I was making, and I needed space from being inundated with the industry I was transitioning out of. But part of the isolation was the natural result of what happens when you stop going to networking events, meetups, and holiday parties; when you stop participating in a community you once longed to belong to; when you stop pursuing a goal that is no longer yours to pursue.

In the past two years, I’ve come to terms with the loss of identity– with having to redefine myself and answer the question, Who am I if not a wedding photographer?

Am I still an entrepreneur if I take a 9-5?

Is it okay to feel like I’m ready to grow into the next phase of who I’m meant to be?

…even if I never expected to feel this way at this point in time?

Am I good enough?

Yes, yes, yes, yes.

Photography was my life. It saved my life; it gave me life–it still does, in a different way.

Who am I if I leave this dream I’ve manifested–this life I’ve created–behind?

So, yes, I’ve had to undergo the long and emotional process of untangling my worth, my calling, and my identity from my work–something it never should have been unified with in the first place; but that fact is so easy to overlook when what you create pays for your home and for the food on your table.

I lost and reframed my identity: I recognized that.

I recognized that I lost my sense of community, too.

What I didn’t recognize until tonight was that I needed to allow myself to grieve those losses. I needed to allow myself the grace to acknowledge that this thing I once loved, no longer holds the same place in my life. And that is loss.

__

 

I’ve come to realize in the past few days that my calling leans more toward being an artist than being an entrepreneur. Let’s be real, in today’s creative economy you need to be both, or have the resources to hire someone to be one or the other. I do get excited about some aspects of running a business (I do run multiple businesses, and I watch The Profit for goodness’ sake), but if I had to be known for something, being excited about ROI or spreadsheets or running a team wouldn’t be it. When I’ve reached my elder years, I wouldn’t look back on my life and consider those to be my greatest achievements. I know I wasn’t put on this earth to run a Fortune 500 company–it’s just not my purpose.

I want to be known for the words I write, the message I spread, the stories I tell. I want my life to be a display of the love in my heart.

I look around me at this life I’ve created–a life that’s the result of six years of dreaming, praying, and hustling. A life that is the fruit of a six year vocational relationship filled with ups, downs, and many blessings, fueled by passion and the grace of God. And now, I’m moving into the unknown. I’m being pulled by a new vision; or, rather, the vision that was there all along, waiting for me to remember.

____

post-script:

When the inspiration came to me to write this, I imagined that I was talking to a friend. If you were sitting across from me tonight, you would have seen the tears stream down my cheeks as I came to these conclusions but all I have to share with you are these words on the page. So,  here I am, showing up for you. Thank you for being here.

written november 12th, 2018

 

Who am I if I leave this dream I’ve manifested–this life I’ve created–behind? I lost and reframed my identity: I recognized that. I recognized that I lost my sense of community, too. What I didn’t recognize until tonight was that I needed to allow myself to grieve those losses. I needed to allow myself the grace to acknowledge that this thing I once loved, no longer holds the same place in my life. And that is loss. - if you’ve ever made a transition in your life, this story is for you. 💛 you can read the whole post, titled “this life i’ve created.”

the messenger

Are you a writer?

These were the four words that shook up my life. 5 syllables, 13 characters, one question.

Are you a writer?

This old man, who apparently came out of nowhere, stopped me in my tracks.

I was sitting in a Coffee Bean, typing away on my laptop and writing copy for my newest business when he approached me.

This man had no real reason to say anything to me. My headphones were in; I was in grind mode. Do not disturb.

Are you a writer?

It was as if he were staring into my soul. Who knew that with four words, someone could radically change your life, bring you back to yourself, move you in the right direction?

Are you a writer?

I was so shocked– I pulled out my headphones and looked up at him. “Well…”

I must have mumbled something about working on my website. He assumed I was working on a screenplay. Of course– television. Movies. The Industry. Of course, right, of course. I was working in Burbank–the true heart of Hollywood. Studios surrounded me. Writers. Why else would I be sitting in my black leather jacket, typing away at a Coffee Bean at 10pm on a weeknight?

The ironic thing was that the guy sitting next to me actually was working on a screenplay. I knew he was– I peeked over at his laptop and saw what he was working on.

Do I look like a writer, sitting here in my black leather jacket?

Are you a writer?

This man’s question moved me so deeply that I journaled about it for thirty minutes afterward. I couldn’t stop thinking or smiling about it even after then. I was so moved by his words that I’m putting my thoughts and emotions into letters and writing about this experience today, right now, in this moment.

Are you a writer?

My heart whispered, “Why, yes, my dream is to write novels that are turned into award-winning screenplays and multi-million dollar feature films–how did you know?”

My heart. It knew exactly what to say. Of course, of course, of course. Of course.

My mind, on the other hand, froze. I literally didn’t know how to answer him. Am I a writer?

That’s when I knew I needed to start writing again. That’s how I found one of the missing pieces I needed to come back to myself.

___

post-script:

I knew it was God who prompted that elderly man to walk up to me and start talking to me, even though I was clearly sending the message that I wanted to focus on the task at hand, and ask me those four words. This man got up from the table he was sitting at with his friends and came straight to me–he didn’t stop to chat with me while he was buying a coffee, and he left the coffee shop soon after our encounter. The experience was so bizarre, I knew it was God who told this man to say those four words to me. He knew it would make me cry. He knew it would remind me of the dreams He placed in my heart. He knew it would make me focus on them again. He knew it would make me move beyond my limiting beliefs. He knew I needed to write, again.

 

written on june 20th, 2018.

 

where she writes do i look like a writer

hello, world.

hello, world.

my name is paulina.

i’ve been a creative, imaginative person for my entire life.

i’m in my mid-twenties now, and for the past six years, i fell out of the practice of creative, expressive writing. for the past six years i’ve traded my pen for a camera and have pursued my creativity via photography, a practice which literally means “writing with light.” but throughout this time, i’ve known deep down that i need to write with words, too. writing is a core expression of my being; my soul needs to write.

so, here i am.

i’m showing up here, for me, for you.

i want to share my stories with you, in the hopes that through my words, we can connect over shared experiences.

in addition to the full essays, stories, & poems i write here, you’ll find snippets & behind-the-scenes stories over on instagram @whereshewrites, and even extra goodness on my email list. to subscribe, click here or enter your email in the sidebar.

this is a place for the raw and the real.

thank you for being here with me.

it’s so nice to meet you.