In Review: July

 Photo Credit: SKINNYWASHERE

Photo Credit: SKINNYWASHERE

July has been a month. That's really all I can say. Sure, I had a wonderful vacation in Savannah to kick things off, but I've been restless ever since. Honestly, I know why, but I don't fully know what to do. 

Regardless of this, I'm resting in the Lord, who knows me and knows the world. There's a plan even when we don't know it. It's hard to trust at times, but I'm choosing to lean in and accept that I'm not always going to know. I just have to be willing to surrender and see each day as a gift. 

Here's the month through my thoughts and wanderings. If you feel similarly or have comments, feel free to post below or send me a direct line—I'd love to connect. 

Eat, sleep, hustle. 

I've found this to be the mantra of many New Yorkers. The pace is notorious, and the opportunities are endless—so they say. Most people even have a "side gig" to either give them more experience, more connections, and/or more joy. 

But, is there always a "finish what you start" mindset? For some, I'm sure there is, but I know this hasn't been the case for me. I even think I let this be detrimental to my health, especially this past month.

I can be pretty impatient with myself. When it comes to projects and passions, I want to find the right thing and plan it well so that it goes smoothly and is received positively. When this isn't the case, I move on, not wanting to "waste time." 

Resolution #1: I'm going to limit my projects, so I can finish what I start. 

My dad always said to keep my options open, that there was nothing wrong with "kicking tires" to get more information or learn something new. While I definitely hold this advice in high regard, it can be a decision-paralyzing thing. 

Prime example: In May, I planned to launch a YouTube series featuring notable photography friends in the city. Well, I filmed the first episode, but then promptly moved on to the next project without editing or uploading. (Can you say, "Squirrel?!") 

I blame this on the fact that my camera cut off during part of the interview, but I still have the audio. Why not tailer the content and present it in a new way? Doing this would have closed the loop and completed the project, but I chose, for the time being, to let it sit on my "to do's." You know the ones that you'll come back to later but never do because you're scared or too busy. 

Well, as a first step to change the tide of this habit, here is the rough audio of that conversation with my good friend Louisa. I hope you'll check it out and provide any feedback and thoughts. 

Hashtags: yep, those pound signs. 

I love social media; I won't deny that. Heck, I do it for a living. However, I shouldn't let it define me.

This concept of identity pops up in conversation all too often. "Who are you? What do you do? What do you like? Tell me something creative about yourself." The list goes on and on. 

But sometimes (most times), we allow this to creep into our thoughts. We worry about our clothes and our conversation. We ask, "Was that funny?" Ultimately, though, this is all trivial. 

No, I'm not writing a melodramatic post to disown all forms of the digital space. I'm simply commenting on the ways it messes with our minds (my mind). You know, there was a time that a hashtag was only known as a pound sign. And, there was a time when it was known as a "the number sign." Why have we now allowed it to take up so many of our thoughts? 

Because it connects. It connects us to the world and to our corners of interest. It gets us likes.

But these likes (and engagement rates if you're nerdy like me) have gotten the better of me. It's a slippery slope that I thought I could manage. Sure, I've said for years that I don't want to be "insta-famous." And while I believe these motives are pure, the thought still creeps in and lurks. 

Resolution #2: I'm not going to spam posts with hashtags. 

It pains me to even have to list this as a "resolution," but at this point, I need a tangible action and accountability. From here, I'm not going to tell you how to do your social media, but I will challenge you to think about the way you use hashtags. Maybe just use the few relevant ones instead of the max ~30. Be specific to the story that you're telling. 

Resolution #3: I'm not going to delete posts that don't do well. 

And another very superficial thing, but here we are. Honestly, I see this more of a challenge to post on my feed from the vantage point of "storyteller."

I once said, "I'll never delete posts." I spoke too soon. I got greedy, and needy. But from here on, I want to be about the quality of the story instead of the quantity of its performance. 

Choose joy and true community. 

I'm a planner. I love hosting and meeting new people. Mainly, this is true because I love introducing people to others and bridging relationship gaps. It's fun for me because I remember details about people fairly well, which is helpful when someone asks me, "Do you know someone who likes "xyz?" Or is there someone you know needing this "abc" thing?" 

But with this, do I let people get to know me? Am I honest with people about what I like? 

This has been the other worry of the month. It came up after I decided to commit to New York longer, and I wondered, "Who here would I call if something were wrong? If something were good?" While I definitely am blessed by my church community, it still got me thinking. Have I invested in personal relationships, or am I resting on the coattails of the larger group? 

Resolution #4: Get to know people, and allow them to know me.

My parents always said growing up, "You have to be a friend to have a friend." I think I wrote that off long ago because I always had friends through my sports teams and extracurriculars. But post-grad life, especially here in New York, is different. It takes extra time to schedule things, and it takes flexibility and determination when "something at work" comes up. 

All in all, I'm hoping to turn over a new leaf and make an extra effort to know people in my community. I want to have fun hanging out, but I mostly don't want to shy away from the tougher questions of life anymore. We can't assume that everyone thinks about things the same way, and we should rejoice in the various talents, interests, and perspectives. 

Final thoughts.

This post may just be the most you've seen me ramble, but it's the best way to describe this month. Regardless, I'm thankful for people like Vicky and David who've prayed over me and my journey. I'm my own worst critic and get very frustrated when things don't happen quickly. Despite that, these people still want to know my story; they've chosen to pray with me. 

So with that, I'm still going to blog, and I'm still going to take pictures. I still love stories, and I still want to connect with you. There will be fewer hashtags and maybe fewer pictures on Instagram. But you know what, that's okay. 

In the end, God is in control. There are more important things happening in the world that we should be discussing, so I'm hoping to clear my mind of the selfishness and commit to y'all, to love, and to joy. Ultimately, I'm praying to take the pressure off and allow the Spirit to move.