Monthly Review | March - October
I moved! Yay for Bri. I finally got my life together… of sorts! So I quit my job in Reno last December.. it’s almost been a year since that amazing decision. I moved back home to Montana, in with my parents so I could save money and get my life together, and there I sat, for 9 months. At first I was okay with taking a break. I’d worked my whole life and just needed 10 seconds to breath. After a few months I started looking for jobs. This may sound like the weirdest dilemma but I had everywhere to go and therefore no real idea where to go. I don’t have kids, a boyfriend/husband, etc. so I could move to any city, any state, and make a new life. With every opportunity available, it’s actually really hard to chose. So I spent quite a few months applying for random jobs all over the country. Eventually my friends called me, told me to get my life together (love them!), and suggested I apply for jobs in Montana, which I did. And I landed the PERFECT job in Billings. I’ve been here about 2.5 months so far and I am loving it. Montana has everything and is beyond beautiful - sure I miss good food but I can cook at home just fine. Right now I am loving living in my home state and exploring as I have a lot I haven’t seen. But I will say it’s definitely been a re-learning experience…
As I said above, and maybe you’ve deduced via this and past posts, my life has been quite the journey. As I get closer to 30 I realize now why 99.9% of people say their 30s were WAY better than their 20s. Pharmacy school was a blast, residency was a lot of work, and Reno was as my friend (who I met post-Reno) who moved there and left at the same time as me describe it “the best and worst times of my life”. Reno was a struggle after a few years of already struggles. Standing all the end of all that, I realized I no longer recognized myself. Fear set in, self-doubt, negative self-talk, all those things that destroy a human. So I became a hermit, a crab, and I hid away from the world, completely and absolutely lost. And now…
I’m working through my issues. In all honesty I don’t have that many issues, I still function just fine, but we all have issues. I have self-doubt in every aspect of my life. I care what other people think and I let their opinions of me affect my life. It’s just the truth of being a human in this day and age. I am also a perfectionist and extremely hard on myself. So I’ve been digging through my past, looking at the things that made me, the things that happened to me, and I am trying to become better and stronger. One of the worst things about this year, and maybe one of the best, was my obsession with photography and social media. I took a workshop by the amazing Alex Strohl and it forever changed how I take pictures. But all those amazing photos plastered all over the internet, the ones I strove to take, made me so bad about myself that two horrible things happened.
First I starting filtering my photos. I’ve always loved photos that are true to real life in terms of color. Yes you can brighten them or add a little contrast but to withstand the test of time photos should be altered slightly but still look real. I made the mistake here, here, and here of trying to make my photos look like someone else’s. And it was a waste of my time!
Second I stopped. I stopped taking pictures… if the conditions weren’t perfect, if the lighting wasn’t right, if the photo felt too fake. I just stopped. I stopped doing the one thing I enjoyed more than anything. I stopped being myself. I couldn’t take a decent photo to save my life. It’s a horrible thing, really, comparison - it’s paralyzing. And the funny thing is that we are not going to get better unless we keep putting in the hours. If you look at old photos by almost every photographer and blogger… they stink!
I had some pretty bad past experiences with led to self-doubt, the self-doubt made me idolize and try to be like people who were 1) more experienced 2) not me 3) photographers not bloggers. All of this lead to me taking photos and filtering them which didn’t fit me. I spent time and money, way too much time, obsessing over people better and different than me. Which led me to a sort of depression, frustration, and eventually led me to STOP taking photos all together. Eventually I realized my mistake so I quit social media. I can’t decide if feeling not like myself or being stuck is worse. But with every passing day I feel more and more like myself and I am so excited to get back into blogging and enjoying it because I truly do LOVE all of this with a passion.
The nice thing about all of this, or maybe just the spin I am putting on it, is that it’s all a lesson learned. I am reading an article with George Saunders and he said, “The antidote, for me, has been getting comfortable with my own revision process—seeing those bad first lines as just a starting place. If you know the path you’ll take from bad to better to good, you don’t get so dismayed by the initial mess.” This really hits home. It’s hard to look back at bad experiences or choices but it’s necessary to see growth and to continue to grow, to be better, as both inspiration as to how far you’ve come and as motivation to continue to improve.
On to the update…
Having only been in Billings 2.5 months my goal is to meet new people, try to find people “more like me”, and spend as much time as I can exploring. I LOVE to travel and for the past 2-3 years I have been going as much as I can. I’ve visited at least one new place via plane each year and who knows how many by car. But on a recent trip to Minneapolis I realized how tired I am of leaving “home” and how much I want to explore beautiful landscapes closer to home. My idea of happiness has switched from cities to outdoors and Montana is a great place to view some wide open spaces! I am excited to create better travels guides for Montana and challenge myself to do more, see more, take photos, and write connect to match. Billings gets a bad rap; people say it’s a bad place to live. I can see how it has certain unappealing aspects but I am bound and determined to find the good and make Billings home. I am determined to build a community, to be a better person and friend; I will not stop until I make Billings home, the place I always imagined for myself… and then some. I think one of my best qualities is my ability to make the best out of a situation. I have lived in 5 places now, as an adult, and I was always able to see the positive and find things to do. I spent a lot of my childhood and college years not exploring … and I have a lot to make up for!
I have A LOT of goals for my blog. First I was to blog more. And blog more true to myself. I want to get out with my camera and enjoy the heck out of this, remember the reasons I started. I want to take better pictures, continue to improve with my shooting and editing style. but I don’t want to let it deter me. I don’t want to miss out on sharing moments because I am trying to be like someone else, because I am trying to be too perfect.
Second I want to make some income off my blog. I love all of you guys for following me but I would like to figure out ways to make a little cash off my blog because I want to do it more and time is money! I am going to start in December, I will be working less at the hospital, and really dig into the business side of my blog. So far I have only dabbled, mostly for “fun”. in some aspects of all of this, as most of us women do; we decide to make things side hobbies instead of careers. I’ve made quite a bit of money randomly taking photo, promoting products, but I want to put my fears aside and pursue it as a real form of income.
Third I want to write a book.
Where to start. So first things first. I want to keep working through my issues. I want to be confident and strong. It’s amazing to read books and listen to talks by some of the best, Brene Brown, Rachel Hollis, Tony Robbins, Mel Robbins, and figure out things about yourself. I’m a huge people pleaser and now I know why. I am never satisfied and I now I know why. I want to keep working then write a book about what I’ve learned.
I am vegetarian now and I want to continue down the path of being healthy, eating well, working out, sleeping enough, and treating my body better. I feel off the wagon on vacation followed by Halloween followed by a week of being sick but I am determined to get back on that path because my body felt SO much better when I was eating clean. I was sleeping more because of it. It’s such a slippery slope, I’ve learned. Because you get tired, eat crappy, and the crappy food keeps you tired and wanting to eat it!
I want to keep exploring, saving money, meeting people, and growing my “side hustle”. I want to spend time with people that are more like me - I grew up in a very red state with a lot of cowboys but I am more of a outdoorsy, Patagonia, “save the Earth” kind of gal. It’s really hard to be yourself when the people around you disagree but I hope I can change/open their minds and be brave and secure enough to be myself (as I said I am a people pleaser).
I have a lot of goals and dreams for myself and I want to be better at pursuing them. I dabble like I said, it’s a bad habit; I sort of half do things then waste a lot of time doing other things. It’s a real bad habit and I need to fight like heck to stop because I think if I faced everything in my life with 110% I would be farther along and a lot more successful and happy than I am now. Life is simply too short and although I don’t want to regret the past because there is no use I need to be better at taking full advantage of the now.
So that’s me right now! A little bit of a hot mess but at least I have goals and direction. My life is 500% better even though I have to remind myself of that daily. I’m not really sure it’s an under-appreciation as much as a fear that my wonderful life can thus be taken away. When I have a good day, nay a great day, at work I come home and have anxiety. It’s something I am getting used to - being happy and hopeful, feeling like I belong, like I am home. I do feel I am treating myself better, which is strange to explain but I hope to try in the future, and it’s made all the difference.