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Dating and the experiences that follow. *New*

Here we are in quarantine, and to think about dating is probably one of the strangest things to think about, although dating apps and sites have made it easy to date from a distance, that isn’t what this post is about though.

In my life, dating is a very quick and easy story to tell. That’s because It is almost non-existent. I could say it was because I was overweight and unattractive to the world, because that’s what it felt like, but it wasn’t that. It was all combination of everything you can possibly think of. Being overweight and being un happy, being lazy and being unhappy, not having confidence in who I am and being unhappy. I think the trend is pretty clear being unhappy was a very large factor in what I was doing or not so much doing, because when you can’t even see yourself as somebody worth something, you’ll never have any kind of chance of really doing anything social.

To separate my weight loss and just overall confidence is an important part of this journey, I really started to throw myself in this world right away after finally being able to look in the mirror and saying WOW, I don’t recognize myself anymore so maybe the people who never wanted me before may want me now. As ridiculous as that seemed, it worked, sort of.

I immediately downloaded two of the most common dating apps Bumble and Tinder and the world I thought I was ready for was thrust upon me like an ever-building tidal wave, it was swiping left and right, this almost skill I had to rewire right away. Like was I really one to be judging someone based off of their looks, to say they are attractive to me so swipe right. That was its whole thing to consider, but consideration went out the window when I was shipped right on.

I didn’t know how to talk to these girls. All the thoughts that could run through your mind when you start talking to someone attractive were running through mine. What do I say? Do I try to be Funny? Do I play hard to get? Now if you knew me then, you know just how hilarious that is. No matter what I tried, I could never figure it out, conversations always died off and things never really came to fruition. I can tell you though it wasn’t because of a lack for trying. I enjoy talking and I enjoy learning about people, it would just somehow never seem natural and again never really turn into anything. For a while it became so discouraging so seemingly pointless, because here I am finally confident in myself not only physically but mentally because finally, I felt like I was being seen. When it would have been so easy to give up and go back into being so negative again, one thing became clear. Consistency and learning as you go was going to be my new normal.

As I had to pep talk to myself again and again, “you worked every day to lose weight and now you have to keep the consistency here too because nothing happens overnight”. Experience though was the key. Each day, each swipe and each interaction would show me something. I could see my communication changing and my confidence in myself continue to grow. Conversations became better with matches and meetings became a thing (whole other serious of post). I was finally starting to figure this out, or so it seemed.

With anything you do in life where you go from one thing to another, it’s all about learning along the way. For me it was learning how to not shy away from situations and opening myself up for something that was so foreign to allow myself to experience everything and honestly no overthink something that is so easy to overthink. Understanding that if someone is meant to be in your life they will be, and if you truly experience the path your own, good things will come from it. Dating can be such a bumpy road, but if you open your heart, and yourself the good and the bad will teach you so much more than shutting yourself off from the world.

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A life unknown.

I started this blog/website a little over two years ago with the goal to set out and tell the inspiring stories of people and business. Along these stories were meant to inspire and say, if we can do it so can you. All that really formed here, especially while I put a lot of time and dedication into it, collecting stories and curating content that seemed to get the message out there.

The story I wasn’t telling though and was scared to tell was my own, my story wasn’t something I was never proud of so the though of sharing it was never something I would of dared to tel because if I hated myself there was no point to tell it, because all I wanted to do was inspire and let people know at the very core of it all if I can do it, you can definitely do it.

I started 2019 weighing over 240 pounds, I had a enough of my life, my life of choosing to be alone and hide from the world because everything seemed so scary. I made it scary though, I didn’t try to meet new people I didn’t try to date I tried to stay home and continue many ways. Ways of poison and self sabotage. That was the easiest life I could ever live, to stay and hide, watch tv and play video games. I was continent. Until I wasn’t.

I decided finally one day in February 2019 that this was enough, I took a picture to try and see who I really was and who I saw in that picture was not who I was supposed to be. I was everything I hated because I let my entire life waste away, I as overweight living at home with a terrible job not living up to my college degree I had earned a year prior. I wasn’t chasing anything I loved or wanted because that involved work, work I clearly didn’t want to do. All until that switch finally flipped.

When that switch finally flipped, I was angry so angry that I felt so confused but I couldn’t figure out why, until I realized. I was angry at myself. I destroyed my mental health, I destroyed my physical health, I destroyed my entire life all because it was easier. Then the words came out of my mouth. “I’m tired of this, I’m tired of you”. I knew it was time so I formulated my plan. The plan which was too figure out my diet and figure out exercise, these two things that evaded me for my entire life it seemed so daunting and scary because I actually had to work for it.

I worked for it and here I am, almost a year after starting I look into the mirror and I see someone I actually like, I see the hard work and pain pay off. I am down 90 pounds, I am down to wearing a medium shirt. All of these things I always wanted to look like, I finally look like. This journey was everything I wanted the pain I endured and fought through I overcome it, here I am looking the best I’ve ever been and being the healthiest I’ve ever been. A journey, traveled has so many roads and one conquered doesn’t mean they are all conquered.

Here I am with these stories to tell and conversations to have the experiences I’ve been through and will continue to go through will be shared on here. My life to maintain my weight, my dating life, my battle to maintain my mental health to know I am enough, and that you are enough. This website may now tell my stories but I want it to encourage yours, believe me if I can do something I have no doubt you can do it even better.

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Here we go

When you start a year you expect things to change, you expect to sit to those resolutions, but what happens? You fall back to the life you’re so comfortable with, the life you’re happy with because it’s easier to stay the same.

An issue remains, you are the same.

For me being the same was slowly killing me, slowly dragging me down to a place that wasn’t healthy mentally or physically, and that’s when the resolutions you make have to kick in, or else the life you have, will never be the life you want. The life I wanted was nothing but dreams of living someone else’s life, I was filled with jealously over envy just wanting to be like everybody else. That’s where this story begins.

I started 2019 as an overweight depressed individual, that was something every year since I was a child started as, and that was ok that was something I was happy with because I decided not to acknowledge it, and of course that was easier, of course it’s just another year in the same old routine was a simple excuse. But the excuses were wearing thing on my mind and at some point a flip had to switch, and luckily in February it did. The man I was wasn’t who I wanted to be anymore and things didn’t seem so dim.

I started to work and work and work non stop day after day the physically was difficult at first getting consistent with my routine never giving up on something like I would always do, I worked out 7 days a week over and over for months. Hitting goal after goal, becoming the person I wanted to be, I could see it take shape not theoretically but physically my face was different I could look in the mirror and not recognize the person I had become, and was still becoming. It was working I was losing weight and stay mentally on the path I wanted.

Here I today standing at 90 pounds down, loving myself and my life for the first time ever, I’m awake and I’m living in every single moment. My life’s back and it’s about to stay on a path I would of never thought could be possible. So when I wake up it’s one phrase I can easily live by, let’s live.

Let this all serve as a personal journey journal not only for me but for you. Because if I can do it, I know you can. So as I say, let’s live.

-From fat to this.-

Lisa A. More than a business owner and photographer.

I was a full-time teacher. Having worked towards and achieving a Bachelor of Arts in Human Development with an Early Childhood Education certificate. I became a Mom, and I knew I wanted to find something I could do that would give me more time with my family. While I was at work, I always felt like I was missing out on so much of my son’s life. I have also loved old film and photography since I was a little girl. I was fascinated by how much history and emotion one little print could hold. Like many other entrepreneurs, the switch was flipped, and the dream had taken hold, the ability to be home watching the growth of my son along with working that growth into my business was a dual satisfaction that was worth it almost immediately.

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A lot of my style I owe to motherhood. I see life so differently now than I did before having my own family. I find so much beauty in the little details – like the tiniest newborn fingers and toes, and the way their skin is wrinkled. My goal in each session is to capture authentic moments. I want my clients to look back on the images and be taken back to that season of life. I want my photos to hold a story, an emotion. Sometimes people can really group photographers at the same level if you aren’t some big-time artist but for me I want the moments for my clients to really exist in the mind long after the final results are viewed, I want the story of the shoot and the moments in that shoot to be talked about and reminisced on as a memory of togetherness with the love of those people or that place that elicits that pure joy of when a photo was first viewed, time and time again.

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Moments in time and memories of life were never any truer than this past spring, I was asked to do a shoot for an older couple. We decided on an in-home session. Once I arrived I learned he was battling not only cancer but also Parkinson’s disease. His smile was contagious. I stayed for almost an hour after the shoot to listen to stories from decades long gone. It felt so rewarding to capture someone who had lived so much life, and to honor the couples long enduring love for each other. It was that shoot that I realized every stage of life should be captured in its raw beauty. Sometimes struggles are defined so easily but to see someone fight through things and still be so present is so unique that to capture each memory is what drives the basic story of the people in the world no matter the size of struggle.

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You can see photographers trying to shoot the biggest celebrities or the smallest and wildest toddler trying to direct a shoot to how they really had it planned in their mind but to capture pure moments sometimes the struggles loom large over any shoot, but the business side can be even more of a cloud than any wild subject. My most difficult struggle has been valuing myself and my time. It’s so hard to look around and see other photographers doing X amount of sessions or weddings and not compare myself. I feel this pressure to measure my success by how many weddings I book. In my first years as a business owner, I did anything to book, even if that meant lowering my price by a significant amount. I have been published, and even won awards, but honestly, my biggest feeling of success so far came when I realized I was making more money and working less by just valuing myself and my work more. Success is different for everyone, but for me, if I can pursue this passion and keep my family a priority, that’s my sweet spot. I can book fewer weddings, but value my work more, and it all evens out. At the end of the day, I want this to still be something that brings me joy.

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I think the struggle of a comparison made me work harder and stay humble. I can confidently say I have a successful business, but I am pretty quiet about my accomplishments. I want my work to speak for itself. The feelings of success usually come when I need them most. This is an oversaturated market, so it’s easy to feel stuck in a rut at times, or just unsure. I’ve learned that I need to feel balanced with work and family. If I feel like I can’t give 100% to my family, I know I need to either finish the shoot I’m working on, so I can be fully present, or I need to take a break and just be with my family so I can give 100% to my work later. I would love to travel more with photography. Whether it’s destination weddings, family sessions, or company branding. In photography, there is constant growth. For me, I want to continue to push myself to capture really authentic meaningful moments.

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Meet and book Lisa: https://www.merakiphotographynw.com

IG: https://www.instagram.com/merakiphotographynw/

In all directions.

I never thought I’d be one of the directionless, lost ones. Growing up, I felt ambitious, brilliant, confident. I wanted to help people and change the world. Then over the course of about two months, my whole world flipped upside down. What followed was heartbreaking chaos and a period of questioning everything I’d ever known and everything I’d ever thought to be true about who I was. If I were to consider that moment an earthquake, there were aftershocks for several years that kept me from healing. There wasn’t much left to hold on to, and I tried to push away what was left. I ended up deeply depressed, anxious, paralyzed by a fear that showed up as rage bubbling just below the surface, and I made myself completely unavailable for connections with other people. Bit by bit, over the past several years, I’ve mostly put myself back together. I resemble the girl I used to be, but nothing is quite where it was before (and I’m better, kinder, and more compassionate for it). Now I write to help other women with anxiety, depression, and aimlessness, and I plan to start coaching soon, too. -@thatoldkitchentable