Awhile back, I promised that I would start sharing more of my personal life - alongside my clients stories. So here we go...
In June 2016, I was mistaken for being someone else. The comment was innocent; and in fact, the family member was excited that he thought he had seen me on a hidden camera in a documentary. It was passed around to all of my siblings, and they all agreed that it was in fact me. But after I viewed the footage, although I could see similarities - she dressed like me and wore her hair like me; she was not me. I saw her as being quite overweight... and I was devastated that so many people thought that SHE was ME.
I had just come out of a bad relationship, so I was aware that I had gained weight; but I didn't think I was "big". But now that my family had mistaken me for being someone else, I had to be more honest about how much I had gained. But admitting to it, and doing something about it- were two different things. In the past, I would have just swept those comments under the proverbial rug, which would do more damage than good. But I was done living a negative life, which meant change was necessary.
I've always been an academic and an artist but never an athlete; in fact I always felt out of place when trying to be athletic. Every attempt, always started with good intentions - a gym membership - but I never followed through to the end. And my attempts to workout alone never worked - I didn't know what I was doing- so I never stuck with it for very long. I really needed a workout partner - someone that would be there for accountability and encouragement. Instead, I would try to force my motivation by announcing to all of my friends and family that I was starting something new (again)... only to drop it within a few weeks. It was always a waste of money on unfulfilled contracts because I was too intimidated to ask for help.
However, this time had to be different. So, I decided not to tell anyone until I had made it a habit. I started working out three days a week with Ian, the owner of Lashley Training Center in Mount Vernon, Ohio. I was with Ian from July 2016-December 2016. However, I didn't start to see a change in my body until mid-Aug. when I changed the way I ate (duh - it is what everyone says, but I didn't believe it till I saw it). Because I was lifting, I wasn't really loosing "weight"... but I was loosing inches. However, it didn't take long before my progress was evident to all that knew me. Plus I was sleeping better, concentrating more, my depression was being held at bay, and my confidence was on the rise. Below are the visual results of what I did during this time period:
I cut all of my heads out of the pictures, because I hate selfies. I know, I know... you'd think as a photographer, I'd do a better job of selfies - but I rarely like my expression in selfies - so "off with her head". However, because I am so visual, I knew that I wanted to visually document my progress...
My workout schedule took a drastic turn when my rental house was sold, and I had to find new living arrangements. Instead of staying in Mount Vernon, I wanted to move down to the Columbus area - where the majority of my clients reside.
However, I didn't want to ruin my fitness progress, so for awhile I was still driving back up to Mt Vernon to meet with my trainer. The holidays were hard enough as it was; and my clean eating took a backseat during the transition. After awhile it was obvious that I couldn't always make the hour drive back up to Mt Vernon just for my workouts - it just didn't make sense. I had a workout space in my new apartment complex, but sometimes you just have to be honest with yourself... and my honest self, said that I'm not that dedicated to workout without someone telling me what to do, and I'll get really bored trying to workout alone.
After looking at a few gyms on Yelp, and then studying their websites and social media accounts (yes, this is how I make decisions), I decided that The Ultimate U Total Health (The UU) was my ideal location. The trainers are all well educated and nationally certified. Everyone looked really friendly; it was only 8 min. from my house; and it's not a chain - so it's a chance to support another small local business.
I didn't wait until after the holidays to start; my first session was before Christmas. The UU gym is significantly larger than the one I was coming from; so despite everyone being extremely friendly and very professional, I was quite intimidated by the atmosphere.
When I first came in, I did a handful of one-on-one sessions with my now trainer, Christian - it was a needed time to get to know each other and assess my levels of ability. I also had the opportunity to have some solid conversations with him; minimizing our apparent differences. I'm grateful for that time, because he would have intimidated me as much as the gym atmosphere, had we not met one-on-one first. (Just so you know, on the other side of things, he's not intimidating at all. Besides being extremely knowledgeable in his field, he's also very patient with me, verbally attentive and a giant goofball).
So, after Christian decided I was "ready" (which by the way, was much sooner than I would have said I was ready... but then again, if it was left up to me, I probably never would have been ready haha), I joined the small training group sessions that meet at 6am Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. I quickly realized that an hour workout at my old gym, versus an hour workout at my new gym were two VERY different things. Ian & Christian have different philosophies in how to train. And I was now re-adjusting to a whole new philosophy.
I'm now going into my 4th month with The Ultimate U - and I am FINALLY able to keep up (to my satisfaction). I can get through an entire hour workout without needing to stop and rest. And I'm advancing in how many rounds of conditioning I can get through in the allotted time near the end of the hour.
I'm still loosing little bits of weight/inches as I go, but I'm honestly not tracking it as heavily as I once did. I gave away my scale awhile ago... because instead I'm now tracking how much I am able to lift (my RDLs and Deadlifts are up to 145#). I also really like how strong my arms are starting to look in the mirror. :)
Working out in a small group has been a great experience. On any given day, there's 3-6 of us that show up (Carmen, Ray, Rich, Chantel, Dan & Tracey & occasionally Step - and me. And now there's a new guy too - Brian, who comes when he's not traveling); but whoever signs up first, gets into the session first - so I don't see everyone everyday. However, Carmen & Ray are always there, and most of the time, so is Rich. They are all very sweet and easy to be around.
I know I can come off very shy and innocent in the beginning of new situations. I typically like to come in as an observer, but combine that with being overly intimidated, and I think it is taking me a bit longer to get comfortable - because of my walls, I wondered how long it would take everyone else to warm up to me as well... But they are finally giving me crap for little things (joking of course), which is nice to know that I've been accepted into the group. They are also extremely helpful, especially in the beginning when I looked lost all the time - the entire group, was very good about pitching in to give support. (For the first 2 months, I pretty much shadowed Carmen - because she always knew what she was doing. But I learned very quickly not to try to keep pace with her).
(By the way, Ray was the glass blower from an earlier post).
My walls of insecurity are slowly dropping. I'm still a bit quieter than when I'm with my clients and friends... I'm not sure if the gym is ready for all of my quirkiness and my dry sense of humor lol We'll get there...
It's taken awhile, but I've discovered that I'm not the only one that dreads certain exercises... I know this would seem to be evident, but the rest of my group just does a better job at looking like they are pros at all of it. However, we all have those sets that we hate and feel like we suck at... and yet do them anyway. I hate doing back squats, reverse lunges & box jumps... and yet, I'm amazed that I can now somewhat do the back squats (at the moment, I can't say the same for the other two). I still look at Christian like he's crazy, when he's trying to get me to do something new (but in my defense, it's usually because he is honestly introducing something that looks crazy - and yet he acts like it's no big deal. Look up Hamstring Falls & Rowing Machine Pikes on YouTube). But I also feel empowered (and kind of a badass) when I figure out how to do that exercise faster than I anticipated. (Side note: I don't look like the videos - yet).
I titled this post, "Becoming Fearless" because I have gained a new sense of self since I've started working out. My girls (Hailey, Anne & Joy) point it out regularly - that I've starting becoming fearless in aspirations and goals. There's a language in the gym that refers to "gains" - and (I think) it refers to whenever you meet your next goal - whether that be adding strength/muscles or lifting heavier. For me, my workouts have been the catalyst to my confidence - and that itself has been my biggest "gain".
I've only been working out since last July (2016) - so not even a year has passed... and I cannot believe how far I've come!! My strength and accomplishments IN the gym, empowers all other aspects of my life. When I'm able, I workout 4x a week (I added a boxing cardio class on Saturday mornings, also with Christian. It's grueling but I love it). And to think, it all started with an innocent comment about mistaken identity. I probably never would have taken on such a feat, had it not started there. Which is proof that you can take a negative comment and make a positive results.
Although I have enough knowledge to workout on my own, I still don't have the inner drive to follow through without a trainer. And besides, it's not as fun. So I need Christian and my morning crew to give me a reason to want to be at the gym... They give me that community and accountability that I crave. But then, I'm also using all of those endorphins and visual results that I need to push the rest of my life goals.
I used to set gym goals every month... but I've run out of small goals to reach for (I've accomplished them already). So, I suppose my next big goal is to deadlift my bodyweight - but that one may take awhile to achieve. Kitchen goals are easier to think of - Meal Prep every week.
Being a better photographer, and a better boss lady comes from taking care of myself. So I hope you have enjoyed reading a little bit of who I am when I'm away from my camera.
Oh wait, here are two pictures - with heads in them. Haha. The picture on the left is from approx. 2014 and the picture on the right is from 2016.
Tog-Blog: "Tog" is an insiders shortcut for "photographer". So this Tog-Blog is my version of my photographer's blog.
And I'm writing this out... so you can all know: I'm committing myself to blogging this 2017 year!! I've been horrible about it in the past, but this is my year of "why not?".. my year to be "fearless and bold" and to just go for it.
I am LOVING my life!! I have re-dedicated myself full-time to running my photography business and I couldn't be happier about it!!
What you can expect from me in these blog posts:
+ More portfolio work - of everything that I shoot - including my personal work
+ I want to be authentically me... being real is very important to me
+ Behind the scenes of my business (something that I've never shared before)
+ Advice, Tips & Tricks - I've always been an educator at heart
Why?? Because I want you to get to know me - not just the photographer and business owner - but the real me. Why?? Because I am more than just someone who takes pretty pictures. And I want you to see that... Authenticity is extremely important to me. I've integrated bits of myself into my Instagram and definitely into my Pinterest. So why not do it in my blog as well. I've also been looking for an outlet to use my creative writing skills. So I figured this is the perfect place to start. (The storyteller within will be very pleased).
I've labeled this section of the website: TogBlog... but what exactly does that mean? Because I know that most of you that will be reading this are not familiar with the slang that photographers use, I am here to inform you!!
TOG - is slang for photographer. Originally, the society of photographers, shortened "Photographer" this word to "Photog" - which is where my website and social media names come from, but now "photographer" has been shortened down to just "Tog".
And because, Tog, rhymes with Blog, I thought it was most appropriate to sandwich them together.
Also, as I am gearing up to go back to photography full-time - like no safety net, full-time. It's both scary and thrilling at the same time. Of course I can always take on freelance jobs if things are slow, but the ultimate purpose is to have more time to do the life that I know I am suppose to be living.
So with that, you'll need to know that I will share more than just my photography on this page. I want to start sharing my LIFE with you too. After being in business for over 6 years, I've decided that sharing the little personal nuggets of me, intertwined with my talent for photographer IS my brand. If you look at my Pinterest boards or my Instagram, you'll see my life (my family, my workouts & healthy eating habits, my faith, as well as anything else that strikes my fancy) right along side of my love of weddings, babies, high-fashion lighting, natural textures, and my lovely clients. So, why not share it verbally & visually on my blog as well.... welcome to my Neverland! (You'll understand this reference the more you get to know me :) ).
(Haha, this will probably be the ONLY blog without photos).
A girl with a camera, trying to be creative out loud. I keep my clients as friends; believe in endless possibilities. and have decided that 2017 is a "Fearless and Bold" kind of year.