Last year I donated more than two feet of hair to Pantene's Beautiful Lengths. This is a sacrifice for me (and my husband) every time because there is so much about short hair that just doesn't feel right. My hair can look quite a bit different in five months of growing and trimming, and this weekend it was time to update my headshots so people recognize me.
I am a deeply compassionate and empathetic person. Truly seeing people is one of the things that comes naturally to me and I believe it saturates my photography.
I am also known for my enormous laugh and wry sense of humor. It's hard to represent all of these things in a single photograph.
For a long time I've carried the expectation that in order to serve families living with grief I needed to be . . . someone a little different from myself. That part of me who is joyful was getting stuffed away by the part of me who is nurturing and compassionate. The big-hearted, loud version was told to shush by the big-hearted, quiet version.
Today, they shake hands. They will be working together from now on.
This won't change my behavior. My work is to serve families as they need me. I match the energy and the vitality they need to experience in someone, and I am really good at doing that.
This does change the way I see myself, and in this view I feel like I can breathe. I feel like I can be authentically me without apology. I am goofy. I'm also pretty polished about it. I know that in order to be the most connected I can be with my client families, I need to feel that way about myself.
So here I am.
In color, because that's how you'll see me in person. With zero retouching, because that's how you'll see me in person.
In fact, I can see I have a little something stuck on one of my teeth right at the gum line.
I'm gaining more wrinkles by the moment. These are lines of a life well lived. I think it's fantastic that my smile lines from my eyes and mouth overlap at my cheeks because my smiles are so big and so frequent. I am grateful for my grey hair, which is one more sign that I have the privilege of aging and with people I love.
This is a photograph of someone who lives, laughs, loves, cries, and struggles. This is someone who sees beauty in life, until the very last breath.
This is someone who sees you and your family in the best ways. This is someone with whom you can celebrate life and love. I look forward to meeting you and sharing in your story.
I see a lot of incredible moments of the human experience while being with families in love and grief. From each family I learn, and those lessons and points to ponder are what I wish to share with you here.