"Comparison is the thief of joy."
I came across this quote a few years ago and I often think back to it when my mind wonders to an unwelcome place. Do you know the place? That wretched place where we allow ourselves to become bothered, even stressed or saddened by that which we don't have, or by some idea of perfect. Ick. I'm disgusted by myself even to write this, but it is me. It is honest.
I have had an interest in photographs and photography for quite a long time. Ever since middle school, I've enjoyed printing pictures for photo albums, collages, frames, and gifts. When I was in high school, I played basketball, which always took up a full class period, so I never had the chance to take any other electives. In preparing for my senior year, I discovered I could take electives instead of Math, because I had taken all the required Math courses. Even though the guidance counselor was not too keen on the idea and even recommended against it, my parents encouraged me in my desire to take Art one semester and Photography the next. I have never once regretted that decision. In fact, it is very much to the contrary. I wasn't the best in either class, yet it was so good for my soul to get in touch with my creative side. And that remains true to this day.
My blog has become such a real part of who I am these days. In a stage in my life where I have to constantly remind myself that my role is important, it is nice to be able to see a tangible, productive part of my day. Of course I believe raising my kiddos is beautiful and worthwhile and right where I want to be, but as a stay at home mama, I rarely see the fruit of my labor immediately. My blog gives me an accomplished feeling every once in a while. It also allows me to process life more fully, get creative, and have fun. And in that way, it has renewed and strengthened my affection for photography.
Recently, I decided I would like to improve my photography skills... learn to move away from the auto setting, get inspired, and capture beauty in its many forms. This new goal has made me excited, happy, and motivated. Up until the last few weeks that is. All of the sudden, as I continue to learn new skills or suggestions for editing, I find myself rejecting all of my older pictures and telling myself how terrible they are. Ugh, I hate that I'm doing this. Some of my most treasured worldly possessions are poor quality photographs, because of the feelings and emotions they evoke, the stories they tell over and over, any time I want to hear them. Why must I make such a mess of that just because I learn something new or see someone else's better piece of work?
So this is my outward confession. I'm done doing that. My blog and photography are supposed be a happy place. They provide a record of my life with my little family, my growing kiddos. Even the worst picture in the world by textbook standards, will make my heart sing if it holds Emmitt George, Cora Marie, Jaron Hill, or a number of other loved ones. I will not let comparison steal my joy anymore.