Creative Block (a silly little poem)

I have a creative block

I carry it around

Walking to and fro the streets with me throughout all of town

 

I have a creative block

He looks up at me mockingly

He’d be kind of cute if he wouldn’t turn my writing mute and stare at me all day endlessly

 

I have a creative block

He’s a chip off the old block

He cracks me aside the head when I expect genius to be met, but oh no…!

This creative block must be fed

 

Well, I’ve had enough of that

I’ve fed him enough that he’s fat

No, really. He’s been making me quite mad.

 

So, creative block,

You crazy old bat,

I’m taking my art back

Go find a new welcome mat

 

Until next time,

Hannah

And oh, don’t worry…I made sure to throw away that annoying ol’ block. New posts coming soon!

Advertisements

Comparison Kills Contentment

“No one makes you feel inferior without your consent.” Eleanor Roosevelt

When I knew I wanted to write on this subject, I was a little intimidated. For good reason, I believe.

To uncover and call out all the destructive forms of “comparison” in all its layers and intricacies? That’s a big task to take on, for anyone. But out of all the things we need to address to ourselves, comparison is the elephant in the room. So, here we are.

Let’s start with a little bit of reflection. How exactly do you think comparison has affected your life lately?

You are certainly not alone if the only thing comparison contributes to your life is mostly negative. Feelings of discontent, jealousy, unworthiness, and sadness often stem from when we ourselves compare our behind the scenes moments to the social media highlight reels of another.

So, why exactly do we continue to compare if it has such awful consequences?

Well, first off, because it’s easy. It’s the most second nature thing that we can do. We are always wondering how we rank with people. But, again…it would be so much easier if we didn’t concern ourselves with the constant need to be best. Why do we do it?

Is it because we feel our worth somehow increases if we have the perfect hair, the perfect teeth, the perfect job, the perfect home? Is that why we idealize those we feel do have all those things and more? Do we really think that’s the end all of living? Or is life really about who you are, first and fore most?

It’s easy to say to yourself, “yes! Life is about who you are on the inside, not the outside.” But, when it comes down to the way we live? We contradict ourselves completely, by glorifying any well dressed, rich, and beautiful person like they aren’t entirely as human as we are.

The thing is, if we base our worth on feelings of worth, we will always be on a see-saw of emotions. We will never have a firm foundation of identity and we will never grasp our real worth.

So how are we going to address this comparison monster?

By getting to the heart of comparison, and debunking every little lie it whispers in your ear.

The perfection illusion

The people we compare ourselves to seem to have it all. At least, all that we think we are lacking. Whether that be the looks we think we don’t live up to, or the travel photography we wish we could have taken in person, whether it be the friend that seems like they have it ALL together…

We all are attracted to the ultimate “if only’s” in life. If only I looked like that. If only I had that job. If only I were that outgoing ALL the time. If only I were that perfect. Every time we allow ourselves to think like this, we are bashing who we are in the worst way possible, and truthfully…undermining all the good parts about us as humans.

The truth is, the same people you may be comparing yourself to in everyday life could just as well be comparing themselves to you, just in different ways.

When have we become so harsh on ourselves that we create an observational task force on what features look better on others, than the ones we own? Or the aspects of our life that seem to be less than ideal, compared to the ideal in other people’s lives?

We are not continually in competition with our fellow man.

Believing we are in constant competition will most definitely have detrimental consequences to our own personal growth. Or at least our CONTENTMENT with our own personal growth.

Viewing life as one big competition is a mistake that threatens to take away all the potential encouragement and genuine happiness we could be feeling for others when they succeed!

All of us humans, are at different stages in growth and development. When you hit a certain age, usually many of your friends are at different stages in life. So, don’t beat up on yourself for not being at a certain stage yet, or not feeling you “have it all together” right now. Seriously, who DOES have it all together right away? We learn as we live.

When you remind yourself that you are not in competition with every person that comes along, you give yourself room to SUPPORT others! Be encouraging of others! Love others! It’s extremely freeing to realize this.  This struck me even more, when just the other day a friend was telling me about something new and important going on in their lives, and I got so overwhelmingly and genuinely excited for them!

They told me, “I’m so glad I could tell you and you’re excited about this! Because I told someone else and they weren’t excited. Actually, I think they were jealous.”

I thought, wow. I’m so glad I could be supportive of this friend. What IF I would’ve let the comparison game dominate? That would’ve been an awful mistake. Because the way I reacted is exactly how I would want my friends to react to excited news I would share with them! Support your friends. Be happy for them. Don’t compare. Don’t compete. (And trust me, this is coming from an athlete. You know how hard not competing is for me sometimes)!

Comparison Kills Contentment 

This was told to me by one of my favorite middle school teachers. Comparison kills contentment. I’ve carried that with me ever since then, and it has become so much more prevalent when I realized just how true it is through everyday life. Keep this knowledge with you and pull this saying out from the corners of your mind whenever you need that reminder.

Don’t ever allow yourself to feel inferior by the good qualities another soul possesses. The good qualities in another does not equal the lack of good qualities in yourself.

You yourself have a billion gifts and good qualities about you. Many you’ve yet to learn about! So, please, take the time to hone them, focus on your growth, and embrace all the unique aspects that make up yourself as a person.

There are indeed forms of healthy comparison.

Have mentors and role models before you, that exemplify a life worth living. There are indeed healthy reminders of how to live life. So, follow those healthy reminders wholeheartedly, because your life is a life worth living well.

So, how should we go forward and conquer UNHEALTHY comparison once and for all?

By following these steps every time the comparison bug starts to rear its head.

Remember to…

Acknowledge we are not in constant competition with our fellow man.

Acknowledge that we are on a unique journey and timeline of life, all our own.

Acknowledge comparison, more often than not, kills valuable contentment in our own personal growth.

Acknowledge that the existent of good qualities in another person does not equate the lack of good qualities in yourself.

I hope you can carry these lessons with you, as I try to carry them with me, as well.

A lot of times a writer writes something important like this, they are writing from experience, and they are also writing to remind themselves. So, you are not alone in this journey called life!

I wish you all the best and that you live a life content in the progress you are making.

Until next time,

Hannah

Flower Crowns, Bare-feet, & Chrisstan Photography

What are your first thoughts when the words “Senior Pictures” are uttered in your presence?

I assume, if you’re older, your first thoughts probably go a little something like, “Oh, my gosh, Janice. How precious. I remember when MY kids had their senior photos. All those cute little pictures to send to your grandparents and aunts and cousins!”

The younger people…. yeah, I think their first thoughts would go a little different.

Going into my senior picture photo shoot, I had virtually no clue what to expect. To put things mildly, I was a senior picture skeptic. And putting off pictures until a few days after graduation? That just gave me more time to anticipate all the ways senior pictures could really goof up.

I naturally assumed that when I got there I’d have to pose awkwardly (posing is something I’m very bad at), fake smile (smiling on cue is also something I’m very bad at), and after a few weeks I’d see my Senior Photography fate, which I figured would haunt me for the rest of my days.

Thankfully, I can say all such assumptions were completely off-base..

Immediately as my mother and I arrived at our Senior Photo Shoot destination, Chris, the photographer of Chrisstan Photography, greeted us with a big grin and and loads of enthusiasm. Her radiant and bubbly personality struck me in the best way possible as she exclaimed to us, “I’ve been so excited for this!”

I knew my mom and Chris were old friends, but I’d never met her before. Almost minutes after meeting her, I could confirm all the good things that my mom told me about about her.  She welcomed us into her home, which turned out to be a positively beautiful atmosphere, and I instantly connected with her as I saw the wonderfully crafted paintings of her own creation, lining the walls.

We had established beforehand that I would be wearing a flower crown for some of the pictures I’d be in; the flower crown was an aspect I was very excited about. Although, I think Chris proved she was even more excited about it! She even brought out her whole collection for me to choose from. She said she made one recently, and showed it to me. Right away, I knew that was the one I wanted!

Finally, it was time to get down to business. Our first stop = the field next to Chris’s house.

This is when I thought to myself, “Here come’s the posing.”

But, actually…I was simply told to have fun, maybe twirl a little bit. No poses to hold, just be in action and always make sure you are giving your hands a purpose. I thought this was a revolutionary thing, seeing as I hadn’t heard any other photographer say this to me before. After the initial time it took to loosen up, I was actually having a lot of fun!

Chris also did this thing where she told me to fake laugh with her, leaning forward, and then leaning out…and sure enough, after a while of that silliness it was real laughter!

371be586-71ed-423b-b107-9762e612eb4c-3609-000004a426d949a3

After the pictures in the field, we decided to go to a nearby lake and orchard to see what kind of shots we could get there. I was having so much fun at this point, and was hyped for more. Who knew a photo shoot could be so fun?!

5a931736-e300-4ab6-95bd-782e29e4ddaf-3563-0000049fd9c74e67

Another aspect to our photo shoot was bringing a few family heirlooms, including a quilt my grandma on my father’s side sewed when she was younger and a teacup my other grandma on my mother’s side gave me. I thought it was really cool being able to incorporate these treasures into my senior pictures.

I was also able to bring a few of my favorite books as props: thus the Charles Spurgeon and Sherlock Holmes books that make an appearance.

523731e1-ba0c-45c7-bc00-1fd14d813698-3563-000004a09d6b25c2

At one point, Chris even hoisted herself up onto one of the small trees in the orchard to get a different angle for the photos. Honestly, I wish I could have taken a picture of HER at that point! But a photographer’s gotta do what a photographer’s gotta do!

0aa3d8e7-9a19-4776-85bd-a7e143342e69-3563-000004a0c366fd97

These were some of the ones taken in the orchard.

764678d7-9a38-4d7b-9acd-63a3d2daa88b-3609-000004a33016b644

And at the end of the photo session, we walked a few steps from the orchard to the lake.

7ef5f2bf-b973-4692-afc6-78e308842db6-3609-000004a5dea97f0c
240A0720

08341fe9-7dc5-4c17-aa99-22cbf95f56a7-3609-000004a705086158-1

When I walked away from that shoot, I was happy, I was impressed, AND I was no longer feeling like I’d be haunted forever by my Senior Picture outcome. Actually, I couldn’t wait to see how they turned out!

After this photo session, I would wholeheartedly recommend Chrisstan Photography 1000x over! I do not think I would have enjoyed the Senior Picture process nearly as much if I would have gone with anyone else except Chris.

Chris, thank you for saving me tons of ridicule and laughter later on in life, looking back at my pictures. Instead, I will look back and remember how much fun and laughter I had with flower crowns, bare-feet, and Chrisstan Photography!

Here is a link to Chris’s site, if you want to check out any more of her gorgeous work!

https://chrisstan.com/

I’m also including a slideshow of pictures captured, (most not shown above).

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

And as always, thanks for reading, guys! I’ll be posting more and more this summer, after I get this whole college preparation thing down! Stay tuned.

Your high school graduate blogger signing out,

Hannah

Where There’s a Flower, There’s a Photoshoot

Back so soon? Wow. It’s like I’m finally getting the hang of this whole “blogging daily” thing. Whew. Better not jinx it. Let’s move on…

I’m the type of person who tries to find beauty everywhere and in the smallest of things. And, apparently today “everywhere” included the garden section of Lowe’s and Walmart, and “the smallest of things” were flowers. You’re an intelligent human being. You can about guess where I’m going with this scenario.

Well, naturally, any self-respecting photographer-in-training is going to take advantage of the objects before them, thus almost always leading to an impromptu photo shoot.

I mean, come on. This blog is for sharing my work, whatever that may be, and I feel like doing just that with the outcome of this spur of the moment appreciation of nature and gardening stores.

So here are some of my amazing (and very cooperative) models of this high budget photo session. I sure hope you get sarcasm because there sure was a lot of it in here

Welp. That’s it, folks.

Thanks for paying attention to my lil’ ol’ blog and make sure you stick around for another installment. Maybe next time we’ll visit an ACTUAL garden. Hey! Don’t look at me like that. It’s possible..

Hannah

If You’re Passing through the Waters…

I don’t know why I had the urge to write this tonight. It kind of washed over me, like something I knew I had to do. I mean- I haven’t written a blog post in months, but tonight…it’s something I’m doing.

I hope this blog post meets you right where you’re at. Maybe you’re feeling great- I’m glad! Maybe you’re not feeling anything in particular. Maybe you’re feeling the whole world crash around you, and you don’t know why…or you know exactly why.

The thing is, I don’t know you’re situation. All I know is that when we go through heartbreaking moments, moments when we have little to no peace, moments when we are being challenged in all we are and all we stand for, we often feel like the pain will never end, that we’ll just be stuck in it forever. We feel like we are alone in our suffering, and that no one understands. How wrong we are, my friend.

The truth is, there are many of us who feel the same way, we just never speak up. We feel that people won’t look at us the same way when they see us in our struggling moments. Maybe that is the case, but I want to tell you something…nothing in your life happens on accident. I don’t know your worldview, what you believe, what you put your hope in. But I trust that God has an infinitely bigger plan for you than you do yourself right now.

And because nothing happens on accident, as I stated earlier…your story, however unique and tough that may be, was meant to happen just the way it did. Maybe to grow you as an individual, maybe so that you can be challenged in your beliefs, maybe so you can use your pain and lessons to help other people who are going through similar, maybe we won’t completely know why! But-we can take comfort that nothing is going to go to waste!

These waves that are tossing you about tonight, they aren’t meant to drown you, my friend. They’re meant to make you a better swimmer.

So, no. You aren’t alone tonight if you feel like you’re barely getting by. You’re not alone in all those tough moments that no one else sees, and all the pain no one else knows you endure. You’re only being made stronger by the trials that you are going through, and while each wave takes us, we can have full confidence that we will be growing through it all.

Isaiah 43:1-2 says,

“…Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
    I have called you by name, you are mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
    and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
    and the flame shall not consume you.”

When we place our trust not in ourselves, but onto the God who formed us and takes care of us, we are made that much stronger by His power. The chains that once kept us from being free are released, and we can live happier, more joyful lives, trusting the Lord with all our cares. He promises you won’t drown. He will lift you up through it all.

Your trusty blogger (who seriously needs to find time to blog more),

Hannah

Be “Yourself”–A Poem Confronting Society

Be “Yourself”

But make sure yourself is a size 2

Blonde

Thigh-gapped

Cheerleader

Dating a football player

 

Be yourself.

But make sure yourself wears the perfect clothes

Not too little clothing

Not too much

You don’t want to be labelled easy

Certainly don’t want to be prudish, either, now do we?

 

Be yourself.

But make sure yourself wears makeup

Not too much

Not too little

Guys like you natural

But not that natural

 

Be yourself.

But make sure yourself talks the perfect amount.

Not too little

Not too much

Too little you must be “shy”

Too much you must be a “loudmouth”

 

Be yourself.

No, not that way.

Be yourself the way the way those runway models tell you

The way those sparkling individuals on the magazines scream at you to be.

 

And one last thing…

Conform.

Make sure yourself is just like everyone else.

…Be yourself

_________________________________________

Alright, you little readers, you.

This is a stark contrast to the humorous and bantering commentary of important matters that naturally springs forth from my pen to this blog..hmm, well, actually what springs forth from my laptop to this blog! …But I need you to know something. Confronting society itself isn’t always going to be a “running through wildflowers while licking an oversized lollipop” kind of thing people wish it would be. FOR EXAMPLE…on this very entry, someone made sure to point out how “upbeat” and “positive” the poem was. (Then pointed out they were using sarcasm).

This poem was for that reason exactly. This individual was simply proving my point. There will be myriads of people that you come across in life that feel you should cater to their negative opinions. As my good ol’ mom always says, “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.”

That being said, if we want to make any change for the better in this day and age, we need to be bold to expose society’s hypocrisy for what it is. Hypocrisy! We don’t want to tip-toe around these issues! This poem’s purpose was to open more peoples’ eyes to the lies they have been told about what true beauty really is, and to tell them, “Nope. You’ve been lied to. Beauty comes from the inside, and by the way… you don’t have to constantly obsess about what people think of you! Isn’t that awesome?! If you’re living happy, healthy, and kindly, then you’re better for it! Ignore the shallow.”

So, of course, this piece is going to be raw, and it’s going to be vulnerable. It’s sending a message.

I wanted to write something meaningful that depicted the confusion that youth and adults are faced with today, the ever-changing opinions and expectations of a world gone mad with ideals. A world we are faced with. Whether it be high school, the lunch room at work, or plain old anywhere…you shouldn’t have to change everything about yourself to feel worthy or accomplished.

This poem is supposed to show how all the seemingly “harmless” opinions add up to where no one feels they can win. This what society is instilling into us, and we need to do our best to reject those lies told to us in our everyday life.

We, indeed, should truly and authentically be ourselves. (And not the cookie-cutter image people are expecting us to live up to). This poem’s root and underlying purpose is to show one person at a time that the world around us is always going to have an opinion. About what we look like, what we sound like, what we act like, it’s always trying to categorize. It’s our job to go against the grain, and be who we really are, no strings attached. If that means being a cheerleader, a soccer player, a run of the mill average ol’ human being, do it with spunk and do it knowing your worth.

You’ll be better for it in the end if you shrug off the “you’re this” and “you’re that”.

You are precious the way you are, and unless its hurting yourself or others, be authentically you.

Signing off,

Hannah

Reminders for the Valentine-less

Hey, you. Yes. I’m indeed talking to you. The poor sap hugging that greasy Taco Bell bag, while scrolling pathetically through all those cute couples’ Valentine’s Day pictures on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, (whatever your form of torture may be)…

This post is for you, my friend.

To all my fellow Valentine-less people out there: I know you’ve probably gone the majority of the day thinking you’re a complete loser that’s never going to find someone (especially since I only just got around to posting this little piece of insight at 10 o’clock at night)….but hey. At least you’re going to be able to see this eventually.  And at least we’ll all gain some insight on what could have been a pretty discouraging day, overall.

Now…first thing we have in common? We are single on a day society particularly likes throwing it in our faces. But let’s not be bitter, shall we? Valentine’s Day is actually a very good thing, it just takes some patience, perspective, and survival skills that rival MacGyver’s. No biggie, right?!

Wrong.

But, look at it this way- all that doesn’t have to be a bad thing! As a kid at school said today, “Valentine’s Day is Independence Day for a single person!” Of course, we all thought it was a corny joke at the time, but ya know. I’m rolling with it.

So, to ease your pain a bit, let’s go over some of the very important and helpful reasons why it might actually be kinda sorta good thing that you’re still as single as a Pringle on Valentine’s Day this year! *insert timely cringe at my own jokes*

The Economic Benefits

Well, for starters, you didn’t have to go buy anyone chocolates today, now did you? So, yayy! You aren’t even more broke than you were before! God’s had mercy on you and especially on your wallet. Looks like you won’t have to resort to the life of a hobo just yet!

Less Stress

It’s funny…life is a lot less complicated when you only have to worry about yourself and your twelve cats.

But- joking aside, it is true. Some people go for years and years from person to person, not truly knowing who they are without someone else. I’m grateful that I have this time just for me, myself, and I to figure out who I am and what I need in someone else. Truth is, you’re just learning how to make it on your own. It’s a life skill that’ll always come in handy. Another reason why you should never down yourself for being single: you don’t need someone else to make you happy. If you think that way, you’ll be on a constant emotional roller coaster.

Cultivating Friendships

You won’t have the temptation to overlook all your friends for your significant other, which is something I see all too much.

Actually, this will cultivate friendships and you will have even more time for friends and family, which is always a good thing, as long as you pick the right people to spend your time with.

Pursuit of Dreams/ Less Distraction

And now that you have more time on your hands, what’s holding you back on that dream of yours? Time management is everything and positive thinking doesn’t hurt, either. Focus all that extra attention on what will take you far in life. So what if that person you were talking to probably doesn’t like you back? You’re stronger than letting that get to you and you’ll turn it into a great thing.

Ultimately, this could mean less distraction for schooling, for work, for life in general.

And…Last but Not Least! Preparation for Your Significant Other

Having that wait and anticipation for the perfect guy or girl to come into your life will make it that much more meaningful. Look at all the reasons I stated before…ALL of that is preparing you for that one person that’s going to turn your life upside down, in a good way.

So, don’t ever beat yourself up about being single. Even on Valentine’s Day. It stinks, but just remember- you never know who’s going to walk into your life, so be patient, and always remember to have a sense of humor about it!

Welp, folks. That’s about all the Valentine’s Day talk I can take for today! Thanks for reading and make sure to like, follow, comment, whatever you all feel like doing.

Your trusty blogger,

Hannah