A Founding Story: How Joy and Community Shaped My Life

A Founding Story: How Joy & Community Shaped my Life: Part 1

Hello friends! I have put together a great new series for you guys to enjoy. It did get a little long though, so it comes in parts. I think it’s high time I told you guys Why I do this. Why do I get up at ungodly hours of the morning to prep bags and go take pictures for 8-10 hours a day? Why do I spend countless days, hours, weeks planning the perfect session for you and Why oh why do I keep pursuing more? I must be crazy right? Read on for the whole story! No time for the whole story? Fine. My why is Joy. There. Now you have to read more.

See the full series here

Some key facts for you before I get started:

Yearbook was a class. We had a teacher and everything

The teacher would select two students as co editors to run everything (I guess to teach us real life experiences or whatever. We will call them Laura and Lexi

I hope you find my angsty-teen self amusing rather than annoying.

My Founding Story

I was 16 and I was so excited to be accepted to the yearbook class. I was excited to move on from the newspaper to a more lifestyle-esque publication. Keep in mind, I was pretty excited to be a designer at this point. AND (like any other 16 year old) I wanted to make sure me and my friends were featured this year. There were 152 pages in this thing. It was ridiculous how we kept seeing the same people on every page. I quickly learned why this was happening no more than 2 weeks into the class. Not because of the “only popular people” theory that everyone believed. No. It was because high school students are lazy and don’t send in photos or create photos specifically for the yearbook. So instead of relying on other people’s photos we went out and got them. I must admit, this was terrifying at first. (okay for the first 2 months if I’m being honest) Not only did I have to approach people I did not know very well and ask for their pictures, but I had to do it while they were trying to inhale their lunch in the 15 minutes they had before the bell rang again. (awkward)

The day that changed it all.

The Pep Rally. So Lexi was supposed to do this event. But she really wanted to hang out with her friends in the stands. So the minute our teacher left the room, she shirked that responsibility off on me. Terrifying doesn’t even begin to describe what I was feeling. I still can’t even explain the sheer panic I felt. Breathing was not a thing and the urge to flee was strong. Like roadrunner strong. I tried to think of excuses, ways to get out of it. Maybe someone else could do it. Someone who… wasn’t me! But I was trapped. This was a class and if I didn’t do what I was told, it would not go well. I am not a fan of the teacher publicly shaming you (yes 2 people counts as public too) and I was not the type of person who did not do what I was told. In a way I also didn’t want to seem incompetent. I was really enjoying this class and everything I was learning. So when the time came (3 hours later, mind you. Plenty of time stew in with my anxious thoughts and vent to my friends/beg for their help-no help btw) I mustered up my courage and grabbed my camera and headed straight to the field. JK! I headed straight for an empty hallway where I hoped I could get lost and have a legit excuse. But lo and behold, the one time I wanted to get lost, I found my way perfectly. Go figure!

After this I’m not sure what happened. But I ended up on the field. I resolved I was going to do this and I was going to do this well! Last year there were hardly any good shots that showed everyone and the energy of the event. And as I stated in the beginning of this, that was a big “why” to my involvement in the yearbook. So I started slow. I focused on things that were part of the event. The band, the teachers, the mascot, the cheerleaders. As I was getting all these amazing shots and gaining confidence all the while, I got braver. I moved in closer, thought of new angles or strategies I could use to get better shots that would represent the event. That my friends would see and remember fondly. Or even not my friends. My people pleasing ways were coming out and they were coming out in spades. The drums got louder and everyone was shouting the familiar HUH! Well I had to capture that. I wasn’t afraid of being in the way or getting called out. If someone did call out, I just spun around and took their picture. And you know what they did? They cheered! They pointed and smiled, Whooped and hollered. It was an amazing shot full of life and joy and I LOVED that I captured it. In that stadium with my goals in mind, I was invincible and nothing could touch me.

And that my friends is how this all started. From there, I wanted to do it more. I took my friends out and experimented with…well everything! We tried different outfits, locations, angles, shooting through things, above things, heck even in things. My creativity was unleashed and I didn’t even know that this was the beginning of something amazing!

Read Part 2 Next>

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