A day late but not really short any dollars.
Yesterday marked two years since I quit my last "real" job and put 100% into music photography and just generally living my own life. If you want more of that story, find my 1 year post.
Once again, a lot of things have changed in the last year. And the last 365 days has gone by so insanely fast that it's hard for me to fathom. The last time I wrote this anniversary blog I was just barely starting to actually get paid for more gigs than not. This year I actually had to close booking for a minute, from all paid gigs. That blows my fucking mind. Thank you. So much. To anyone that's been supportive in any way at all in the last two years, you all saved my life in multiple ways.
This past year one of my main goals was to tour more. I got to do a fun weekender with one of my favorite local bands, Wyves in January. Directly after that I was able to hop on a bus with The Scars Heal In Time for a few weeks. I made lots of friends and met amazing people on that tour, but life started throwing me some mental curveballs around then as well. Trying to enjoy what should be one of the best times of your life while your head is going through a rollercoaster of very confusing emotions and thoughts is not an easy thing. Some days I was able to keep the bullshit out of my head and some days I felt like I was back in my emo days of high school wanting to trap myself in my room and cry for hours. Why? I don't fucking know, other than just anxiety. I had so many conflicting things running through my mind at all times that I just wasn't able to process for whatever reason and I shut down and wasn't myself anymore. I didn't know who I was.
It's a weird thing to even try to explain. Nothing really happened, my brain just wasn't fucking working right. And that fucking sucks. It went on for a month or two after that tour ended before it felt like I could actually think again. I feel like I did some really dumb shit and I know I handled a lot of things really badly during that time and I still regret things a bit. But I fucking learned from it all too.
I started eating better. I started working out (somewhat) consistently. I started meditating daily. I started taking care of my body for the first time in my life and all of that does wonders for your mental sanity as well.
This life I have now I wouldn't trade for anything and it's absolutely my dream life but it still has a cost. Not only do I have to work my ass off in the creative field to constantly get myself out there and put out good content and keep up with the music scene and social media and the business side of it all, but I have to take care of me and my mental health. I have to remember to keep my mental health strong to keep up with the nonstop stress and life juggling. I have to eat and sleep well so that I don't feel like shit or get tired all the time so I can go to shows almost every night. I have to work out so that I don't throw my back out carrying camera gear around all day or hold up what sometimes seems like 50 pounds of equipment up for hours at a time. I have to cut distractions and lots of unnecessary activities out of my life to have the ability to focus and be as productive as possible. I have to learn about social psychology and mental health so that I can work out my own issues and try to understand others', so that I can work with many different kinds of people, so that I can work on keeping my sanity at a healthy level. There's so much more than just creativity that goes into being a freelancer than I ever expected. This is in no way complaining at all. I'm just saying that great things have a lot more work behind them than a lot of people understand, including my past self. Hell, I'm sure there's even more for me to learn too and that this is only one set of hurdles in this journey. I just hope that the worst of the mental shit is over with because it's been about a decade since I've been that down and stuck in my head and it's not really a feeling I get nostalgic over.
Since taking control of my health though I have been a million times better. I still have shitty days of course and get just as stressed sometimes but I'm a heck of a lot better at processing it and reminding myself that that's temporary and that I need to breathe and focus on other things.
Aside from the mental health drama, I've gotten to do some amazing things this year. I got to shoot so many more of my favorite artists, soooo many more local bands, so many bands I'd never taken the time to check out that quickly earned my respect and became new favorites. I think at this point I've gotten to shoot at every music venue in AZ aside from talking stick resort arena. Hopefully I'll get to do something there soon. ;)
I got to do a lot more studio, behind the scenes, and promo photos. I got to dip into video a liiittle bit more (still working on that). I got to push myself into several genres and gained new appreciations for so many different kinds of music that I might have never veered into much. Most of all I got to shoot for fucking Ne-Yo, not only his concert, but backstage and everything and idk if I'll ever be able to stop bragging about that. lol, but really, I got to experience so many cool things this year again and once again I'm just in awe and so damn thankful.
Circling back to the goals I had for this year, I started out just wanting to tour more. I got to do a bit of that but not as much as I'd hoped. However, part of that is because I'm setting up for the biggest adventure of my life thus far. I'm taking myself on tour. I'm going to live out of a van and just wander and expand my network and explore whatever, wherever, whenever I like. I even booked my first show to shoot outside of AZ yesterday (not counting tours of course). That's crazy. But when you truly start to believe in yourself I guess you get the nerve to do some crazy shit. There's honestly so much potential to completely fuck up my entire career I've made but there's just as much potential to make it so much bigger than I ever thought possible. I'm so excited and nervous and just curious to see what happens in the next year. 3 has always been my favorite number so I feel like this 3rd year should be magical. It's already pretty magical to think about how far I've come. I really can't ever fully wrap my head around it.
So again, thank you. If you read all of this shit, you deserve a trophy cause this was rambly as fuck. Thank you for reading this. Thank you for skimming it. Thank you for opening it to see it was too long and then exiting. Thank you for caring. Thank you for any amount of support you've ever given me. Thank you for every doubt or bad thought you've ever had about me. I appreciate it all and it all motivates me one way or another.
Now I really have to get back to editing because people are waiting for their photos and I'm sorry to those people right now. They're on their way. I just really felt the need to ramble and thank everyone and whatever.
Last year I posted a bunch of my favorite photos from the last year. I think I'm just going to wait until the end of the year to do that this time because like I said I have editing to do and I just really don't wanna dig through my hard drive right now. But here's a cool new self portrait that I'll end with like I did last year. We'll just keep that as the tradition I guess. Ok, bye.
(Shoutout to Robbie and Adero for helping take this photo in the haunted shower)