The other day I was looking at Jamie Tworkowski’s instagram page (founder of To Write Love On Her Arms), and he posted a picture with a caption that made me put my phone down and cry a little:
So here’s my message to you, which may come as a surprise, but i hope it makes sense: Your story matters just as much as mine. The people in your life matter just as much as the people in mine. Your days weigh the same. Don’t settle for a job you hate. Don’t play it safe. Bring your heart to work. Tell your stories. You never know the doors that might open, or the stages you might get to stand on. And regardless of those doors and stages, surround yourself with people who want to know you and believe in you and remind you that your story matters. Your dreams that feel impossible, what if they’re possible? The stories around you, what if they’re priceless? i’m aware that my day was completely absurd. Most of my days look nothing like today. i struggle with depression. It’s a daily struggle. i feel alone a lot. i feel lost a lot. But every now and then i am surprised, and i’ve come to believe that hope works that way. Hope comes as a surprise. We get one shot at this life. It’s short and confusing and fragile, but man, it’s incredibly beautiful at times. i’ll leave you with these words from @donmilleris: “We get one story, you and I, and one story alone. God has established the elements, the setting and the climax and the resolution. It would be a crime not to venture out, wouldn’t it?” Peace to you tonight.
This made me emotional because I felt like I could’ve said the same thing, that I feel the exact same way. Sometimes I want to believe, and sometimes it’s easier to stay in the dark. Sometimes I want to be a source of hope and inspiration for people, and sometimes I think how can I do that when I’m battling my own demons everyday?
But I know, or hope, that in sharing this, you know that we’re in this together. We’re not alone. Believe in yourself, believe in your story. I whole-heartedly believe in TWLOHA’s message: “no one else can play your part“.
I tell my story through my pictures. Photography is my therapy. And I wouldn’t have been where I am today if it wasn’t for Brooke Shaden.
I’ve had an idea for a picture for a very long time, but I kept putting it off. When I went to Brooke’s workshop in Hawaii, I knew that I had to do it there and have Brooke in it. I was inspired by a song called Two Become One by Atreyu, specifically the part that goes “like the rising tide, beating hearts grow but never die”. And everytime I’d listen to that song, I’d get an image of a girl walking out of the ocean with a huge wave over her shoulders. I told Brooke about it and she happily agreed to model for me.
What I didn’t mention to Brooke though is that this picture is what she is to me – strength and hope, love despite the fear lurking around, and control.
I remember her first workshop that I attended almost a year ago – I was nervous and scared. As soon as I introduced myself, she gave me a hug. I had a fangirl moment. At that point, I didn’t know anything about her blogs or her motivational videos or anything, I’d only seen her work. But after spending two days with her, I realized what an incredible, inspiring, and wonderful person she is. The second and last day of the workshop, I cried when I was driving back because I thought “this is it, this is what I’ve been looking for”.
Brooke changed my life.
This was more challenging than I thought it would be. I used between 5 and 8 images to make the wave. Thank god I loaded up on stock images in Hawaii!
I’ll end this with the words of one of my favorite musicians, Justin Furstenfeld of Blue October:
I’ll take the time to tell you all. How beautiful you are. That each and everyone of you like stitches to a scar. A bandaid holding skin together. Healing hands to hold forever. Time goes by and still whenever side by side we love and never let the other fall don’t ever let each other go. Hear each other calling out through rain or heavy snow. So if its anchor pulls you down. Life preservers all around. I’ll be there with the loudest sound. To scare it all away. The ocean isn’t deep enough to scare me anymore. The thunder wind and lightning storms can’t push open my door. I welcome all the fear in me and spit back in disgrace .
I’ll be standing shoulders back and looking in it’s face. ” you’re no longer welcome here you waste of time , I’ve known you long enough to know you only want what’s mine. My courage , strength , and heart that I had let you take away . Has found it’s way back home so listen close , it’s here to stay . I’ve found a place that welcomes everyone who feels like me. And you’re no longer welcome in our deep blue family. “
P.S. come back on saturday to enter a giveaway! I’ll tell you all about it then ❤
2014-2017 Events Thoughts amani alshaali blue october brooke shaden fears fine art photographer fine art photography friends Hawaii hope inspiration jamie tworkowski justin furstenfeld photography photography workshop photoshop photoshop edit self acceptance thoughts to write love on her arms TWLOHA workshop