I'm a Maine based photographer, specializing in weddings and lifestyle portraiture. I serve all of New England and beyond as no event is ever too far.

Questions for Women in My Life

On the night of January 5th, right before I went to sleep, I sent an email out to a group of ladies who all run their own businesses and have made an impact in my life.  I had some questions. I knew not everyone would participate because it’s not easy making time and sometimes you’re just not in the right place to put words to things.  One main point in the email was : “Now that 2020 is behind us, I got to thinking about how massive life has changed in so many ways (good and let’s be real, shockingly bad) and how there is such an overwhelming amount of noise online that it feels like I’m often saying WHAT IS HAPPENING?!?!

Little did I know that not 24 hours later, I’d be sitting at my desk and the editor of the paper I work for would come flying in saying, “Have you heard – they have stormed the Capital.”  so that question of WHAT IS HAPPENING got even stranger.  The Capitol being rioted was nothing near as tragic as 9.11 but it was that same scene for me where I was sitting at my desk at work and a man came in to tell me something that my brain couldn’t all the way grasp.  A plane has hit the towers.  That was a whole different scenario as I was sitting in a studio on 37th & 10th on the island of Manhattan as a 21 year old but one I’d similarly not forget.

In my email to the ladies I went on to say, “But if I shut down connection to the online world, I feel perfectly fine in my little house in Maine with my pal, Rocco. Spooky because I also now realize what privilege that is so there is JUST SO MUCH TO UNPACK about this entire situation.  The most comforting part is, I know I’m not alone.  I got to thinking about all of the lovely women who have touched my life in some way.  It can make ya teary when you realize how fortunate you are to have a long list of amazing women in your life.  Women who are all going through this major thing.  Women who are all absolute rock stars that come from various walks of life.  Women I want to hear from and I know others need it too.  

So I asked some questions and I let them know that not all of the questions need to be answered.  Answer what is best for you.  Some time has passed since we did this however, I think this is all still so relevant and important.  This can become a place we come back to and reflect on – a time capsule.

The Ladies

Shelley, Meg, Kristin, Nicki & Me

Shelley Nicholson – In 2000 she was my financial advisor at Hallmark Institute of Photography who then became my life advisor – simply all because my first day on the job in New York the photographer I worked for was photographing Julia Roberts.  Shelley lives in Bernardston, MA with her three cats – she runs her own business called : Nicholson Business Solutions.  

Meg Simone – Filmmaker, Speaker & Educator.  One of the nicest, kindest souls I have met.  Aside from being super talented she’s teamed up in life with this amazing guy named Dave.  They’re both vegans, grow their food, have a super cool van and travel the country in the off season to ski.  Kind of the coolest ever.  She runs her own business called : Meg Simone Wedding Films.

Kristin Thalheimer Bingham – we met when I still lived in Portland.  She led this wonderful fitness class called Strong Women which was a group of women of all ages who got together three days a week to work out for an hour.  For me, this was a life changing experience and I simply fell in love with her.  Her and her husband Dean own Dean’sSweets – they have two locations in Portland, Maine, create hand-dipped chocolates that will cause you to pause when you taste – I call it, “having a moment.”  They will impress you with their chocolates but also their kindness and ability to ride their bikes across the country.

Nicki Fenderson – holy crow without this woman I do not know what, where, who I’d be.  I would build a tiny home and move onto her property if I could.  She gets me like only two others on earth have gotten me.  She has also been the woman behind bringing all of my raw captured images to life – she has been the MMP production goddess since 2009.  She is SugarJets Studio – if you need design, she will blow your mind.

So here we go – thank you to these ladies for being brave . . . 

The Questions

How’s it really going?

Shelley: I’ve always kind of considered myself a “Jack of all trades, master of none.” But I mean that in a positive way, not the negative connotation it can have. I’ve always been envious of people that have that one true passion in terms of their career or desire to be a parent, and do everything to be the BEST at whatever that passion is. For me, I’ve kind of naturally fallen into this path of being pretty darn good at certain things, not so good at others and I guess just remaining flexible to whatever comes along. It has served me well during the pandemic as I have shifted my schedule and abilities multiple times in order to continue to support myself financially. I’m fortunate to still run my business (albeit at less than half capacity of pre-COVID). But as I lost marketing clients (mostly in the creative world), I gained bookkeeping clients from numerous industries (carpentry, truck driving, landscaping etc.) I also became a first grade “teacher” remotely to 6-year old twins two days a week, with an offer to sign up as a substitute at their elementary school when they switch to hybrid. It was terrifying, but has also become gratifying as I watch them grow and learn. 

Meg: Honestly, I feel very very very fortunate. We have been super socially distanced based on where we live in NH and where we are now in Montana. Our garden sustained us with a lot of food this year, which eliminated trips to the grocery store for almost the entire summer. Our family has been safe and healthy (which the exception of a few relatives that did pass from non-covid ailments) but otherwise, we were able to get super creative real fast and take on a lot of safe work both with elopements (the couple, the JP and me in a field) or with Dave’s carpentry and window cleaning businesses.  Even though financially I made 1/3 or what I originally had on the books, it was a very fulfilling year, filled with major hustling and frustrations, but also a lot of satisfaction and gratitude for what I was able to accomplish during this tumultuous time. I think everyone’s Covid years will be different, ie those that worked from home anyway vs those who were front line or school teachers. Those who had kids to navigate vs those of us who don’t. Everyone’s 2020 is going to look so different. 

Kristin: When asked “how are you,” my short answer these days is a shrug, smirk, and a reply, “mostly fine.” It’s as close to the truth as I can get when the situation isn’t right for a more in-depth response. The longer answer is that I am alternately wracked with anxiety (covid) and sadness for the world (our racial inequities and political partisanship) in one minute, and then overwhelmed with gratitude for all that I have in the next minute. Holding these two truths at once is downright confusing and exhausting. That’s how it’s really going.

Nicki: Honestly I’m existing in survival mode – I have been for quite some time. My nerves are shot, my liver is on life support and I had no idea it was possible for a body to hold this much anxiety. I. AM. EXHAUSTED. Physically. Mentally. Galactically. In ways and to an extent I never thought possible. Considering starting a weed farm. Currently settling for chickens. Thank God for antidepressants.

Me: it’s been a trip.  A solo one.  One I wouldn’t change in any way.  In February, I begged for a break.  By mid-March, I woke up in the middle of the night and it hit me. . . every single event, wedding that I had on the books for 2020 wasn’t going to happen.  I’ve had a very full schedule as a photographer for 20 whole years.  That income was gone.

Luckily, in 2018 I got a day job which was my first job outside of photography since 1998.  A day job was exactly what I didn’t realize I needed to ease up on my hustle to financially survive off of photography.  I was resistant to it but the universe gave me no choice.  I’ve had a day job ever since and that has been so good for me mentally, physically and emotionally.  I had a place to go everyday, specific tasks to fulfill and constantly learning new things.  In the beginning of the pandemic, I had an essential day job so work never went remote for me.  I just kept going and that phrase – just keep going has been a huge part of this last year for me.  Just keep going.  

The essential day job was very eye opening because if I didn’t have that particular job, I would have never experienced first hand the other side of the spectrum aka the hoax people.  They would have just been the countless videos of people losing their minds in stores for being asked to wear a mask. At this job, there were many times where I felt the “I’m in the wrong place” feeling you can get.  That feeling was finally loud enough in August and one day after work, I looked for another job.  I found one.  Almost immediately.  A good one and I got it.  That was a lot to go through during what’s already going on.

What have you had to face?

Shelley: Mostly just financial concerns, especially in those first 8 weeks when there was no money coming in and bills were due. 

Meg:  Financial uncertainty, work uncertainty, personal motivation issues, a lot of ethical and moral decision making, a lot of questioning what I would normally do vs what I should to for the betterment of my fellow friends and neighbors. An example of this is that hiking and outside time is my world, but during covid I shut down and didn’t hit the trails or do my normal routine of hiking /skiing in the spring because I knew I was not only putting myself at risk, but the pressure from my friends in healthcare, search and rescue to not be “that person” they have to go rescue, putting them all at risk of exposure of each other and whoever else is on the trials. And of course “should I take on this job” how we navigated weddings and all the decisions around that.

Kristin: Uncertainty, loneliness, sadness, anxiety, stress; and then also freedom, joy, openness, calm, and clarity. I’ve been incredibly fortunate throughout the pandemic. No one I know has gotten seriously ill. I’ve had work that has not just survived but thrived due to the quirk of sheer good luck of selling a product a lot of people want in a way that’s accessible for most. 

Nicki: You mean other than grappling with the fact that murder hornets are an actual thing and they’re already here? Incredibly little, compared to so many. My experience is unremarkable at best in the heartbreaking grand scheme of things – so many have sacrificed and lost so much. 

Me: I’ve had to face doing everything on my own.  I own a home and I also had up to 4 different jobs at one time so things like house cleaning, yard work were outsourced.  I could no longer afford to have those kinds of privileges.  I had to find a way to do it all and have a full time job + a business and take care of myself.  I have a good support system so I got through it and I’m better for it.  

I’ve also had to face my career shifting.  I was busy being busy, I never really, really had time to look at it.  OR I avoided asking myself what parts of it I truly enjoy.  I’m still working through this but there have been some changes on how I do things and what jobs I’ll take on.

One thing I know for sure is that I do not enjoy creating beautiful photographs for people who just want the digital files. I no longer have time for that in my life.

What has been the most prominent

struggle for you through the pandemic?

Shelley: Not being able to socialize like normal. I’m a people person, typically spending lots of time with family and friends. I feel like the summer was a little reprieve as the good weather made distancing and outdoor gatherings more feasible. But it’s really tough not being able to see the people you care about in person. 

Black Birch Vineyard

Meg: Early on it was routine and motivation. My routine used to be my world – early to wake, group workouts and then home to dive in head first to work. I really lacked structure and without yoga or workout I started to drown in self pity and frustration that I couldn’t get out of my own way and couldn’t get anything done. Eventually with warmer days and summer it was navigating how to best spend time outside without putting myself at risk. This my friend, I fully understand is all a first world problem. 

Kristin: My most prominent struggle is to differentiate between perceived threats and real ones. Is this person coughing into his mask on the other side of the plexiglass partition a threat to my health? Maybe. Probably not. Is this homeless person walking toward me without a mask a threat? No. When the phone at work rings 18 times and each time it’s a customer wondering where their shipment is because USPS – through no fault of the hard-working USPS employees – is all messed up and hasn’t delivered any of the orders we sent out two weeks ago, is that a threat to the reputation or existence of my business? It’s a huge pain, but not a threat. If I can’t go to an exercise class or sit in a coffee shop to be with others (two things I miss most right now) and let my sympathetic nervous system come back into balance, is that a threat? Meh, well, only a threat to my privileged little world of habits and preferences. But yet, I feel a huge uptick in my alert system as if it’s on code red all the time, to always be vigilant while anywhere outside of my home (and I’m a white woman who does not need to fear the police or Karens or racial microaggressions). And while living inside my home is comforting, getting out is a necessity. My nervous system can’t figure out how to respond to everyday life anymore. 

Nicki: Whoo – there’s a lot to unpack here. 

Self care and grace. self care is such a buzzword these days and it means something different for everyone – even from day to day or minute to minute. The thing a majority of people struggled with – isolation – is easy for me because I’m an introvert by nature who strives for quiet solitude as a means of daily survival. I’m used to it. I love it. I find peace and comfort in it. The outside world and all its people doing people things give me anxiety and quite frankly, the behavior I’ve seen out of people over the last year doesn’t make me want to associate with a whole lot of them anyway. I’m happy at home hugging a dog or my husband. Or, as it turns out, a chicken. 

Steve, the chicken

My exhaustion meant I struggled to move at times – napping was a necessary requirement on many days. I’m so grateful I had the luxury and privilege of being able to work from home and survive on my husband’s income as I watched my own evaporate. I knew we’d be ok. I worried relentlessly about my clients and friends and family. I tried to find ways to help – only to feel at the end that I’d failed everyone, including myself. Turns out perimenopausal exhaustion, depression and brain fog don’t pair well with insurrection and a global pandemic. i didn’t handle a lot of things well. It’s actually a very good thing I had such a small amount of work this year – because I found myself unable to function. 

That my most prominent struggles are what I just described reveals the incredible amount of privilege I enjoy in general – and that in itself has become a struggle for me to wrestle with. I have every risk factor that has been floated as being high risk for ending up dead from COVID – blood that clots aggressively when it feels like it, nearly negative amounts of vitamin D, type A blood, autoimmune issues. you name it. It’s terrifying to know that if I contract this virus, odds are good that I’ll end up in the hospital, if not dead. But I’m incredibly lucky to be able to stay home. So many other people don’t have that luxury – and have paid with their lives because of it. I feel a daily range of emotions from overwhelm to gratitude to fear to shame and guilt to rage. And trying to practice grace at a time when so little is being shown anywhere has not been easy. I’ve failed a lot. Shame spirals are the rip currents of emotions – once you’re sucked into one, it’s hard to get out. I try to remind myself that nobody else knows what they’re doing or how to handle this situation, either – we’re all on this big spinning blue rock together, just hurtling through space one day at a time and trying to figure shit out. 

Me: I struggled A LOT with WHY I had that other day job.  WHY those people were brought into my life.  I witnessed conversations that shook me to the core.  I would go home and just rake my yard for hours. Trying to process what I was witnessing so close up. It pushed me to really get to know myself and educate myself.  My Mom went through every single thought process I had throughout this and she was 100% supportive.  I do not think I would have made it without her.

I also ate my feelings BIG TIME.  Like had every snack I haven’t allowed myself to have and I now know with certainty what snacks I really love. 

these aren’t my favorite

What have you learned about yourself

and the world?

Shelley: We are typically pretty resilient people. I honestly see this more in my 17 year old niece than myself. My heart aches for all the coming-of-age things she’s missed the end of her junior year, and this year, her senior year. But she just handles the disappointments with such grace. 

I’ve also learned that just at the moment I’ve lost faith in humanity, something beautiful and amazing happens to restore that faith. 

Meg:  Ooooh golly, this is a big one. I think I’m more resilient than I anticipated going into this. Don’t get me wrong, I had my daily struggles, and ate my way through the summer with ice cream and cookies, but overall we maintained as optimistic outlook as we could and took all the negative energy and loss of work and “struggles” and turned that energy around on itself to make a life that worked for us in this new normal.

Kristin: I’ve learned that even though I have read histories and biographies and memoirs and studied some of the darkest parts of our nation’s and the world’s past, I didn’t know how much racism was still happening, here at home, in me, and in people I love. White supremacy is not “just” skin heads and men in stupid white cone hats (that’s white nationalism anyway). I thought white supremacy was elsewhere and in other people. My silence about it also makes me complicit, and I’m still so so silent. 

And for all other less heart-piercing areas of life outside of the racial awakening we desperately need to work for, I have learned a mantra this year (Buddhist, I think) that has served me well so far in all sorts of situations. Here’s the mantra: It’s not perfect (nothing ever is); it’s not personal (whatever it is, it’s not about me); it’s not permanent (nothing is, not happy moments, difficult moments, nor life itself).

Nicki: Antidepressants are no match for perimenopausal anxiety and depression during an autocratic takeover and global pandemic, but I’m grateful for them anyway because I truly can’t imagine facing the past 12 months unmedicated.

I learned that a lot of people I know are either not who I thought they were, or exactly who I thought they were – myself included. The vast majority of us are leading predominantly unexamined lives, careening through days and weeks and years on autopilot, devoid of self-reflection – and we have a lot of work to do. Perhaps the heaviness and darkness of the last year will be a blessing – it has pulled back the curtain on our worst demons and exposed the monsters among us (and inside us). When we finally pull ourselves out of this clusterfuck of a mess and the light returns, maybe we’ll appreciate what we have, work to make meaningful changes, and fight harder to keep them. Maybe. Wherever we go from here, I still think we’re in for a Hell of a ride.

Me: All along I’ve felt there are two pandemics happening at once – one was new for us and one is hundreds of years old. Like so many of us, George Floyds murder changed my life.  The day it happened, I told a co-worker what I had just watched and their immediate reaction was, “Well there is always two sides to the story.”  I knew I was in the wrong place.  Working through that and being around people daily that weren’t seeing the bigger picture or through their white privilege was something I still do not understand. 

I would let Rocco out at night and stand out on the deck, looking up at the sky full of amazing stars and just think – we’re collectively doing this all so wrong. How are we doing this so wrong.  Life is such an opportunity and even if you’re doing good in the world, it feels sometimes there is just too much overwhelming bad.

All you can do is keep going.  Be brave and be kind. 

What surprises have you experienced

from this?

Shelley: Can’t really think of any.

Meg: We managed to still pull off buying a 75×100’ land in Montana in a pandemic. I still had a fulfilling work career in 2020 despite the lack of financial compensation. 

Kristin: I’ve learned that I can be adaptable. After the initial shock of the pandemic and all the hand-wringing and disruptions it brought to my personal and business life, I adapted – relatively quickly – much to my surprise. 

Another surprise is that I need people. Isn’t that a shocker? I am such a dyed-in-the-wool introvert that in the first few months of the pandemic, when all my social and business obligations got wiped off the calendar, I was in heaven. Then around June 15th (three months in), I suddenly realized how much I missed everyone. That’s my fickle, not-always-adaptable brain.

Nicki : I usually consider myself to be pretty jaded in general – but to see the way healthcare workers have been treated is genuinely astounding. The blatant disregard of their dire warnings, protesting them in the streets when they’re giving everything they have to fight this disease, people arguing with them from their death beds that they can’t possibly have COVID because it “isn’t real” – that was not only shocking, it was heartbreaking. And enraging. And eye-opening. It was so many things – and none of them good.


Me: I’m a strong ass independent woman. 

What have you found that brings you joy?

Shelley: Gardening, trying new recipes, trying new WINES! Warm, sunshiny days when I can be outside. 

Meg: Just being at home. Being in the garden. Taking small walks, appreciating each day and the beauty in each day. Simpler work, close to home work, not traveling for work as much, smaller events, not the larger blow out weddings. 

Kristin: Podcasts! Does that sound like the middle-age white woman answer you’d expect? Well, they are a revelation to me. Since their discovery, I can do three things I love at once: 1) walk/jog, 2) be outside in almost any weather, 3) listen to interesting/entertaining things. It makes me happy just writing about it! My three favorite podcasts are (because I know you’re wondering):

·      Ten Percent Happier with Dan Harris

·      Unlocking us with Brené Brown

·      Dare to Lead with Brené Brown

The best parts of listening to a good podcast is that I 1) learn new things and 2) get a reprieve from the loop of nonstop tedious recycled thoughts twirling in my head. A major two-fer!

Nicki: Joy is a difficult word for me. It’s something I haven’t felt in a long time. Medication and shadow work have helped – but joy is not an emotion I identify with. I have punctuated moments of happiness, sure – but to me, “joy” is… unadulterated, ecstatic and overwhelming. And that’s simply not in my emotional stockpile. I find happiness, peace and contentment in the outdoors – and in learning new things. Building and tending to a garden kept us busy through the warmer months (WE SUCCESSFULLY GREW CARROTS!) and tapping trees and making maple syrup will get us through the Dark Months, which are difficult for me in the best years. I love that Mark (my husband) and I share so many of the same interests and have been able to work together (mostly because he has the patience of a saint) to create this little What The Farm we’ve got. It’s a work in progress, like things usually are. I’m currently learning how to make soap – and learning that I love it. These things all make us happy. And that’s enough. 

(Also : COBRA KAI. Who knew Johnny Lawrence was the unsung hero we all desperately needed)? 

Nicki’s husband Mark

Me: I really liked having time.  I haven’t had time since I was a teenager.  I know this was really hard for so many people but I fully embraced this lifestyle. 

My pal, Rocco.  

I had to put Leo to sleep May 2019 and Rocco came into my life not even a month later.  It was a miracle.  Rocco is such a good dog.  He saved my heart and I try to make every single day amazing for him.

What has been your saving grace?

Shelley: I’ve always been accused of being a “crazy cat lady”, but it’s gotten worse. After losing one of my two cats in November 2019, I adopted 2 kittens in January 2020, to keep us company. I look at the now 1-year old Cooper and Casey, as well as “Grandma Kitty” Gracie, and I can’t imagine the pandemic months, or any months for that matter, without them. The unconditional love of pets is irreplaceable. 

The Grandma Kitty – Gracie

Meg: Zoom workouts with my friends, hiking Cranmore Mountain’s access road – a nice wide trail – with my workout friends on Fridays at 6AM  

Kristin: Being outside and exercising, often with the excellent companionship of my husband. I would be a depressed, angry puddle on the floor without exercise and Maine nature. My husband – who is my anchor – would have to divorce me if I couldn’t get my fix of both exercise and trees.

Kristin & Dean started making THE BEST Happy Birthday video messages.

Nicki: Self care for me has meant immersing myself in the care of other things. The animals we’ve gathered at our tiny homestead keep us going, and a good sheep snuggle or goat cuddle or chicken hug or a cat nap next to a snoozing dog are about as close to joy as we can get. They rely on us for their survival, and though our physical survival doesn’t rely on them, our mental survival certainly does. If they weren’t here, I can’t imagine the black hole I’d be in right now. The upkeep of the homestead forces us to be active – nothing can be ignored for long. So my general slothitude notwithstanding, the animals are truly the only thing that’s gotten me up and moving every day. They’re more than a mere daily motivation, though – they’re family. And having them around is entertaining, and uplifting, and rewarding. I’m happier around animals than I am around most people. 

Meditation and breath work has also been incredibly helpful. I’m not so good at the sitting-still-in-one-place-every-day kind – but I fall asleep every night to a guided sleep meditation. Religiously. It helps occupy my mind and keeps the crazy out.

And I’ve been trolling airbnb like a Russian bot for gorgeous places in faraway lands that maybe we’ll one day be welcomed back to – I miss my friends, and I miss traveling with them. I don’t have many friends nearby, and my inner circle is small – so when I travel, it’s usually with them, or to see them. I miss seeing the world and celebrating the special days and the everydays and the whatthef*cks with the special people in my life. It’s possible for even introverts to get lonely once in awhile – and planning a Bucket Lister to a sunny island or a bustling medieval city full of history and bone churches or a fire festival in the north Atlantic or a Maasai safari in Africa – even if they’re just wishful thinking – is a way to still feel connected (and somewhat normal).

Did I mention Cobra Kai? Oh – and peanut M&Ms. 

ME : Perk to having a day job meant I had benefits.  So, I thank my 2018 self who decided to get one. I had a week’s paid vacation and I spent the time up north with my parents in July.  The woods, the quiet, the nothing on the schedule and the lake swimming is absolutely needed for me to be OK. 

I also bought myself a Peloton in the fall of 2019.  Thank God I allowed myself to purchase that amazing gift of wellness.  A habit that I started is to fall asleep every night (going on 385 days) to guided meditation. It’s helped shut off anxious thoughts.

Also, I second the podcasts Kristin mentioned + of course My Favorite Murder.  Holy mind-blowing, life changing content.

What are you wishing for?

Shelley: Probably what most people are wishing for; health, safety, a way to knock down this virus. Unity, bipartisanship, HEALTHY debate and compromise in our government. Wine with zero calories.

Meg:  That everyone could have a pandemic experience as “effortless” as what I’ve experienced. I say “effortless” in air quotes because all of my problems have been first world problems. I’m not navigating childcare issues while trying to get to a job where I can’t work from home. I’m not trying to navigate home schooling while also working from home. I mean, we did have a foster kid in our care for part of October, but that’s NOTHING compared to what parents, front line workers, those who suffer depression, anxiety, people out of work, etc, had to deal with. 

Kristin: I’m wishing for the Biden/Harris administration to bring healing to the country (I can wish for miracles, right?!). I’m wishing for a change to how we’re destroying the planet (I think the NFL should make global warming their platform, and then we’d really see some change!). I’m wishing that all the people who see other people as a threat to their perceived status would wake up and see that we’re better off helping each other, rather than hurting each other. I’m wishing for a quick rollout of the vaccine so that I can travel again. I am wishing for my older cat to settle in with our two new kittens(!) so that he can enjoy their warmth and company. I am wishing for a great sushi dinner in a restaurant with no masks needed. 

Nicki: Justice and accountability on every level. And a recalibration of daily life back into the 21st century so we can attempt to move forward instead of backward. A return to science, and logic, and reason. A light at the end of this motherf*cking tunnel. 

full blown menopause – enough is enough already. A warm sunny, bug-free day on the other side of this pandemic that will involve a barbecue and good friends and laughter and hugs. 

Me: I wish for easy going, no pressure dinner gatherings.

Secretly and selfishly wishing that my parents lived closer.  Because they’re 3 hours away it made it hard to see them socially distanced.  Seeing each other requires a sleepover and it wasn’t safe to do that.

I wish for the daylight savings time change thing to stop because I learned that I do not do well between November-February when we turn the clocks back in terms of motivation.  I have plenty of motivation to eat things and go to bed at 7pm but I’d much prefer not living that way ever again.

The good news is one of my wishes came true and that was for our country to have better leadership.  Social justice, accountability and awakening is also big on the list.

What will or have you changed?

Shelley: I hope that I can take some of the silver lining stuff with me when we get back to a faster pace of life. I hope I continue to make time to garden. I hope sometimes just sitting on the porch with a friend is more enticing than going to a big event.

Meg: Everything about my business regarding client communication, sales, and on boarding, that all went out the window. I like having to reinvent the wheel here because I never liked that part of my business anyway! Now I have covid to blame and can much easier get people on the phone haha! 

Kristin: ·      My brown hair is mostly all gray now.

·      I am trying to connect with my parasympathetic nervous system more – breathing more slowly occasionally, meditating (like 30 seconds a day), noticing bluebirds and contrails.

·      I have changed my view that everyone else has it figured out except me. I now know that no one has it figured out, including me.

Nicki: I’m much more conscious of those in my social media circle who are mental and emotional poison for me – and I’m removing them. There’s a difference between being challenging and being toxic, and I can’t allow toxic in my life anymore. I can’t get out of my own way most of the time, so I don’t need to be battling my own demons as well as somebody else’s. The last year has really exposed a lot of ugliness and we won’t resolve any of it without working on the ugliness in ourselves first. And we can’t do that if we’re constantly dealing with Other People’s Ugly. I’m focusing on cleaning up my own mess, and on surrounding myself with the people who have been there for me, who’ve understood, who’ve listened and given me space but not given up on me – and holding them in my heart with so much love and gratitude. From an appropriate social distance, of course.

To brighter days. 

Me:  I don’t think I’d ever go back to having 3 jobs + the business and working 7 days a week.  I need two consecutive days off each week or I’m not ok long term.  I have to do everything in my power to make that work going forward.  I enjoy and need structure.  I’m my best self with time to recover each week and a structured routine.  

I thoroughly enjoyed reading these responses and weaving them together. Thank you ladies!!

xoxo . . .

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Welcome and thank you for taking the time to visit the Melissa Mullen Photography blog. I'm a Maine based photographer, specializing in weddings and lifestyle portraiture. I serve all of New England and beyond as no event is ever too far. Please feel free to take a look around and introduce yourself by leaving a comment of affection at the bottom of any of the posts. Or drop me a note as I would love to hear from you.

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