In a field of horses, be a unicorn. It’s a saying I am sure we have all heard at least once in our lives (especially if you live at home with a unicorn-obsessed 4-year-old). It’s strewn across shirts, mugs, etc.. Honestly, I can see why; the message is everything we want for ourselves and our children—to stand out from the crowd by embracing your true unique self.
Ultimately, it’s the result of a larger movement slowly taking hold and calling us to action—it takes an immense amount of courage and it is certainly not easy. It’s calling us to unapologetically embrace our true self. Our individuality is the core of who we are and if we can embrace it, the possibilities are endless. Instead of living for what we believe others want us to do or who they want us to be, we can begin to live our lives for ourselves—letting go of what is expected and embracing what ignites our soul.
Why is it so hard to embrace our uniqueness and become the magical unicorns we are meant to be? Simple: being true to ourselves and loving who we are means we also have to open ourselves up to vulnerability, and that is scary as hell. However, we all know anything worth doing doesn’t always come easily, especially when the world around us sends conflicting messages.
Your house has to look like the embodiment of perfection, but embrace the mess and make memories. You need to be a size 4 with flawless skin and on-point fashion, but you are perfect as you are.
It’s no wonder we struggle every day. If we as adults struggle with these conflicting messages, imagine the struggles our children will have. Not long ago, I read The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown, and one phrase that keeps sticking out in my mind is, “You cannot give your children what you do not have.” If we don’t show our children that we ought to embrace our uniqueness instead of shy away from it, that self-love is essential, and that vulnerability is strength, how will they ever know ? It starts with us.
We see conflicting messages within family photography as well. We hear phrases such as, “Capture these memories now, your kids won’t care about what you look like. They find you beautiful just the way you are.” or “Your kids will just want pictures of mom and dad, when you are no longer around. It doesn’t matter if your makeup is perfect or your hair is slightly out of place.” However, it’s hard to believe the sincerity behind these messages when they are presented next to the same pictures we see day in and day out of “Pinterest Perfect” families with perfectly coordinating outfits and picture-perfect moments. Actions speak louder than words; if we want to embrace the “unique” in all of us, then we need to start showing uniqueness.
This is why I choose to photograph the way I do. I struggle every day with self-love and embracing my individuality. I live my life every day trying to be unapologetically me, embracing the beauty in real life, and telling myself “I am enough” in hopes my children will see and believe that as well. They are my greatest motivator. Ultimately, I want them to embrace their imperfections and know they have value no matter what they do. For them to see who they were and are slowly becoming, knowing that is enough. I want this for you as well.
I get it, it’s hard to embrace who you are, especially when everyone around you is desperately trying so hard to be like everyone else. I’m here to tell you to look beyond “picture perfect”. Photos do not have to look like the ones on Pinterest to be meaningful and beautiful. Photos of your family being themselves, as they are, is enough. We tell ourselves to be a “unicorn in a field of horses,” but why do we keep choosing to be a horse?
Family photos should be meaningful and unique to the story of our lives. They should be of some of our most cherished memories. Matching outfits and perfectly posed photos capture a very polished still of your life at that time. But life is rarely “polished”. They provide us with a glimpse of photography and fashion trends of the time (which may make for some good laughs in the future), but these photos will never provide us with the insight of who we were and what made us “unicorns”. When I think back to the photos of my mom growing up or images of my childhood self, it was the candid moments from our day-to-day that gave me a true sense of the people we were.
So I want you to join my movement. I want you to stop trying to be like everyone else and be “unapologetically you”. I want us to flood the internet with photos of REAL, AUTHENTIC family life—the moments that make up your life’s story. Let me help you do that with a documentary family photo session. Forget “Pinterest perfect”… real is perfect. Together we can show this to the world and change it for the better.
“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
P.S. When you post your photos online use the hashtag #RealLifeROCs. This way, we can all find and enjoy a glimpse of the beauty that is our everyday, together.