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The Biggest Year of My Life.

It seems like Facebook always has an end of the year “highlight” video or something.  This year is no different.  I rarely update Facebook (because, quite frankly, it bores me), so my highlight video includes my brother’s senior prom and some wedding photos I’m tagged in from wedding clients.  And while I’m honored and excited to be included in those peoples’ lives, not too many people really know what my 2014 looked like.  It was easily the most challenging year of my life–from beginning to end.

Here we go:

There were some low points for sure.
I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety in April–something I had wondered about for years, but never got checked out because I was afraid.  Things are going really well now.  I’m glad to know.  I’m glad to be getting any help I need.  I’m thankful for the support of my family and the few friends I’ve shared it with.  I’m feeling really great lately.

My marriage to Ethan is ending–not on bad terms at all.  It’s a mutual decision, and something we have talked a lot about.  We realized that we aren’t what each other needs or wants in a spouse and that we can still love each other as friends.  I think it’s better to end it on really good terms rather than it to end in resentment or with a house together or kids to try and “fix” things.  We still care for each other so much and respect each other.  Our hope is to remain good friends, and so far, it’s going really well.  I had gone back and forth about whether or not to make the ending of our relationship public, but it got to be so awkward when people would recognize me as his wife without them knowing that we were separated and I’d say “Uh…yeah…” and make them believe that we were still happily married.  I still wholeheartedly believe in love, in true love, and will never ever regret anything regarding Ethan.  My job is founded on the love between people.  I shoot weddings for a living.  I believe in love and I believe in friendship and I now realize how truly important it is for two people to be absolutely certain before making that sort of commitment.  I’m not sure Ethan and I were ever certain.  We were enthusiastic, sure, but also nervous and scared and naive.  But, like I said, we’re on great terms and still care about each other very much.  I don’t think anyone goes into a marriage expecting it to end a year and a half later.  I wasn’t expecting it, but life never really works out how we expect it to.  And while part of that is terrifying, the other part is exciting.  I can’t stress enough how much Ethan still means to me.  I’m excited for both of us to make our friendship stronger and to continue with our lives separately, but with each other’s support.

I experienced the death of some friends.  There’s not much to say here, other than losing someone is never easy.  It stings.

Some friendships ended.  I cried a lot.  I (we) witnessed some horrible things in the media.  I got angry.  I had a ton of self doubt and a lot of self-loathing days.

But 2014 wasn’t all bad.  In fact, it was mostly good.

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(Photos by my BFF, Colleen, of Wild Light Photography)

Here are some highlights:

I was successfully self-employed for a full year.  I wake up every morning so excited that I get to do this as my job.  It brings me so much joy.  Photographing makes me come alive.  I can’t explain it any other way.

I ended up photographing 29 weddings (my goal was to shoot 18 this year).  I photographed weddings in four states: Oklahoma, Kansas, Oregon, and Colorado.  I got to capture the momentous, amazing love of two people 29 times.  That rules.  Not to mention the countless engagement sessions, senior sessions, band/musician sessions, family sessions, and lifestyle sessions.  I met so many amazing people this year.

I put together my first workshop in April and got to teach and lead other photographers.  It was a highlight of this year and I hope to put something together again in 2015.

I connected with other photographers all over the country and made friends in different states.

I travelled to Texas, Missouri, Oregon, Washington, Colorado, New York, New Mexico, and Kansas.  I already have plans for going to Florida in January, Europe in the spring of 2015 and back to the PNW in August.

I watched a lot of my friends get married to each other and witnessed people fall in love.

My college roommate (and a dear friend) got engaged to one of her best friends (and a dear friend of mine) after 5 years of solid friendship.  It’s weird to see them kiss and stuff, but I love love love that they’re together (and I get to shoot their wedding in July).

I became an official Brides of Oklahoma Vendor.

I got closer to a handful of people and met a new best friend.

I got two new tattoos (sorry mom).

Southwest: The Magazine published two of my photos in print in a spread on Oklahoma City.  I was also featured on a handful of websites here and there and had some work up in a local gallery.

I read a lot of poetry and wrote some too.

I ate the best tacos I’ve ever had–from Union tacos–and the best tamales I’ve ever had–from Por Que No in Portland.

I started re-dabbling in film photography and I love it.

I was referred to people by photographers I’ve looked up to for years.

I listened to a lot of good music–loudly.

I learned that giving gifts or time is not bound by holidays.

I watched Harry Potter a lot and read Harry Potter a lot.

I met Russell Westbrook and took his photo.

I spent a lot of quality time with close friends and with my family.  Lots of board games and laughter.  SO much laughter.

I cooked a lot.  And ate a lot of really good food.  Favorite recipe from the year: black bean and sweet potato tacos.

My brother began going to OU and now lives 30 minutes from me, which is awesome.

I became one of the founding members of The Harlem Bogtrotters trivia team.

I saw a lot of live music and dubbed myself as Bored Wax‘s number one fan.

I just had a wonderful Christmas, surrounded by people (and dogs) I love.

I drank a lot of coffee, spent a lot of time in great coffee shops, laughed a lot, danced a lot, high-fived a ton, went to cool museums, loved people, gave thanks every day (even on days it was hard), and continued on in my journey to be present.

I started (or re-started, rather) trusting in God to provide and to protect.  It’s comforting.

2014 was a roller coaster, as cliche as that sounds.  A year of learning, of growing, of reaching, of dreaming, and of working to stay passionate.

I’m so excited for 2015.

  • 1.8.13 - 7:01 pm

    Matilda - You are stunning, strong, and everything I hope I can be in a woman. You have been a light in my life and definitely one of the best reasons I have been able to smile at all this year. Thank you for sharing, thank you for continually being an example for young women and people everywhere to be happy in the darkest hour, to struggle and let people know that it’s okay to struggle. Your work is beautiful, your face is beautiful, and thank Yeezus I get to know you.

    I love you, lady.ReplyCancel