In May of 2017, I wanted to start the daunting task of a 52 weeks project. I was a newer mother then trying to navigate through it all while also trying to figure out and remember who I was underneath it all. It’s no secret by now that I went through some of the worst forms of PPD that lasted nearly a year after my son was born. It ripped away all my self esteem. Self love. Self confidence. And rattled my world even though being Leo’s mother was the greatest gift I’ve ever experienced! But, I talk more about my actual PPD experience and what caused mine here if you’re more curious.
I looked at myself in the mirror one day in May of 2017 and didn’t even recognize myself. I was still really overweight with extra baby weight, and then some. I didn’t have any personal time. Our financial situation was harder than ever before. And I was still fresh into full time self employment with a weight on me I didn’t know how to handle yet. That’s when I just broke down and lost it right there on the bathroom floor next to the toliet.
I realized in that moment I needed to do something for myself. Because every other aspect of my life was doing something for someone else. And although I love making the people in my life as happy as can be, taking care of ourselves needs to also be a priority. How can we take care of others if our own self is falling apart at the seams?
I decided to work on a personal project where I could dissect myself into pieces. And use photography to create photos that showcased those pieces. And each week there was a different theme surrounding a different piece of myself in which could be made as a reminder to myself of everything that I am and ever have been. But also giving myself the permission to create every week. Making a space to be free to do anything and everything. To explore. Or stay home and make something out of nothing. To challenge myself and give my mind something to do outside of the despair it constantly racked around with. And so, not only was the Pieces of Me 52 weeks project born, but it was almost easy for me to keep up with it even through my busiest times because it was healing me. And giving me a path back to who I want to be.
Since most everyone has probably seen the project photos by now. And the link to the project is right above. I wanted to share something that didn’t get shared anywhere last year which was my behind the scenes video diary compilation I made of everything I took during the project’s duration. Not only was this project transformative, eye opening, and freeing, but it ultimately ended up documenting the entire past year in such a unique way. And, you can see that below in the very crappy video I threw together <3
Over the summer last year, I volunteered for the Invincible Foundation’s first Summer Showcase for their dance camp! It was such a fun opportunity for me because I haven’t done much event photography in the past. And me being me, I’m always looking for new things to try out. And I couldn’t have been more excited to give my time to these guys.
The Invincible Foundation is a wonderful organization here in Cincinnati that has built summer programs that focus on encouraging young girls to step out of their comfort zones to try something new and enhance their confidence. The organization was started by Caitlin Dunkley in 2012 as a Senior Capstone and when she started it, she fell in love with the service and all the girls she got to teach! So, she’s been holding it every year since and it’s been growing every single year in popularity. Not to mention, she’s been able to expand the camps from Dance Camp to also hold Art Camp, Soccer Camp, and even Camp RISE which focuses completely on empowerment to these young girls all through the hard efforts of many volunteers and planning to keep these camps free for all attendees.
Last summer in 2018, the dance camp celebrated its 7th year running and put together this Summer Showcase for all the girls to show their friends and family everything they had learned together over the summer! So, it was wonderful to be invited in and document this amazing event for all these incredible ladies.