I woke up different in my thirties.  I had a longing inside of me for something real. Not borrowed from others.  I realized that life is a song, I had to find where the music lives.

As a child, I was that little girl who was afraid to raise her hand.  As a teenager, I was never one to start a conversation looking for others to break the sound barrier.  In my college years I was considered extremely naive and unsure of myself, longing to know who I am.

As a young woman in the real world for the first time, I started to feel the ground under my feet with each accomplishment.  After marriage and children, I still was not able to speak out, to stand up for myself.  I think in many ways I was lost in the music of “What if I fail?”

In the beginning of my fourth decade, I picked up a camera for the first time.  It became my lens to the world.  I learned to rely on my strengths and started to really listen to the lyrics of my song.  It had a voice.  The key to my happiness laid deep inside me all along and it was not until I truly believed in myself that I became myself.

It is amazing how small my world was when I lived in a bubble with major insecurity issues.  I was looking at certain traits in others that I liked, trying to be someone I wasn’t.  It was like being tone deaf, completely out of sync.

The growth from within comes from being true to yourself, to your own principles and beliefs.  Being behind the camera forced me to really communicate with others in order to get that one image that said something about that person or place.   I found a passion I had never experienced before- wanting to sing out and feel the rhythm of the dance of life.

In the mix of writing your own music, you have to go through pain or failures and sometimes just be a bit out of tune.  I now see this period of time as time to learn to use the tools God has given me to unleash the strong woman I have become.

The best way to realize your true worth is being unafraid to expose yourself to a variety of situations with different people. This forced me to really experience life with my eyes and ears, learning to hear and see, and finally feel the beat of my heart and soul in concert.

Sometimes it is not enough to play the notes or sing the song.  Sometimes you have to turn up the volume, close your eyes, and hear that inner voice that guides you to that place where the music lives.