My heart was pounding, I couldn't seem to get enough air, and I was pretty sure it was the end of the world.
I was in 5th grade, and was having a little panic attack over division homework I didn't understand. My Dad (who was also my teacher) grabbed my hands and made me do an embarrassing dance with him around the room while he sang a silly song. I don't remember the song (other than it had fart noises in it), but I do remember him telling me I was a perfectionist and I couldn't stay in his class unless I relaxed.
I wore the label of "perfectionist" as a badge of pride for years.
I thought being a perfectionist somehow put me a step above other people because I was hard on myself and would only be satisfied with the very best.
Fast forward a few decades later and I'm realizing the many ways perfectionism negatively affects my life. I'm trying my best to let go of it.
Among other things, my perfectionism stops me from sharing my "imperfect" pictures. I have a very hard time sharing a picture that is missing a "wow" factor, or is flawed in some way.
But this month as I was going through my many pictures, I thought about what motivated me to pick up my camera each time. Even though I see the imperfections in each of these images, they all tell a specific story that I wanted to remember.
This was the day Madi had her shots for Kindergarten. We celebrated her surprising bravery with a Slurpee. I couldn't believe how much she was growing up and changing, and how different that experience was from her shots when she was a toddler. I hate the distracting objects behind her in this picture, and almost didn't share it because of that. But this picture will forever remind me of feeling simultaneously proud that she was becoming so brave and independent, and sad that my little girl didn't need her mommy quite as much anymore.
I've never had a close relationship with any Grandparents, so I absolutely love documenting the relationship my girls have with theirs. I think they are the luckiest little girls in the world to have such loving, involved Grandparents. I waited quite a while to capture this exact moment when everyone was doing something interesting that added to the story. The minute I pressed the shutter I knew it would be my favorite, but I haven't shared it because I thought it might be boring to other people.
We all adore my little brother Matt. This day I picked him up from the airport after he flew in from England. Even though he was jet-lagged and still had a few hours drive home, he still made my girls' night by playing with them in the backyard before he left for home. The focus is soft in this picture, I struggled with the edit didn't feel like it was "share worthy", but to me it is so meaningful.
My mother in law visited for a week and we took the girls to a children's museum together. Chloe couldn't quite reach the ball pit, but she didn't let that stop her. I took this picture because I wanted to remember the funny moment and how little she seemed. I didn't share it because I didn't know if it would make sense to someone who wasn't there.
Obviously when I saw Chloe eating her breakfast with a crown on I had to grab my camera. I love her imagination, that she and Madi are ALWAYS in the middle of a game, and how small she looks next to the boxes of cereal and milk. I did end up sharing this picture on my personal Instagram (where I share all my imperfect photos and phone shots), but wasn't sure if I liked that she was looking at the camera. Silly, I know.
Over and over again it is the ordinary, everyday moments that inspire me to pick up my camera. And every time, the meaning behind the picture matters so much more than the technical imperfections.
Are you a recovering perfectionist too? If so I'd love to hear about how you deal with it! Seriously. Leave a comment or send me a message.
Now hop on over to my friend Jennifer's blog (a Maryland family photographer) to see her gorgeous pictures.