My story from picking up a camera to where I am today is not at all the usual photog's story. For a long time I felt ashamed of it, of my story, that is was too messy, too ugly...not pretty. How was I supposed to share my messy story and take pretty pictures? It didn't seem to go together... at least that's what I thought. Then one day it clicked. "It's the beauty He makes from ashes that are truly some of the most beautiful things."
"He makes beauty from ashes"
My REAL story.
My day 1 was in high school. I got a camera for Christmas and took pictures of anything that would let me... people, objects, everything. But then as time went on and I went off to nursing school I just forgot. Yes, I forgot about my camera. I went to school on the other side of the country and for FIVE years I couldn't tell you which side of the country my camera was on. Yep. Crazy.
I was in Nursing School for 2.5 years when my world was flipped upside down on me. And that's an understatement. Nursing school got more challenging, self-care and friend time was close to none, I entered into the HARDEST season of my life to date, PLUS my family was 2,000 miles away.
"What was this hard season? You had a hard season?? You look like a happy, bubbly, and vibrant girl just living life," right? Part of me wishes this statement was true, but part of me doesn't. If you hear me out you will understand why.
So the HARDEST SEASON of my life.
I was 2 years into Nursing School when I was faced with a part of my story that I have never had to acknowledge. I did what I knew I needed to and I shared the ugliest part of my story with my 3 BEST FRIENDS and my mom. Little did I know how hard I would have to fight to get through to the other side after opening up Pandora's box.
For 1.5 years I went to counseling. (I FULLY SUPPORT SEEING COUNSELOR'S THEY ARE GOD'S GIFT TO MAN 1000%). At first I went once a week, then twice a week, then once a month, then back to twice a week. There is no pristine laid out path for counseling, and I learned that very quickly. For 1.5 years I was going through nursing school and in depth counseling with my support system on what felt like the other side of the world.
I failed. & It wrecked me.
And no I don't mean I failed nursing school. I failed mentally, emotionally, phyiscally. I struggled with anxiety and depression, and EXACTLY 2 months before I filed for my LLC business license for KayLee Victoria Photography... I didn't want to live another day, I wanted to end my own life.
I got the help I needed. I called my best friend and my mom and walked myself a half a mile to the hospital and checked into the ER. This was exactly 60 days prior.
For 58 days.
For 58 days, I fought. I fought every minute to convince myself that my life was worth living. That I had the strength to fight the crippling anxiety and defending depressive state. And I fought. Some days I cried, all day. Some days I didn't eat. But every day that I was scheduled to see my counselor, I got up and I showed up.
I SHOWED UP.
I showed up, and I fought. I put in the hard work with every ounce of me that was left at that point in time. I knew that this was my only shot at healing. To get to the other side of the ashes. As I sat in her office that morning. I was in old Walmart sweatpants and an old hoodie. My hair was a mess, no make-up, glasses on, and sat down on the couch. We chatted. We unpacked some hard stuff. Then at the end she wrapped up and asked me "Kaylee, do you have any hobbies? Things you enjoy doing?" I thought about it... and nothing. Nothing came to mind other than my natural sassy instinct of "I have been in nursing school, counseling, and fighting to see the worth in my own life... so no, can't say I have much time for a hobby." BUT my real response to her was.. "No.."
"You like taking pictures, right?"
My therapist has known me for a few years and was an old neighbor of ours growing up, so she has seen my travels and posts on social media, and knew I loved taking pictures. I, however, forgot ...remember. She suggested I get a camera and try getting into photography and just enjoy something again. I told her I had a camera I just didn't even know if it was on this side of the country. But I listened. I looked for my camera. And a few days later it showed up when my mom was cleaning the garage (of all places).
I found my CAMERA & MYSELF that day.
Little did I know "finding" the camera I had "forgotten" about would be the start of the healing process I so desperately needed.
On day 59, I started taking pictures again.
I got my official business license and became KayLee Victoria Photography, LLC.
Day 61 until now.
I found myself, my passion, my place to serve and love and encourage others. I have put countless hours into this business and at the same time has put life back in me. I have invested time, energy, education, and so much more into me and my business. KayLee Victoria Photogragraphy was the name I chose for my business because that's what all my research pointed to. To name your business after.. well yourself. But little did I know that my business name, my brand, would be so much more that just that. It has been my healing place, my joy, my place to serve. I have poured my heart and soul into my brand and had to learn who I was, who I serve, and how I will do just that. And through all that I found more of myself that I didn't even know existed.
Day 61 until the end.
So what does my future hold? I don't know. What does the future hold for my business? No idea.
But. What I do know.
That my business has been a place of healing. Of confidence-finding. Joy-fullfilling. And self-adoration. All things I have never had before. && I want to share that with you. I want to serve you in a way that this brand, this business, my life can be a place of healing, of confidence-finding, and joy-filling for you in your most new, uncertain, but beautiful season.
I just want my story to reach to the ends of my earth and yours too. That as I praise the One who makes beauty out of the ashes of my messy life that He can and He will for you too. He is so good. He is faithful. He is kind. and He makes beauty from ashes.
And that's my REAL story.
What's your story?
I'd love to listen.