Hi friends! Today I’ve got something a little different for you. My friend and photographer, Melanie Foster, has graciously agreed to write a guest post on The Timeless Millennial. Melanie and I have come to be friends since she first started photographing me last September. I always look forward to chatting with her during our photo sessions–she’s kind, talented, passionate and loves the Lord. I think she always has great perspective and a heart that shines. I’m so excited that you get a small taste of how great she is in today’s post. I hope you enjoy!!
It’s hard to keep up.
Whether it’s someone’s sparkly new diamond ring, the bronzed shade of tan on a toned bikini body, or the Pinterest-perfected house … photos that fit in to these ideals are a staple in my Instagram explore page. As a photographer, and unfortunately a perfectionist, it’s even further exacerbated by the fact that so many of the professional images that make their way to this black hole are all shot by someone who wasn’t me. A perceived personal attack on my self-esteem AND my personality that I have let eat me alive more often than I would like to admit.
I’ve stopped going to the explore page. For a while, it was a business task on my to-do list. I would comment, like and engage with other people’s content to increase my chances of winning over the algorithm. What’s funny is that I don’t think it ever actually worked. The more time I spent there, the more consumed I was and the more I lied myself into the belief that I could “keep up with the competition” and meet my own unrealistic expectations, whether it was physically, socially or professionally. It was a constant distraction from my faith, my purpose and the blessings right in front of me.
A few weeks ago, I was in a small town in Oklahoma on an overnight photoshoot. I didn’t have cell service, and as a self-proclaimed Instagram addict, I was surprised by my lack of panic. I was literally in a log cabin. I laughed more with the people I was with than I had in weeks. My phone was across the house lost in the bottom of my bag – there was nothing to take me out of the moment or distract me from being present and focusing only on what was happening right then and there.
The Lord has been teaching me a lot through my perfectionism, but especially through this unplugged weekend. Not only was I never going to keep up, but I didn’t have to. Whatever was going on in the world outside of where I was just wasn’t all that important because it would be there when I got back. I’ve found that the less I focus on what is going on in everyone else’s world, the more I can focus on what is going on in mine & the people I love and care about. We’ve all heard “stay in your lane” or “you do you” and I think evaluating our presence and time spent on social media is one of the best ways to do that and to truly take care of ourselves and the people around us.
Melanie Foster is a photographer based out of Norman, Oklahoma who specializes in proposals, engagements, bloggers and senior photography. You can see more of her work or reach out to Melanie on her website: melaniefosterphotography.com.