I feel so blessed to have been invited to teach at Click Away 2018 in the beautiful Amelia Island, Florida. If I am being entirely honest, I had every intention of going to courses, lectures and events and hanging with all the incredible women who were also in attendance. But the moment I arrived at the hotel, the sea was calling me. The sand between my toes was the only thing I wanted to feel and my daughter's giggles were the only thing I wanted to hear. And a cold Bloody Mary was the only thing I wanted to hold. So I allowed us to be absolutely free.
Of course, I was there to teach and we did some modeling for other teachers as well but for the most time, we just hung out and enjoyed ourselves. And we needed it. It was good for our souls.
I did want to share some images from the boutique on Styled Children Photography that I taught with Delaney as my model. We talked about prepping clients, where to shop, what I look for when styling, branding, lighting, and galleries, and so much more. But for me, the absolute best part was watching my daughter own who she was in front of dozens of photographers with cameras pointing in her face. I was probably the most annoying mom ever in that moment, just saying over and over again, "how incredible is my baby girl?" Gosh, I was just beaming with pride. Not because she was beautiful but because she was HERSELF.
So, can we talk about confidence for a minute? How do we ensure that our children are confident people? You know, without being cocky people? Or is that just a characteristic that is planted deep within one’s soul? Can we mold or create confidence in our kiddos and ourselves? I’d like to think so. But at the same time, there is a fine line. My parents use to tell me I was beautiful all the time and the only thing it ever made me feel was like that was that I was SUPPOSE to be. But maybe if we tell our kiddos they are beautiful, there is too much pressure to BE beautiful all the time? Gosh, I don’t know.
All I know is that my 7 year old daughter is able to stand in front of ANYONE and be entirely confident in herself. She's not embarrassed to be serious or to be vulnerable. Or to laugh loudly or dance freely. She is never bragging or dwelling on her beauty. She just owns it — flaws, quirks and all.
Since returning home, I keep wondering why don’t I have the confidence my daughter has? What did I do right with her that made her into this person who is so self assured? Maybe it is just childhood and innocence, maybe the world and it's opinions has jaded me too much and it hasn't yet touched my daughter. Maybe it was that boy who told me while I was peacefully walking home from school (minding my own damn business and humming to myself) that I was flat chested and useless. Or the one who told me I was too much of a tomboy to be considered a girl even though I rocked those soccer shorts and backwards hat like a freaking goddess. Until one day I realized that the world didn't look at a girl like me as "beautiful."
Now, I believe so strongly that my daughter should be told she is beautiful everyday but even more so, I want to tell her she is beautiful for EVERY SINGLE REASON not just her lovely little face. For her heart. Her freckles. Her kindness. Her laughter. Her oddities. Her split ends. And her ability to light up a room.
Imagine how beautiful every person would be if they would just stand there and OWN who they are? Backwards hats, splits ends, flat chests, pimples, and all. Let’s just rock that shit, man. Proudly.
I’m going to end this rant with a quote that hits home for me:
“I found I was more confident
when I stopped trying
to be someone else’s definition
and started being my own.”
Now I will leave you with images of my daughter just being herself, freely, in front of dozens of photographers, because to me, there is nothing more beautiful than that.