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        Today is one of those days where I have a lot of thoughts. Lots of feelings. I was going to ramble on instastories, but that would take too long. I was going to do an instalive, but I don’t really want to look at my face while I talk about these things. So instead I’ve chosen to use the little corner of the internet that I’ve created to put my thoughts out to the world in one go. Because even though they’re a bit more negative than I’d like, maybe, just maybe, they can help someone else.

        My son’s birthday makes me really sad.

        I’ve been feeling this for a few weeks. I feel it every year around both my kids’ birthdays, but especially Tyler’s. There are reasons for feeling sad around his birthday, and this year I’ve given in to them more, despite trying to be cheery and celebrate another year with him (which I obviously am grateful for and love celebrating).

        You see every year that he gets older, life gets a little more difficult. Firstly, because I’m a control freak and I hate letting go, which is why both of them getting older and more independent makes me want to weep. But every year that Tyler gets older, the closer he is to facing this world alone. And that is bloody terrifying for any mother, but when your kid has Autism, it’s another level of scary.

        Also, the older he gets, the less ‘acceptable’ his ways are. When they’re young and cute, being blunt or direct is funny. Every year that he gets older, the more ‘rude’ or ‘weird’ he is deemed. In school, much more is expected of him every single year, which means he struggles more and more, both socially and academically. Every year he gets invited to fewer birthday parties and has less and less friends. It’s not through any of the other children being mean, we’re lucky in that his class are a lovely bunch of children. But as they get older, they are moving faster than he can keep up with and naturally then he gets left behind.

        This year even buying him a birthday card brought home how different it is for us. All of the boy cards for 8 year olds were all things that Tyler wouldn’t even think of: WWE, Fortnite, Marvel. He’s more into Justin’s House, Peter Rabbit and PJ Masks. And for that I’m grateful, because his innocence and purity is something that I, as a mother, adore. But it makes it much harder for him to keep up with his peers.

        So yeah, whilst I could not be more proud of my boy and would celebrate the day he was born with every ounce of me, there is part of me that has woken up today so sad that time is going much quicker than I would like it to.

        I’m A Wee Bit Over Instagram Right Now

        Most people will be shocked by this, according to many, I’m the Instagram queen who lives on the app. And to a certain extent that’s true. But recently, I am so over it. I’m trying to figure out why so that I can deal with what’s making me feel this way, but I’m struggling to put my finger on it.

        I think one part of it is the comparison and the shallowness of it all. I feel like it’s a competition, a game almost. Who can connect with who to grow their following and engagement. It’s all a business, and I get that, but it makes you question everything, especially when that’s not how you want to be.

        Maybe I’m wrong, and I’m looking at it wrong. But my time is so important that I want everything I do to have meaning and value. So if I’m commenting or connecting with someone, I really want them to be a friend first and foremost, even my clients. Friends value you, your time, and your work and they don’t expect you to give away your hard work and efforts for free – which I’m sorry, but that seems to be a running theme in insta-life.

        My photos are not free

        So whilst I’m here, I’m just going to say it, my time and work is not free. Most people don’t realise the costs that go into photography, and whilst I’m not going to bore you with them (because you don’t need to know the costs of everything you purchase), I do think people need to realise that every time I take a photo, it costs me money. Whether it’s the equipment I use (every time I press the shutter, I’m one frame closer to needing to replace my gear) or the data storage of the images (Dropbox, hard drives, memory cards and client gallery systems cost money) or the diesel I use to get me to you. It all adds up.

        So if I offer you a free or discounted shoot, please know it’s because I see you as a friend, even my clients, and that’s what I love to do for my friends. If you’re a vendor and I send you images from a wedding, know that I’m doing that out of the goodness of my heart, not because I should. Genuinely, I absolutely adore that I’ve been given a gift that I can share with others and bring joy to them with my images.

        Some days it’s just hard

        After the weekend we’ve seen with bad news, most of the things I’m talking about seem trivial. Life is short and fragile so who cares about what people think, Instagram or whether people use my images without credit. And that is so unbelievably true.

        But here’s the thing, these are my thought processes. These are the issues that I’m dealing with right now by writing them and (possibly) hitting publish when I’m done. This is how I keep my head straight when things start to get to me.

        You may or may not get why these things would bother me, but you don’t have to. If you do, then I hope you know you’re not alone and that brings you some comfort. But just by sharing the things that get to me, I already feel better. I’ve shared the load. And if everyone felt able to share the load, maybe fewer people would feel so isolated and in despair that they reach the point too many people have got to.

        So I promise that’s all my negativity done for a while, I promise I’m an upbeat person who really looks for the positivity in life. But sometimes it’s not always possible to just shrug off the things that bother us. Some things can be ignored, but others can’t, and I think it’s about time we realise that’s ok too. Lx

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