I found this amongst my vast array of random papers I’ve written on throughout the years. I wrote this on January 17th, 2008:
“Somewhere along life’s path we lose sight of the person we once were…the fire that shined so bright* starts to dwindle with the winds of immense change and time…somewhere down that path we look at the horizon and remember who we are…and admire not only where we are from but who we’ve become…and question who we are to BECOME. Sometimes the reality of our truth is so hard to believe that somewhere along the way we lose sight of our reality. We even start to question our certainty in the truth. For is the truth of our reality truly possible?”
–Monique “Katie” O’Donnell
(Written remembering Papa’s promise and the reality of me vs. others. Which I will go into another day in a different post.)
I honestly wouldn’t have written this post if it wasn’t for my power going out overnight. The county is doing some work on the power lines in my neighborhood and had to cut off the power until later this afternoon. So like a genius, I didn’t charge my cell last night after work. Instead I curled up on the couch to watch my recorded episode of my TV show “Pretty Little Liars” but ended up falling asleep like a baby. I’ve been so determined this week to finish my client’s pictures from our shoot this past Thursday that I disciplined myself to focus on nothing but her pictures. And if anyone knows me well they know I have trouble focusing. So I was proud I got her pictures back to her with a quick turnaround, even though I barely got any sleep. But I am determined to work hard this summer. I want to succeed and achieve success in my dream careers, or at least make some progress in the direction of my dreams this summer.
Before this summer started I couldn’t wait because there was so much I wanted to do and accomplish. Whether it was going out, traveling, spending time with friends, family, and loved ones, doing something I have never done before, or even doing lots of photo shoots to build up my portfolio. Well, as the saying goes “time flies” and summer is already a little more than half over. Sitting here it seems as if I haven’t accomplished much this summer, but as far as my personal life and myself I have made a lot of progress. I have grown immensely as a person this summer.
The second part to that saying is time flies but luckily you’re the pilot, but in my opinion the twist is that the co-pilot is God. One of the greatest questions in everyone’s life at some point in time is “Who am I?” This question pops up continuously throughout our lives especially when our circumstances or our stages in life change. Life is a continuous search about finding oneself. Like life, our sense of self is ever-changing but in the rare moments or time periods that you find your footing everything changes. When you find your niche in life itself, the moments where you find the perfect footprints for you, are some of the best moments in life. You have found yourself like two puzzle pieces in time fitting together perfectly like fate or destiny. Meant to be, meant to be discovered.
There was a part of me that was missing until this summer and there was a part of me that I thought I had lost long ago until now. A part of myself that makes me feel more alive than I have felt in quite some time. Even my best friends have noticed the change and fire in me lately. A side they haven’t seen in years. When something changes you so immensely, you don’t just let it go or ignore it. It’s funny how life works out and the curve balls that life throws you. When you least expect it life switches up on you. It changes up the equation and experiments with different elements. Sometimes throwing in the most conflicting elements with the only hint being that in some crazy explicable way all these elements can work. As out of this world and incomprehensible as that sounds at the moment, the fact is it’s possible.
When specific elements are removed from the equation your first reaction is how can it or does it function now? You have to reevaluate everything because the answer is no longer the same, or is it? This is something that you have to determine or evaluate yourself. Sometimes when we are so focused on the specific elements in our original equation that we lose focus. We fail to remember that the whole purpose of the equation is the answer, the end result. When we take our eyes off the end result, we sometimes lose sight of the whole equation and it’s purpose, our purpose. When we focus on the elements we lose sight of everything else but we do not realize this. We still think we are evaluating the equation correctly when in fact we didn’t keep our eye on the answer and while we were distracted with the details, the answer has changed. Which means the whole equation has changed and what we were originally searching for, is no longer the same thing we are searching for now.
Life has a funny way of doing that to us, sometimes what we think we want and what we really need are two different things. But we cannot realize this unless life switches up the elements of our equation on us. Sometimes it’s hard to focus on the end result or what we want in life, because we have become so focused or obsessed with focusing on or worrying about one specific element that we forget all the other elements. We even forget about ourselves. We lose sight of ourselves and our wants, our desires, and dreams. We forget that we deserve better or that we can achieve better because we are so focused on making the current equation work. We are so determined to make it function that we are afraid to upset the balance or when the balance is upset we are quick to go back to the norm. But is the equation meant to be that way? Or is there a better equation and a better formula for our lives than we can currently comprehend? Why do we forget this small fact so easily? Why do we overlook the obvious? More so why are we so blind or only focused on the details? How do we get so lost?
Before this summer started I was too focused on rushing through life, through everything. I often put a lot of my own heart’s desires on hold to cater to others or to focus on work and other aspects of my life. I was doing enough to get by and always worrying about upsetting the balance in my life. I was so use to my comfort zone and the choices I had made. But little did I know how much my life would change this summer. I didn’t expect for this summer to change my life or impact it as much as it has but it did and I don’t think I can go back to the woman I was before. There is a difference in me now that is irreversible. It was unexpected and unexplainable. I am still having trouble putting it into words or fathoming the depths of it’s impact. This summer I have had to make some of the biggest decisions of my life. I had focused so long on worrying about others that I forgot about myself and my own dreams.
”The expected is what keeps our lives steady, it’s the unexpected that changes our lives FOREVER.” – True Story
One of the biggest problems for most people in life is that they are afraid to give up what is comfortable in order to achieve that which they desire most. People are afraid to let go of what already fits or works in their life in order to get what they want or to go where they want in life. They are afraid to take the chance, to let go of the familiar in order to chase or try for the unfamiliar. Most are afraid of fear or are afraid of failure. While others are more afraid of losing what has taken them so long to achieve already, mainly being who they are at this exact moment in time. But what they do not realize or forget to remember is that life is always changing. It never stays the same, nothing in life does. Most people are looking but aren’t really seeing. Is that what you’re doing? Does any of this sound like you?
I came across this next quote and it definitely sums of some revelations of my summer. “What you are is what you have been, and what you will be is what you do now”. –Buddha This quote is very true, so follow your heart, do what makes you happy, and forget what others think or believe. Sometimes in life we need to wake up and realize what is best for us. As hard as it is to focus on yourself solely, you need to sit down and ask yourself what it is that you want out of life in this moment? What do you want in the future? What will make you happy? What will you regret? What can you live with and what can you not live without?
At some point in the last few years I felt like I needed to wake up and stop being so naive and that I needed to come to terms with the reality of my life. The reality that maybe my childlike way of thinking wasn’t the best thought process for my situations. I started to deflate my head out of the clouds a little but not completely because I still held out hope and still believed in my fairytale-like way of thinking when it comes to life. No matter how many curveballs life threw at me or how many times I got knocked down, I kept fighting and pushing forward. At some point though I started to settle in some aspects of my life that you should never settle in. I started to believe that maybe my hopes, dreams, desires, or wishes were too high and maybe in the reality of life I started to believe maybe you had to settle. I started to contemplate that maybe life wasn’t like the fairytales or books and stories you read. At this moment in time or over time I began to lose pieces of myself. My flame started to dwindle and wasn’t burning as bright as it once was. Until this summer, something awoke and changed in me for the better and I cannot ignore it. I believe everything happens for a reason and this summer taught me that I had forgotten how to live. I had forgotten my self worth and what I truly had to offer. I forgot what is was like to live a life worth living. I stopped doing what made me happy and I stopped spending time with my friends and loved ones. I even abandoned my writing and photography at different points. My two first loves and the biggest passions in my life. My reasons for my existence.
Sometimes in life you forget the fire that’s deep inside of you, but more so you forget how to make it burn as bright and fiercely as it use to. When it was an unwavering beacon of light inside of you. You start to lose your faith and hope little by little everyday. Even your optimism diminishes, you find yourself contemplating negative thoughts that you would’ve never given a moment’s thought to before. You start to let reality creep into your life a little too strongly and forget that optimism, a strong heart, and belief system is what kept the wolves at bay. You forget that anything is possible and you start to settle more and more. Somewhere along the line you lost sight of the answer to your equation. You focused too long on certain aspects that you forgot who you were and the person that you wanted to become. God knows this and life knows this all too well, which is why we are thrown curveballs. This is why our equations get shaken up. To show us what is possible in life. Our world changes and our equations are shaken up not to take things away from our lives but to make sure we want the path we are currently focused on in life. Sometimes we are so consumed in the different facets that we forget the big picture. We tend to not even realize that our own hearts, desires, and mindsets have changed with time. It is in this moment that we remember our distant hopes, desires, and dreams. And in this moment that we realize they are more attainable now than ever. Nothing is set in stone and we are not dead yet. We are very much alive. When we least expect it life teaches us that what we want and what we need are two very different things. Are you courageous enough to take a chance to pursue what you need in life? Are you willing to change your course in life for the better path? The path that will lead you to everything you had dreamed of but began to lose hope of achieving. I ask you this, Do you know your self-worth? And what you truly have to offer? Trust your heart don’t forget who you are, your roots or where you came from. Do what makes you happy. What choices will you not regret in the years to come? Today the possibilities are endless but will you be courageous enough to take advantage of them? Or will you be too afraid?
Just something to contemplate that I have been dealing with throughout my life and all summer,