This blog post is a long time coming. I am not sure where to start or how to begin, most of this may even turn into rambling words – but they are my words. And they have been fighting to come out for some time. Understand that I whole heartedly want to be honest, both with my constant supporters and myself. Too often social media portrays perfect lives, but reality can be hard to face, and is therefore not often showcased. I hope someone can find hope in my story, in my words that are finally being written.When I was growing up I thought there was a way to the world – go to school, get a degree, find your soulmate, get “the job”, say “I do”, have some adorable babies and then live happily ever after. Well, apparently I watched too many Disney movies. After 5 years of working my tail off for a great degree, I still wasn’t married or running around blissfully with the perfect life. In fact I had sold myself short for the first job offer I received, cried over all my college friends moving away and wondered what I had done wrong. It seemed that Facebook’s sole purpose was to inform me how awesome everyone else’s life was, and how lost I was. After a spout of confidence I left that first job and took a healthcare consulting position based out of Duluth. I was working with some awesome classmates from college and found my job to be challenging and interesting. I started there in the fall of 2011. That year my family, as well as my boyfriend Drew’s family, had some beautiful babies arrive and no one had a good camera to capture them with. Being that I could finally afford to be off of a college lifestyle, I decided to invest in a nice camera. What started as a fun hobby quickly turned to something much more. During the weeks, I was traveling full time for work and on the weekends I was taking pictures of anyone that would smile for me. As my job became more stressful I started using photography more and more as a de-stresser. In the spring of 2012 my Grandma Peg, whose health had been teetering, got even worse. She had always been a huge part of my life and to see her suffer was complete torture for all of us. I spent as much time as I could with her and was so fortunate to be able to e-work on my computer by her side in the hospital. On a beautiful summer morning in August, she requested Sammy’s pizza and looked through family photos with me, soon after passing into heaven – surrounded by her family she loved so much. I can still feel everything about those last moments, and the eerie peacefulness that passed over the room as she took her last breath. I can’t explain how, but I knew in that moment, holding her hand, that it was ok. It was strangely beautiful. And I knew she was at peace. That fall was hard. I felt Grandma everywhere and found myself crying constantly. I ached for her to be here on earth, and struggled with the idea of letting her go. I didn’t understand why I was so tired, never wanting to get out of bed, constantly fighting with Drew. But he was right beside me, helping me & trying to understand my mood swings. He was fighting for me; for us. I was searching for something, anything really, that would help spark my old self. Photography at that point was my escape – the place I could go and not feel anything but positive energy. It was addicting & I loved it. In September I finally decided to officially start JaneCane Photography. As of September 1, 2012 I was a small business owner. As excited as I was, all I could think about was how grams wasn’t here to see me chasing my dream. I honestly had no idea what I was doing or why. I was just going through the motions. In January I went to the doctor – I was depressed, mad, angry. I didn’t feel like myself. Before I could even get home I got a call from the lab – I had hypothyroid disease. “Well that’s it!” I thought. I just would take some medicine and life would go back to normal. But it wasn’t. I didn’t want to see anyone. I still cried in my sleep. I wasn’t happy. I had a great job, awesome salary and a fantastic relationship. What was so wrong? That’s what I was supposed to strive for right? It took a few too many meltdowns for me to realize what the main problem was – I hated my job. Every week I was leaving Duluth on Monday morning and coming home Friday night. We worked 10-12 hour days and did not have support from our own company. We were working our faces off, and not feeling acknowledged at all. I told myself this was normal – this is what 90% of America does. Go to a job you don’t like, put food on the table, go to bed and then wake up to do it all over again. During this entire time, I was working a 50-60 hour work week and then trying to squeeze in photography as often as possible. I was editing until 2am and craving the creative outlet I had no real time for. My corporate job was, quite frankly, putting me into a cookie cutter box and I was being smothered. I was depressed. My personal relationships were suffering because of it and I was not myself. I could hear words come out of my mouth that I instantly regretted, and that sounded like a stranger. I was mad & frustrated, and taking it out on my loved ones. It was the most unhealthy I have ever felt. I gained weight, stopped answering my phone and shut down to everyone but my family. I stopped trusting in God and church was not even in the picture anymore. I had lost my faith. My spiritual, mental and physical health were in danger, and I had to do something about it. After our work contract was up this past April, our company could not find another job for us and we were put on mandatory PTO. Those few weeks were my god send. I slept in. I prayed. I went on walks by the lake. I apologized. I tried to recover from a lifestyle that had crushed me to nothing. I sat in the quiet and talked to grams, feeling her light all around me and wishing more than ever she was just a phone call away. She had a way with advice, with understanding, with loving. In the midst of all of this I had booked 11 weddings this summer and somehow filled up my calendar through August with sessions. I kept feeling the push to commit to photography, but it seemed so simple. So fun. That’s not what people do for work right? No 401K, no corporate insurance, not what I went to school for and have mounds of student loans to show in return. But you know what – the thought of not knowing seemed right. For me, money was not important anymore, filling my life with good things was. It is with a very full heart and happy soul that I announce my jump into full time photography. This means I am fully committing myself to my clients, my creative energy and my passion. The late nights, early mornings, long road trips and endless editing all add up to one thing: pure happiness. I have never felt more alive and inspired by what life has to offer – the beautiful gift we have all been given to be here on earth with each other. Money doesn’t make you happy. It may make things easier, but it is not going to fulfill your life with meaning. This is going to be hard. I know I may struggle, have bad days & wonder what on earth I was thinking – but I can finally be content knowing that I made the decision for myself. For those around me that saw me suffer, for my amazing support system that never gives up on me. Thank You. I could not be living my dreams without you. To my clients – you are absolutely wonderful. The best. I simply cannot wait to see what the upcoming years have in store for me, the beautiful stories I will get to capture and the amazing people I will meet. You have made this decision so worthwhile. All I ask for in the upcoming months is your positive thoughts, good energy and a little patience. I am sorting out being an owner, handling the business side and still being as creative as possible. It will take some time for me to iron out all the kinks. I wanted to share my story with you so that someone out there might get the confidence to live their dream too. It’s scary, but it is worth every frightening unplanned moment. The organized chaos I call life is finally making sense to me, and I couldn’t be happier. Happy Friday Lovelies, xoxo AJC
Thanks for the beautiful blog Amanda! You are stronger than you think and I am so proud of you and I send my love. Have a Fabulous Friday. 🙂
I love you. This was beautiful, and painfully honest. I will admit, it brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for sharing and I know you will do amazingly!
Love you and this post. Keep smiling and adventuring girl! There are so many beautiful moments in life and I am so SO proud of you!
So beautiful and inspirational, thank you for sharing! I posted it on my Facebook. I wish you all of the luck in the world. Keep chasing your dreams, because from the looks of it – you’re amazing and talented at it!
Finally. Getting a chance to check out your story….Very proud. Love, Mom
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