The Story of Passion // Blog Challenge: Day 2

Hello again, audience! Today I wanted to share with you my story. It's not just about me! It's about how each and every one of you can look inside yourself and understand just how to tap into your distinct purpose for the universe. It's about how you can turn a bad situation into a good one and let the negative things happening in your life guide you to where you're meant to be. And most importantly, it's about how you can live passionately and be happy doing what you love the most. This my be a long read but my goal isn't to bore you! My goal is to allow my words to serve a bigger purpose. This is for you, my reader. 

I grew up in a trailer park, had a select group of friends in the neighborhood that I adventured with, and went to the same small school my entire life. I was often called the weird one out of the bunch for my odd interests and my general amazement with the little things. Without a push or shove from any parent or anyone for that matter, I began singing at the age of 3, drawing and making short story books by 5, painting at 10, taking photos with my first camera at 13, acting at 17, and anything else I could get my hands on throughout my childhood and most recently makeup at 21.

As far back as I can remember, my household was a broken one. My mother and father were always screaming at either me or each other. I wasn't a naughty kid. I was pretty quiet and to myself; always wanted to be inside doing something creative. My parents split while I was the age of 13 and lots of bad things continued happening throughout my teenage years. I suffered from depression as early as 11 years old and things only worsened when there was tension from my parents' divorce. Depression is not only a mental illness but a physical one as well. Very very difficult emotions and ideas literally weigh you down and keep you from being productive or a part of society. For me, depression was a daily struggle. It made me get into tired, lazy habits. I didn't want to move, go outside, see my friends, or do anything I didn't absolutely have to. Emotionally, I was contemplating suicide often. This was a very hard time in my life but I managed to eventually graduate high school (barely) at 18 and start my photography business at 17. Even through these instances where I was having very low lows, I continued trying to learn and create. It was kept me going. Using my hands, expressing myself, being different, adding my own little piece to the world: it all meant something to me.



At that point, I didn't have goals. I didn't know where I was going to end up. I just knew that I loved to create. I loved photographing the beauty of people and everything around me. I loved to document things as I saw it. Depression also tore a hole in my memory and now the movie reel of my childhood and conversations I've had, people I've met, etc are almost all gone. Photography has presented me the opportunity to hold on to everything I choose to. I've gained much more than the ability to present a pretty portrait. I can cut out reality and give it to you in your hands as it is in this very moment. Moments that we take for granted, places we see, people we meet... It's all there waiting to be a part of forever. It doesn't have to die. Even after we do, we can still live.

It was only recently I discovered why I am the way I am and what has made me the person I am today. I am a giving person. I give until I can't give any more, and even then, I'll find a way to give. It's because I try to avoid conflict at all costs and I try to please everyone around me. It's actually a self-destructive trait, in my case anyway. I could go into detail about that but I'll save it for now. If someone tells me that I can only choose one thing to be passionate about, I wouldn't know how to answer. My gifts are abundant and my love and desire to give to others is unlimited. Every single thing that I do: how I write, draw, photograph, love, communicate, eat, drive, etc.; I pour all of my heart into it, as passionate as passion can be. I cannot settle for mediocre. My art and who I am is a standard I've set for myself and that's how people recognize me. I'm very proud to be who've I've made myself to be. If I had allowed myself to believe that I was unworthy of living or if I continued to live life in my room, laying in bed, day in and day out without forcing myself to get up despite having no energy to do anything, I can't imagine where I'd be. I would't have created. I wouldn't know the people I do or have seen the places I've seen. The past four years have had their ups and downs, but I've done more than ever thought I would. 

To this very day, I have bouts of depression that plague me. Even if you, reader, do not suffer from this but just feel unmotivated and don't know where to go with your life, let me be the one to tell you that YES, you are able to do what you've been dreaming of. YES, you are more than worthy of being your best self and being successful. What has helped me get through these negative emotions and propel me dramatically forward are these meditations:

1. Discover yourself.

If you're not taking time to learn just who you are and what your strengths and weaknesses are, then there's nothing to work off of. Really dive into what sets you apart, what do you offer the world. What is is that truly makes you happy? For some people it takes years to figure this out but don't be discouraged. It's all a part of some bigger picture. Sometimes we have to have the wrong jobs to find the good one. And other times we have to have negative trials to help us even see the good. It's all meant to be. Just do what you feel is right and will help you move forward and grow. Exercise being yourself without sacrifice and make it a priority. See the world, meet new people. It's all there to help you find yourself.

2. Set goals; big and small.

I struggled with this for a long time and didn't even know where to begin. The people who don't have outlandish dreams won't ever get to them. When Steve Jobs started Apple he had three goals in mind. He wanted to change how the world communicated, make photography accessible and easy, and all music available at our fingertips. He achieved all three. Although it was a vague goal, it was a large task. No dream is too big. We have to have something that we are guiding towards. My philosophy for my life goals is this: If what you're doing right now in this very moment is not helping you move towards where you want to be, then you're doing the wrong thing. What I mean is fairly clear: If everything you say is negative, and what you do is not helping you climb some metaphorical ladder towards your destination, then you should reconsider what you're doing. It also matters how you do things. When I had a job, I made sure all of the management and all of my co-workers understood that I wasn't lazy and I was a force to be reckoned with. I worked twice as hard as any one person there. That's what gave me the opportunity to move up in my job. I never stood idle and I never gave anyone a chance to see me not working my hardest. That's how I feel about everything, though. Be the best you NOW. Start making decisions that are positive and mean something to you in the long-run.

3. Stay positive.

This is so important and I recently discovered that this has a direct affect on your success. When you surround yourself with negative people, emotions, environments, you will most certainly be stuck in a dark place. When you are around other creative minds and positive people, keep a good attitude and make the best out of any situation, and just put yourself in a serene and pleasant atmosphere, then you are setting yourself up for success. All you can do is try, though and everything else will fall into place. I know there are different circumstances for everyone. Keeping an open and positive mind is a step in the right direction, though. When you start with that, you'll be more able and motivated to do the things you have to do to kickstart your affection for life and do the things you love with passion.

I can personally give you a testimonial of how once I began letting in the light, focusing on my goals, surrounding myself with positive forces, my business has taken off. I am in love with this business I've created for myself and it all happened because of hard work, setting a standard, and having solid goals.

We all have to come to an understanding that there's no "right way to live" and there isn't a magic formula that will guarantee us success. We owe it to ourselves, though, a journey to help us grow, connect with others, and become our best selves. 

Thank you for reading, dear viewer!



This post is inspired by the Alex Beadon Feel Good Blogging Challenge. Click the link to be a part of the challenge too! 

All images are protected by copyright law and may not be re-used or re-distributed without exclusive written permission from Kayla Joy Photography.

Kayla Joy Smith

Kayla Joy Photography, 218 East Main Street, Norman, OK, United States