I grew up in a nice little two story house in a pretty and sweet neighborhood in Glen Allen, Virginia. If you haven’t heard of that..it’s near Richmond. I LOVE that familiar feeling I get when I get back on Woodman Road and know where I’m going. I miss parts of it, but a lot of growing up went from good to hard and then sucky fast. My happy childhood turned ugly in the middle school and teenage years because of the rampant and disturbing alcoholism I had to endure in my own home. That sight every night was a nightmare. My poor best friend Wayne, the phone calls he got from me completely a wreck. The night I thought I was going to lose that parent to a drunken accident after seeing a horrible scary sight no child should EVER have to witness while still in high school, not to mention with a little brother who was still basically a baby at the time in the house.

I went to college with a feeling of NEW NEW NEW in my mind. New, FRESH start. I would fast forward and be a new person here with a newer and better story. I wouldn’t even talk about those issues because I wouldn’t be attractive at all with issues like that attached to my history. So, I would be new. BETTER.

It didn’t work, it back fired. The more I lied to myself and hid from others and never healed from what I had just witnessed for years at home, the worse I spiraled into a mess of drinking just like that parent, and drinking turned into binge drinking and that turned into the horrible night I mentioned in my terrifying but liberating blog post last January.

In my life…every time I have run at the fear of failing, I have failed WORSE. I have failed myself and I have spiraled because you know what? Running doesn’t solve anything. The first email I ever got on my new website when I was a BRAND new photographer ripped me a new one telling me about why I am really bad at what I do and how I shouldn’t be doing it.

Guess what I did after that? For the first time in my life?

I didn’t run. I took the bricks thrown at me and I built one damn strong foundation… and two babies, one on the way, one amazing business, moving to the Outer Banks and having incredible relationships with these beautiful brides later? I am succeeding. The entire course of my life would be different– and I’m not saying I wouldn’t have these things (the daughters, calling OBX home, etc) — but they wouldn’t be the same as they are now. I am not scared to fail because I know failing is part of the process. I am not running. I am not my alcoholic parent, I am a survivor and a fighter. I am not my past, I am not my mistakes.

Taylor Swift said during her concert I went to earlier this month that we are all human and make mistakes, we can’t condemn ourselves and we are not damaged goods. If you have a history with family that makes you feel alone sometimes, separated from your friends who have two amazing parents loving them and supporting them, if you are missing something that seems like common place for others…you have to know that who you are is enough. You are strong enough and you have support from other people who can be there for you just as well…if not better. Family is not always blood, this I truly believe in my heart…and Mike and I thank our lucky stars that we have one another and some amazing family in our lives. If someone has TOLD you you’re not enough (I clearly remember the drunken rants that compared me to my best friends and the colleges they got into, while I was “only” going to ODU) — find that one person or few that will be sure to remind you that you ARE enough.

Your past, your family and your past experiences don’t define you, and instead of running away– KNOW you are enough and start healing. Start to not fear failing as much but instead take it as a learning opportunity and BUY the camera, TAKE the leap and START the business you’re so scared to start. What if?! What if it goes nowhere? How will you EVER know if you don’t try now in this moment? Your business may look different, it may book 1-2 weddings and 10 sessions a year. Or, you could book 30 weddings a year. All I know is that if you are comfortable with who you are and know you are giving it your all, you have nothing to fear or stress. Life is what you make it my friends — the grass is always greener where you water it!


Posted by:amandahedgepeth

<p>Hey there! We’re a husband and wife team who has the honor to document inspiring wedding days for the most cheerful couples around. We have three daughters lovingly referred to as the mermaid mafia and we love nothing more than salty beach days, laughing as much as possible and living the simple, good life.</p>

8 replies on “Taking Leaps Because You’re Not Your Past | Salt + Sunshine Series

  1. I haven’t been long met you through my daughter Brandy St John but I think you are AMAZING. You are a loving caring person with a loving family! I can see why Brandy wanted you to do her wedding so bad, YOU ARE AN AMAZING PHOTOGRAPHER!Good luck to you and keep smiling! You have a beautiful smile!

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