Seeking Community | HERE Magazine Launch | Toni Jay Photography
(Photo by Teresa Schmidt Photography)
Humans seek. It’s a natural part of who we are (or if you’re Kevin Malone, “it’s only human natural”). We seek for the meaning of life, people who understand us, partners who will accept our weaknesses, and all of the subcategories that can go along with each of those. A few years ago, I was seeking. Seeking to better myself, for ways to connect with people in the field I wanted to grow in, and hoping business card exchanges and in-person connections would do the trick, and I would suddenly be a mega force…or something…I don’t know. I went to a couple of events, and thoroughly disliked this person I was trying to become. I was not being genuine to the person I wanted to be, and definitely not to the person I was created to be. There are so many ‘rules’ and things you ‘have’ to do when owning a business, and frankly I just didn’t like how exhausted I felt being this person! I was overwhelmed, tired, and the list of ‘all of the things’ never ended. I had enough.
So…what did I do?I started TuesdaysTogether; a place where creative entrepreneurs could come together and share without fear and leave feeling lifted up, encouraged, and loved. I really felt like maybe there were people who needed what I was seeking, which, when you break it down to it’s core, was really people just living our lives in the midst of also being creative. Initially, I did not believe that I was ‘entrepreneurial enough’ to start a group FOR entrepreneurs. I was a full-time mom of an 8 month old, and a part-time photographer. The feeling of insignificance of leading a group was very present. But I care about people. I want people to feel loved, genuinely loved. I wanted to learn and hear from others, and hoped that others could learn anything from me, and I just decided that this was what I could offer. Healthy community isn’t about us, yet community has everything to do with us.
When you grasp who you were created to be, and you live out THAT version of yourself, you and everyone around you benefits. Tension leaves your shoulders because you’re no longer trying to carry the weight of the other person that you’re trying to hold onto. There is NOTHING wrong with bettering your circumstance or your life. Absolutely be around people who make you feel good about yourself, and people who can offer advice in furthering you into a better version of yourself! But also be the person who is unafraid to offer your own perspective, while at the same time being the person to listen to other’s perspective.
This photo is from a couple of days ago. Julia, editor and publisher of HERE Magazine, invited me to attended the launch party for this issue of the magazine. I met her when she first attended one of our meetings in 2017. As I was looking at this photo, I had a full circle moment; had I allowed my fears to take over, I would have never been able to be in such a beautiful photograph with this group.
There isn’t a face in this photo that I don’t love, and I don’t even know everyone here! But getting my groove on with Rinnie and Lindsey while singing to Shawn Mendes, and becoming way too comfortable with each other because of how Teresa made us stand (and picking on her about it a little bit), asking Julia about her shiny new baby, talking with Chris about all of his business ventures, just being able to SEE Melissa (I’ve missed you!), meeting the incredible photographer, Brad Wolf, chatting with Todd and Kelly, being able to see Amy in all her calm, psychotherapist glory, wishing I could have spent more time with her, and watching everyone have an awesome time together would not have happened for me had I believed the lie that I wasn’t capable. (Run-on sentence much?)
I don’t know everything. In fact, I FOR SURE know less than everyone else in this photo! But what I do know is that I can extend love. And time. And commitment. And you know what? That’s enough. Because people need those things. Just like I need the technical knowledge of James, Lindsey’s recipes and outfit inspiration, Rinnie’s endearing way of keeping things real, Julia’s kind smile, Steve’s songs, Kelly’s books, Brad’s beautiful way of photographing something, and just like my daughter needs Kenzie’s bows.
If we limit our community to only who we view is on our level of ‘enough,’ or the political and social views we have or seek, it becomes a tragedy on so many levels. We are so much more than those things. We are creative, brilliant, kind, fun-loving, imperfect people, and we are loved unconditionally.
Humans seek. We are all seeking. Sometimes we don’t know what we are seeking for, until we meet someone who possesses that quality. I encourage you to listen to other’s views, and offer your perspective with love. In return, you get to be around some pretty remarkable people like everyone in this photo! Had we only attended based on our view of ‘enough,’ political views, social platforms, etc., a photograph like this would never exist. And I love this photograph.