Photography by Kayte Demont
Hey Tribe, my name is Juliana and I am the former Mass Musings intern; and now the newest contributor! I am a local photographer here in the Denver area specializing in Events and Lifestyle portraiture and have recently been exploring a love for blogging. My full time job is working at Temple Nightclub as their house photographer. When it comes to blogging (and life in general) I want to keep things are real as possible. Although you will be seeing travel, fashion and maybe a few vegan recipe posts from me; I also want to use this opportunity to share my deeper thoughts and views on life. I figured for my first post I’d jump right in with some deep life shit so here we go!
Like most people, I spent the first part of my life trying to fit inside the box of what I felt like I was supposed to be. I exhausted myself trying to please everyone around me. I was always too something for someone, too loud, too heavy, too all over the place, too outspoken, too flirty. I spent too much time on art and not enough time studying, too much time working and not enough time to myself, I had too many interests and not enough drive. I didn’t want to be too anything for anyone, I wanted everyone to love me; I wanted to be perfect. Instead of doing things because I wanted to I was doing what I thought I was supposed to do. I wasn’t trying to lose weight because I wanted to feel good but because I wanted to fit in. I began pursuing a career in nursing not because it was my passion but because I knew it would make my dad happy; and he especially I wanted to be enough for because I never felt I met his expectations.
My life was constant anxiety I felt like the things I actually enjoyed were holding me back. This anxiety led me to gain weight instead of lose it, I alienated myself from the people around me because I constantly felt like I wasn’t enough. My anxiety got to the point that at the age of eighteen I was having several panic attacks a day and dreaded going to my classes. It did not help that I was in a toxic relationship at this time, but there was nothing in my life that I felt truly brought me joy. I spent so long just trying to keep my head over water, barely getting by that I didn’t even remember what joy felt like. I was drowning in the expectations placed on me, that I placed on myself. One day I decided if I didn’t want to drown I needed to get out of the water. It wasn’t one or two life things I needed to change, it was my entire life and way of thinking.
It started with leaving the toxic boyfriend, as most fiercely empowered women’s stories begin. That was just the spark, the fuel was the realization that I was never going to fit in that box. I could spend my whole life trying to please the people around me, or I could be unapologetically myself. A large step in this realization was that the beauty standards I held myself to didn’t change who I was as a person. That it didn’t matter if the bully from elementary school used to call me Gollum and told everyone not to be friends with me because I was the fat kid; Because let’s be honest, she is and always has been a bully to compensate for her own insecurities. I sat down one day and wrote down all the things that I liked about myself, about ME not the way that I look. I’m kind to the people around me, a caring friend, I make people laugh and try to be as genuine as I can. So who the fuck cares if I’m a lil chubby, and if you do you’re not the kind of person I want to be friends with in the first place. With this realization, the weight dropped. It wasn’t about losing weight to fit into a box anymore; it was about feeling good and living a long and healthy life. Now at a 145 pounds lost I can tell you people will always find something to judge you for, and that is a sign of their own insecurity not a judgment on you for you.
The second huge realization is that as much as I wanted to help people, being a nurse would tear me apart. I am way too empathetic of a person. I cry over even a mildly emotional commercial, how am I supposed to compartmentalize the pain of suffering of humans actually in front of me. I had always been reluctant to pursue what I knew was my passion all along, photography, because I knew my dad imagined more for me than to be an artist. The truth was though, I was an artist all along; I could embrace it or spend my whole life asking myself “what if.” And with this realization, my fire was fully ignited. I dropped out of school in Texas and applied to art school in Colorado, and got in! So I moved to a state by myself that I had only been to twice and didn’t know a single person. At the time my friends from home would describe me as shy and reserved, my shell had cracked but still encompassed me.
Four years later my fire has only grown. If you had told me I would be where I am today when I was eighteen I would laugh in your face. At my college graduation, my dad had a bigger smile on his face than any other parent in the entire room. My friends today would describe me as outgoing, loud and adventurous. There is nothing I am scared to do. I went from working towards a nursing career to the house photographer at the biggest nightclub in town, photographing big-name musicians and absolutely loving every second of my job. I have taken the outline of what I thought my life would be and colored completely outside of the lines. Nothing about my life now is traditional or expected. I went from fearing discomfort to throwing myself head first into every uncomfortable situation I can because I know there is nothing I can’t do if I put my mind to it. So my advice to you, fuck the box of society, fuck expectations. Do what makes you happy, be loud, have freaking fun, do what makes YOU happy.
Cause at the end of the day do you want to look back and say “what if?”