It's 2020. It's 20-mutha'fuckin'-20.
The shiny hasn't worn off yet, has it? Are you embracing all the new? Are you taking risks? Did you spend the last days of 2019 telling yourself that "everything will be different in the new decade"?
It's now the Roaring 20's y'all. And we are HERE. We are present, we are living in the moment, and we are kicking ass and taking names, amiright?
Only, I almost gave up new. And I almost quit taking risks. And I most definitely stopped kicking ass and taking names in 2019. My overall themes of 2019 were overwhelmed and complacent. I spent the bulk of the year in either one or both of those states, depending on the day really.
My day to day life changed mid year, just as I was trying to get back in to the swing of things after a hard winter and wrapping my hands back around this little baby of mine - The Awakenings Project - after my social media team moved to new opportunities (that were incredibly amazing, so no saltiness at all there).
I started hearing rumblings in the spring about my day job shifting, and how it might impact me. Originally, my stubborn bull-like Taurus nature refused to accept, or even acknowledge really, that anything could possibly change in my role. By summer, it was official. My boss was no longer boss. Some of my staff were no longer my staff. My focus had to shift from what I had been doing for over 8 years. My new boss is across the state, and I have to visit from time to time. I had new goals, new company expectations, and had to sit in an office where no one else was working on the same thing. I became a team of one.
Now, I'm a Taurus. I'm stubborn and extremely bull headed. That stereotype is pretty true with me. I dug in my heels and essentially refused to budge on anything. I could focus on different aspects of an industry I loved so much (health care). I had the freedom to try different things. I didn't have to work in an office every day. I refused all that initially. I wasn't changing SHIT, and no one could make me. In truth, I was overwhelmed by many changes in a short amount of time.
You can guess how long that lasted. These changes started for me at the end of May. By October, I finally gave in. Yes, it took nearly FIVE MONTHS for me to get my head out of my ass and accept that really my professional future was in my own hands if I could just get out of my way and stop being so stubborn. Perks: my boss is across the state, and is incredibility supportive and encourages me to take risks. I can work remotely. I am taking professional risks and finding success I never imagined. I could have had this months ago but: Taurus.
During this shift, as I was digging in my heels, I had accepted a role with a non-profit to assist in building out a Young Professional Board. I was originally the de facto president because I was really the last one standing. Originally, I enjoyed being part of something that could be built with intention, but then my mentor left the organization. And then the director became very *involved*. And the rest of the team weren't engaged to the level that progress was being made quickly enough for the director. And around November, reality really hit me. I was NOT YOUNG. The rest of the board was under 40. Hell, half of them were under 30! The mentality was just different. Not bad. Just DIFFERENT. In looking at the direction that I wanted to go in versus the direction the non-profit wanted to go in and what the team was capable of....it was time to walk away and give the power to the young capable professionals I had spent the last year with. I resigned. And my GAWD, it felt fucking amazing. The lessons I had learned during my time with this project swarmed back into my head, and taking my autonomy back in this regard was one of the most powerful feelings I'd had in quite some time. I rolled into December 2019 with resolve.
Coming into December brought me some much needed perspective. 2019 WORE MY ASS OUT. Changes upon changes and expectations upon expectations. And because I'm stubborn AS FUCK, I fought all of it tooth and nail. Coming into December by taking back my autonomy and exploring all the facets of my changed professional career was incredible. I began stepping back into the world again. I will say that I am incredibly blessed to be loved and supported by so many understanding souls as I sorted my shit out. I started to get the questions about this project of mine. Where was it going? We had transitioned a moment of self actualization into a movement that was intersecting with other movements and had taken on a life of its own. It had become less about life with a camera and more about the vibes and lessons that we are all sharing with each other. We had journeyed beyond moments of transformation and jumped into the waters of constant movement and traction of inspiration and personal ownership of self.
It was time to rename this project. And it was time to jump out of the box I had placed myself in really. Awakened.AF was born into the world. I spent much of December really just writing, resting, and brain storming. I went quiet online as I stepped back from the day to day and explored the past years and the lessons that came out of a single photo-turned-movement. We are a community. No matter where we are physically located, we have become a community.
And in community, we must love and support each other.
Awakened.AF will still have actualization photos at the core of it. It is an experience and a sacred moment to bring forth all that you are and own it. How those photos happen will shift, for sure. There may be more photos done outdoors, or events focused on one word. And above all, the photos will remain donation based. No one will be turned away.
However, as we move into this new era of community, we can now ensure we are all seen, and heard.
- Topics will be posted that are meant to cause conversation, introspection, and the opportunity to learn from each other.
- A portion of the website (now renamed) will be dedicated to other artists and showcasing THEIR work - whether visual or written. This will be the Awakened.AF Community Artists. (Creatives/Artists/Authors - contact me so I can arrange getting your work posted to the website - there will be some information needed from you so people know how to reach you as well)
- There will be *limited* merchandise (web hosting ain't free after all) and will rotate frequently.
- A book club thread will go up in February - the first book being Pleasure Activism - and discussion around that.
- Workshops and coffee/convo - both online and in person - will begin in March. I'd like to highlight those in our community with something to say or ideas that would like to discuss with other people.
- I invite anyone following this to contribute articles, images, art, and topics for discussion. You can tag the page in a post you see elsewhere, you can email something to me (firstname.lastname@example.org), you can inbox the page directly, or even share to the page. In other words - a good piece of what you'll see, you are now in control of.
Awakened.AF is all of us. WE turned a moment into a movement. And WE will keep fucking going and doing what we do best - which is love and support our community.
We got this y'all.
P.S. Fuck is still my favorite word.