the perfectly imperfect…
November 22, 2011
I don’t even know how I found her, maybe she found me or I saw her on twitter, but I instantly fell in love with her. Her work, her life, her writing, her graffiti…this is my kind of girl in every way. Erika Ray is one of those people you just wish was your neighbor, because you know you could sit at her kitchen table and spill your guts while we ignore children that are deep in lego play in only their super hero underwear.
I was so stoked when she agreed to guest post for me…thank you new friend. I am so grateful for the art of you and your perfectly imperfect life.
From Erika to you:
Comparison is evil. Isn’t it? We all do it. We all wish we didn’t. It’s sort of like the last drink at the end of a big party. You know it’s going to hurt in the morning, but you still tip it back. Comparison makes you feel like your life could be better if things were just different.
My house isn’t big enough. It’s in the wrong neighborhood. Our schools are awful. Why don’t my kids behave like her kids? Clearly she’s a better parent. Why can’t my youngest fall sleep at 7:30 p.m.? It must be because she’s better at discipline and I’m a push-over. Why can’t I make more money? How does she do all of that stuff when I can barely clean the spit-up off my shoulder? Shouldn’t our son be reading at this level? Their kid does. I need that camera and I’ll be as good as he is. Etc., Etc., Etc.,
As I’ve gotten older, I feel like I’ve learned something really valuable. Don’t do it. Comparison – not the last drink (haven’t learned that yet). When you play the comparison game, you lose. You’ll never even come close to winning. But life isn’t a competition. In my opinion, most of life’s goodness is about being happy with what sits in front of you. It is what it is. You have to find the goodness even when it’s crappy, or less than beautiful. Because aren’t most days pretty ordinary? And if you spend those days comparing your life to someone else’s, you miss out. Your life isn’t your neighbor’s, SIL’s, brother’s, friend’s, model’s, mother’s, or even that crazy blogger’s. If you fall into the comparison trap your head is stuck in a future that will probably never happen.
Photography has taught me to slow down and capture life’s ordinary moments. Appreciate what I have. Not all of it is pleasant. There are days I wish my kids didn’t tantrum. There are days I wish my dog didn’t eat grass and then throw it up. There are days I wish we lived in a better neighborhood. But for the most part, photography allows me to find the beauty in what has been given to me.
Golden light at the end of a crappy day.
The tears from my son because he desperately wanted show his independence.
The beautiful light that lives in my bathroom.
I try really hard to accurately showcase the beauty of my life. I try to write about life in a way that is completely honest and just hope someone can relate. And I refuse to only share the most pleasant moments of my life. That might lead people to falsely compare their lives to the version I decide to share. That isn’t fair. My kids don’t always say “Please”. My youngest jump-stomps when he’s really mad. And more often than I’d like to admit, I give in. My husband and I argue more than we should. But I believe we’re normal, happy, and completely loved by our family and friends. I hope that my photography inspires people to find the beauty that lies in their own walls. Because believe me, it’s there. You just have to stop comparing and put your current life on the pedestal it demands. It is what it is. You own life is badass. Find, show, and live in its beauty.
Erika Ray blogs about her perfectly imperfect life at Erika Ray Photography. You can find more photos of her bathroom light, shopping excursions, and more ordinary acts on her Facebook page. And follow her random, sometimes snarky tweets at @erikalray.