I am thrilled to be participating in a blog circle entitled Songs of Life with a group of talented photographers whom I am happy to consider friends. For this series, we use a song each month as inspiration to capture everyday moments in our own lives. We will be taking a lifestyle approach to our photography, as we document our own families living our own lives. Lifestyle photography attempts to capture real moments, taking more of a documentary approach rather than posed portraits. I enjoy incorporating lifestyle photography within my client sessions, and I am so excited to participate in this monthly project that focuses on my own family.
This month’s inspiration was the song “Brave” by Sara Bareilles. If you would like to listen to this wonderful song as you read through the blog circle, click here.
This song has special meaning for me with my girl. Over one year ago, my daughter had to have a heart procedure to attempt to close a small hole in her heart that she had had since birth. Thanks to the marvels of science, this procedure did not involve open heart surgery. Rather, a smaller outpatient surgery, where they were able to insert a small coil in through her leg and up through the blood stream and into her heart. Because my daughter has a general anxiety disorder, she worries and frets over things much more than the average kid. Even small things can be massive for her, and when she has an anxiety attack, it becomes very difficult for her to calm down. So, we put off telling her about this procedure for as long as we could. However, in the weeks leading up to it, we did have to tell her. She was pretty scared and nervous, and the song “Brave” became our mantra that summer as we prepared for her surgery. She did not think that she was very brave because she was so scared. But I would tell her over and over again that you can be scared and still be brave. The brave part comes in when you do what you are scared of even though you are scared. When “Brave” would come on the radio, I would turn up the volume, and we would sing it together in the car (loudly). So, this song still makes me think of my brave girl whenever I hear it.
It’s been over a year since her heart procedure. There is still a small leak in her heart, but she’s doing great and it is not affecting her. With the issues that she faces with her anxiety, however, I still find meaning in the song “Brave” for my girl. With her anxiety, she also is a bit of a perfectionist. She is bold and outgoing, although cautious, and many people are surprised to discover that she has any anxiety issues at all. They tend to occur most often when Bella is trying something new where she doesn’t have the confidence within herself that she can succeed. Or that if she tries, she will fail or it will not be perfect. In these instances, she tends to completely shut down, refusing to try, and often becoming hysterical to the point that it can take an hour for her to calm down. Whenever I see her trying new things, being brave, and finding her strength from within, my heart fills with so much love and pride. With her being as outgoing as she is, she loves keeping busy with activities. Our days are spent going from school to gymnastics or dance classes. She loves her activities, but sometimes they can be a source of anxiety (particularly with gymnastics, where she has to be up on the tall beam or trying to master bridge kick overs). She is brave though, and she talks herself through her fears. She climbs up on the tallest beam and walks across it. She flips over on the bar, even if it sometimes scares her. And I am especially proud of my brave girl for continuing to find ways to cope with her anxiety and not allow it to stop her from walking across that beam. It may be difficult at times for her to build up the courage to try new things – at gymnastics, at school, or anywhere. But when she does, and she succeeds when she previously thought that she couldn’t, her proud smile beaming across her face is everything to me.
I wanna see you be brave.
Everybody’s been there
Everybody’s been stared down by the enemy
Fallen for the fear
And done some disappearing,
Bow down to the mighty.
Just stop holding your tongue.
Maybe there’s a way out of the cage where you live
Maybe one of these days you can let the light in
Show me how big your brave is.
Please continue on in our blog circle to see Kelly Gifford’s interpretation of “Brave.”