Finding Joy

The Official Bethany J. Photography Blog with Bethany Joy Steele

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Learning to Own What Makes You- You!

Somewhere in the fast paced rollercoaster I call my life I began to define who I am by my struggles and accomplishments. What I did or didn’t do became an anchor for safety when change rolled through my life and I needed familiarity. I always had an answer for what I was doing. Usually the answer was building my business! Making something new! Notice I didn’t say I always knew what I was doing because I definitely didn’t. I started checking off the list of accomplishments that I believed defined my future.

  1. Go to art school for photography
  2. Find a day job to expand your skills
  3. Get Married
  4. Move into your first apartment

Each check gave me a sense of belonging and identity. A huge YES you are on the right track. That feeling was great but very temporary. Each time a new change came and I struggled to keep up, the worries got bigger. The anxiety creeped in and when life didn’t go as planned I felt further from who I had always seen myself as. I thought of myself as the artist! The hard worker! What was I supposed to do when I lost passion for that because balancing it all felt impossible? Who was I if I stopped?

When I got in to art school I realized competition was tough! I didn’t really fit in. (I mean I never really fit in anywhere) My first job was tough. I felt completely overwhelmed and frustrated in a path that I believed was for me ( It wasn’t) Planning a wedding was a whirlwind and being thrown into learning about rent and insurance made me feel like a little girl in her moms shoes playing adult. As a kid I thought the plans I made would be fun and adventurous but life felt overwhelming. I was ready to give up on my dreams of owning a successful business, having a home life with my family, and sharing my love for photography with others. I’m proud of what I did but I didn’t fully enjoy it. I was looking for the other shoe to drop. Holding my breath because I felt like I was the key to holding it all together and couldn’t rest or else it would fall  apart.

Eventually through a long series of events I learned that I was dealing with anxiety and adhd. My world flipped upside down. The intrusive thoughts and overwhelming feelings made sense. I suddenly looked at my life with a new lens. How much of my life was impacted by adhd? I could think of the projects I started and stopped. The people I struggled to keep up with. The exhaustion from trying to plan to be on time and constantly failing. Even my focus on accomplishments was because I struggled with staying focused and wanted to overcompensate. I wondered how much of the “me” I had defined was “symptoms” of adhd.

Some days I felt as if I would never be able to “escape” the symptoms. I might have had a meltdown or two. Was my entire life gonna be trying to win against a brain that had a mind of its own? Many of you can relate to those epiphanies you have about your childhood. It’s like taking the red pill and learning everything wasn’t how you perceived it. I think in the middle of this revelation I lost sight of the fact that not EVERYTHING about me is due to adhd or anxiety. In this journey to being healthy I have had to confront and work hard to start addressing how I have functioned for years. I’m sure I will be doing that every day. What I want to remind myself is that Bethany is more than a checklist of accomplishments and she is more than a checklist of symptoms. You are more than what you produce and more than what you experience.

I have come to a place where I’m learning the “me” a part from the hang ups. Some things about me are not from anxiety or adhd. Some things are just Bethany things. These are things that have always been a part of my life and will always be a part of my life. Like I have always liked technology. I used to take a part computers and learn programs like photoshop for fun! I’m a firm believer that a good app can solve all problems! I love nature-A walk on a sunny day is as good as a cup of coffee. If I can make anything at home just for fun I will, this has resulted in me DIYing quite a few things. Doing my hair is therapeutic even if my creations go a bit sideways sometimes. I like dry humor ( The Office) and cheesy shows like Chicago Fire 🔥. I love photography because the technical side is interesting and the people I get to meet are awesome. I love a deep conversation and love listening to someone who is passionate about what they are interested in. I am still learning about how anxiety may have impacted the way I made friends but I am deciding not to let the sum total of who I am be a diagnosis. I have no shame admitting that as a human being I deal with all kinds of problems but I am still me. It took a long time to learn about ways my brain functions and what effects that had on my life. I’m so happy to put a name to the experiences I’ve had and to also identify that many things about me are just “Bethany things.”

Why share this story? Because I want to encourage you to stop and breathe and just be. You have value because you are one of a kind. You don’t have intrinsic value because of what you do. You don’t lose value because of what you go through. While you are out there trying to catch your dream or build a legacy keep those things that make you, you in mind. You can’t pour from an empty cup knowing what refreshes and brings joy to you will keep you going when life brings all the new changes your way. This is for all my hustle culture entrepreneur bosses! Make some room for Joy!

What makes you YOU? With all of your perceived imperfections what is a you thing that is important to embrace?

 

Finding the Joy

Welcome to my blog. I talk about choosing joy, to me, that means believing God is good and there is hope in the face of difficulty. I also talk about my goals and challenges. I believe in perseverance, grit, dreaming big, and choosing to challenge yourself to be better than yesterday. 


What does it mean to be a part of the #JoyJourney?

 

It means to choose JOY in the good and bad!
It means we focus on our goals!
It means we challenge ourselves to do better!

 

Wanna share your story? Join the #joyjourney in my FB group here! We encourage each other to accomplish more and meet up once a month for a nature walk! 

 

Sign up for our latest nature walk here!

 

 

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