On Life & Stopping Weddings (for now)

I finished my last wedding of 2017 on August 5th, and will be taking a sizable sabbatical from weddings until further notice.

Don't worry - it's more of a "yay!" for me!  I am looking back at a finish line that, at the beginning of this year, I didn't even know was coming!  I am filled with so much gratitude, love, settledness, and peace on this side of things!  I am really so excited for all that is to come in life and in LULA.

    Photo courtesy of Ally & Bobby

    Photo courtesy of Ally & Bobby

    Those close with me know that this year has been a really tough one for me, and if you've been reading some of my posts from the last 6 months, you may have an idea of what's been up.  You can read the progression in these posts -

    Just to answer a few FAQ's from the get-go:

    • Will you be taking weddings in 2018 & beyond?  Are you done with weddings forever?   I don't know yet.  I know that I need a sizable amount of time to rest and then figure out what will be best for me and my family, so I am currently saying no to all wedding inquiries to allow that.  Thanks for your patience during this transition!  If you are getting married January-June of 2018 and want to secure your HAMU artist as soon as possible, I recommend reaching out to other artists first!

    • Does this mean LULA is closed/over/finished?   No, I'm still here!  I will still be taking HAMU clients for headshot sessions, branding photo shoots, commercial and corporate work, inspirational photoshoots/styled shoots, maternity sessions, day-in-the-life sessions, parties, nights on the town, etc. : )   I will also continue blogging on the LULA journal and sending out the LULETTE GAZETTE, and hopefully contributing to other publications regarding true beauty, self care, and some good old fashioned hair and makeup tips.

    • How did you come to make this decision?  Is everything ok?  Everything is ok, but I definitely didn't have this planned!  For the full story, skip to the lengthier portion below!

    • Who do you recommend for my wedding day hair and makeup while you are unavailable?  Thankfully our industry is growing and getting more amazing all the time.  Please see this post of a list of other local women I trust immensely!

    The Backstory:

    Photo courtesy of Nancy Ray Photography

    Photo courtesy of Nancy Ray Photography

    In January, like many of us, I made a plan of what all I wanted this year to hold.  By the end of February, all of those plans got stuck in a blender and life hit PUREE.  It took me several months to even understand what all I was experiencing, so it was especially hard to vocalize to others what was going on.  I was experiencing scary physical symptoms I didn't understand, was taking a new medicine to help our chances of getting pregnant (we've been trying for three years with the scary diagnosis "unexplained infertility"), was constantly meeting with clients, and endlessly planning with new brides about their weddings through 2017 and into 2018.  I thought I should just sleep more, relax more, work out more, eat better, cut caffeine, get out of town for a minute, say "no" more, get a mani, read another .pdf about how to run a small business/automate/get your ideal client, make better goals, or pray better.  

    I remember going to a girl's night, what was supposed to be chill fun, food, and girl talk, and full-out ugly-crying in front of everyone.  I couldn't control what was happening.  I couldn't stop shaking or feeling panicked - even simple things like waking up, watching a movie, talking face-to-face even to a friend, or reading a book would cause feelings of immense fear.  In the middle of bridal trials (where I was supposed to be putting brides-to-be at ease) I would feel like I was going to pass out, throw up, or be unable to do their makeup or hair because I was shaking so badly.  I had never experienced panic attacks or anxiety on this level before, so I didn't know what it was, and I didn't have a language for it.

    If that paragraph was tough for you to read, it was tough for me to write and relive! 

    There is an unspoken lie that small businesses, #influencers, and #brands aren't supposed to show you the real ugly personal stuff, because if we're really doing things right we aren't supposed to have real ugly personal stuff.  We show a "real" that is mostly endearing and tied up nicely with the hashtag #reallife - a mound of unfolded laundry, a blouse with spilt coffee on it - not a breakdown.  I felt like a fraud, like I had to push through so business could carry on as usual.  

    Well, when pushing through didn't work (no surprise there),  I had to have a lot of hard convos with God, with my husband, with Nichole my admin assistant, and figure out what should happen with me and with LULA.  We reached out to a pastor at our church, and he connected me with a trusted source to provide healing and deliverance counseling.  Since I was feeling unable to provide the quality of services I promised for brides on their wedding days, I let several of my booked clients out of their contract and had to pay back deposits for the first time. So, freakin, humbling (humiliating? embarrassing? yep.  All the girls were so understanding - I am so thankful!)  My only business goal from then on was to complete the rest of my weddings with as much strength, joy, and professionalism as I could, enjoy the new margin time to heal, and make it to August 6th.  

    With that decision came so much relief!  I immediately felt space to heal, space to hear myself, and space to sort through everything that was happening.  And this summer has been wonderful, with great wedding experiences, healing friendships, and lots of rest! (I wrote a separate post recapping what I've been up to this summer - check that out here!)

    I just want to say, the following is not normal.  Another lie is that even though it's not exactly healthy, it's normal for success.  

    Photo courtesy of Nancy Ray Photography

    Photo courtesy of Nancy Ray Photography

    • Living your life in a constant inner conversation of "go go go," or "what's next," or "how can I be/do better" - a Busier-means-I'm-Better mentality
    • Looking at your life activities in terms of blog post/social media/business content
    • Living for efficiency, or defining success by the amount of things you cross of your goal list
    • Regularly feeling tense, behind, out of date, like you've missed something direly important, or disappointed in yourself
    • Heart racing
    • Regularly feeling anxious or having trouble sleeping
    • Exhaustion, or not being able to rest during allotted rest times or vacations
    • Feeling like you must account for all of your time to your people/tribe/sphere of influence, if you don't, you will disappoint people or hurt your reputation

     

    I really want to be a voice in this powerful world of blog personalities, "influencers," and boss ladies - give your self permission.  You have permission to be a human.  You don't have to hide your ugly for fear of being an untrustworthy business.  Take care of yourself before you take care of your business and your tribe.  Use the list above loosely as red flags to look out for.  Just because there are common prescribed ways to own a small business and do really well at it (I mean just search that in Pinterest and get ready for a black hole of overwhelming information), doesn't mean you have to do it all just like that.  Make things work for you, where you are.

    I'd love to hear from you.  Please leave a comment or email me at sam (at) lulahairandmakeup (dot) com.

    I love you and am so thankful for you!  Thank you all for your continued support during this season.  Thank you for celebrating with me and for encouraging me along the way.  Really hoping I can do the same for all of you, too.

    With love, joy, thankfulness, and an open hand from me to you,

    Sam