Joey Phoenix Media
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Salem, MA Portrait and Event Photographer

When Seeds Become Trees

 Photo by Billy Pops

Photo by Billy Pops

5 years ago and some change I was extremely unhappy and lonely, and stuck in the middle of a master's program that I hated. (I eventually finished that program, because I'm stubborn...)

But 2012 hit me like a supernova when I realized that I didn't have to follow any standard path. I decided that I would work for myself (thank you Kevin Danielsen for that chat which changed my future), seek out people who were full of life, and ultimately throw off the spindly cobwebs that were the whole of my yesterdays.

The seeds that were planted then are starting to turn into trees.

And the one thing that's stuck out to me the most is that while I've moved forward, I look to my right and my left now and see many others who are stepping forward too.

Those first small feeble steps I took back then became stronger with each footfall. And although initially I had to do it alone, I no longer feel that I have to.

So for the love of everything that is in you, if you look around you and the world is full of mold and soul-sucking grime...change something. 5 years ago I didn't have any sort of diagnosis which explained the physical/chemical reasons for why I felt the way I felt, even when things seemed to be going my way (I wouldn't have health insurance until 2015). I could only deal with the immediate external causes...but dealing with those - quitting a job that was harming me physically, moving out of an apartment where I hadn't felt welcome, no longer hanging out with people just because they were a warm body, etc. - led me to ask more questions:

1) What do I value most in life, what are my priorities?

2) What needs to change in how I see myself?

3) Why haven't I yet taken any of this into account?

And once I answered those questions, shined a light onto the dark places...some really awful things happened for a while. At one point in 2014, I became so entrenched by self-loathing and fear that I put the brakes on a healthy relationship because I was severely out of control. 

This was largely due to unchecked mental health struggles, proving that even the most advanced coping mechanisms and forward thinking cannot account for everything. Since 2015 I've been seeing a therapist, it makes my world a better place. 

I digress. 

I look around me now and know that for me, at the moment, everything is coming up roses. And I also know that if it weren't for some really difficult decisions and changes in the past, I would not be where I am. If it weren't for the people who grabbed my hand and kept me moving forward when I needed it...

I would not be where I am. 

I am humbled, I am grateful, I know that I need to pay attention. 

What I seed now is going to grow even bigger trees down the road. 

I like trees a great deal. 

© 2017 Joey Phoenix