"Let your smile change the world; don't let the world change your smile." ~ unknown
This quote really touched my heart because of it's truth. When life happens, it can take the zest we are born with and dull it slightly. We're slower to take risks and put ourselves out there. I speak from experience. I've had my fair share of "well-intentioned" people telling me how I don't measure up or where I failed. Often now, I just head them off and make up the criticism in my own head before anyone even speaks a word. But, does that really keep me from the critic's bite? No. It simply keeps me it a little box, that I think is safe, but is actually limiting.
This all came up for me when I saw the photo of my niece hiding a sweet smile behind her hair. It spoke volumes about how I feel more times than I would like to admit. It's not always easy creating art and putting it out into the world. What many don't realize is that every photograph I put on my blog, website or social media has undergone rigorous scrutiny. But, I'm growing. I'm growing past the need for approval. I'm growing into accepting myself just as I am and feeling stronger because of it.
It's a strength of knowing that I want for my daughters and my nieces. It's not often I get my beautiful nieces in front of my camera. I was so happy recently to take a few moments to capture who they are right now...at 10 years old. They are both sweet and kind; smart and resourceful. Even though they were born on the same day and live in the same house, they are so very different. Their own unique expression that is beautiful to watch bloom and grow.
I love you sweet girls.
A photo in this post is part of my ongoing, collaborative, personal-project called Life in Loud, a project dedicated to being more of who you are and paying less attention to anything that distracts you from that purpose. To learn more about Life in Loud click the graphic below.