Snapshots of our Week | Getting Real

I had been kind of bracing myself for a week like last week since school began. I know I have mentioned this before, but over the past two years I have been dealing with some pretty intense anxiety. It’s something I am working on, and some days are better than others. I am definitely affected by the change in seasons and the change in light (especially the lack thereof). I feel shut-in a lot in the colder months… claustrophobic, and that contributes to my uneasiness.

Anyway, last week started out great - I went into the city on Monday and parted with all of my Nikon gear. I thought I would feel more bittersweet about letting go of this system I have been photographing with for the past ten years, but really I just felt relief with getting rid of all this gear that had just been sitting here taking up space since I switched to Sony. After dropping everything off at B&H, I walked down to the West Village via the High Line and had lunch at Tea and Sympathy (my favorite, favorite restaurant anywhere. You must check it out if you are ever in NYC… if you like British food, that is!).

I got home in time to pick Logan up from school… I brought him home and after meeting Lila at the bus stop, Logan promptly spiked a fever and fell asleep. Cue my anxiety. Eric came home and I took Lila to dance class. Logan slept straight through until the next morning.

I don’t know what it is, but when my kids get sick, I am beside myself with anxiety. It doesn’t matter how minor the ailment is. In my head I know it is no big deal, but my body tells me different. I can’t sit still, I can’t eat. It’s awful.

The next day Logan’s fever was gone. He stayed home from school, but really seemed fine. He went back to dance and Spanish class on Wednesday.

On Friday something else sent me off into a fit of anxiety that lasted about seven hours. It was awful. Eric and I went to the potluck dinner at the nursery school that night (after much convincing) and that distracted me enough to ease the anxiety by the time we got home.

The weekend was pretty low-key. We had a big storm on Saturday and were just generally pretty lazy on Sunday. I did pick up our CSA share and made some soup. I took the kids to the bookstore yesterday to pick out a couple of new books.

So that was the week. It was just kind of yucky. Nothing major, just the underlying anxiety that I always have happened to rear it’s head a bit more. Do any of you deal with this? I have been working so hard to get it under control - meditation, mindfulness, journaling, vitamins, sleep, oils, yoga, therapy. Nothing is clicking yet. Hopefully at some point something will.

Anyway, why I am writing all this in a post on a photography website?

I’ve been thinking long and hard about my photography work, and my blog (which has actually been around WAY longer than the photography). I’d like to figure out a way to make them more cohesive in this space. I don’t want them to exist separately, because they both make up who I am. I know blog posts these days, especially on business sites, have morphed into more of the Pinterest-friendly “tips and tricks”-type of posts, and I have definitely tried to write that way - using appropriate keywords for Google and all that, but it feels inauthentic… and the whole mission of this site and my work is that authenticity is king. That you are enough. I am enough. So, I think I am just going to keep on going like this - letting you get to know the real me, and hopefully we can forge some connection in that?

When I am anxious, I don’t feel like picking up my camera. But I usually force myself to - to take at least one frame, because looking back on the images is what makes me feel better the next time I feel anxious. I looks at the photos and tell myself - look you made it through, and it wasn’t that bad. You can do it again. So that’s what these photos below are for. They are nothing special, but they are proof. That I made it, and that I can again.

Here’s to being real, guys.

Francesca Russell is a documentary-style family photographer and filmmaker located in Garden City South, NY. If you'd like to see more of her recent documentary family photography, head over to her Facebook page or follow her everyday adventures on Instagram. If you are looking for a family photographer or lifestyle videographer on Long Island or in the New York City area to document your family, small business or event, please contact her for more information.