I’ve had a hard time starting this because I know once I start telling you about how incredible Christy Tyler is, I won’t be able to stop. She’s one of the most dedicated, passionate people I know and works tirelessly to not only make her dreams a reality, but to live the life she truly wants. I owe so much of my business and life to her…she has helped me in ways she will never know and continues to inspire me every single day. She’s the kind of friend you know you’re lucky to have…the kind that is there for you whenever you need it…however you need it. The kind of friend that lets you be completely, 100% yourself and loves you more because of it. She’s an amazing wife…and has such a refreshing perspective on marriage. And while she may not be a mother yet…in my opinion she is already one of the best.
But I think what I love most about Christy is how authentic she is. Both in life and online. Being around her is no different than reading her blog. Spending time with her is like a breath of fresh air because in this crazy world of masks and facades…she is 100% Christy. And one hell of a woman at that.
When Lauren asked me to write a post for her “real” #wcw series that she recently started, my first reaction was, “But everybody already knows the real me! I share my flaws and struggles with the world all the time!!” But then when I really started to think about it – I realized that while I do share a lot with the world, there is a lot I also keep close to the chest because some of it is downright embarrassing, and some of it feels so silly and shallow… (and lots of other reasons too I suppose). Some of these things listed below are things I haven’t even really let myself digest.
Anyway, enough postponing the inevitable. Here we go. Whew…
It took me 8 attempts to get a photo I was comfortable including in this post (partly because I’m apparently no good at self portraits and getting them in focus – see headless photo below – and partly because I didn’t like the way I looked without makeup).
This photo is how I look every day when I work from home. I’m lucky if I shower before 8pm. I wear workout clothes all day. I don’t put on an ounce of makeup, and I feel fancy if I remember to wash my face and brush my teeth in the morning.
This is the only photo of myself that I’ve probably ever posted online (other than Instagram where I can’t edit it like I wish I could) where:
1. I wasn’t wearing ANY makeup.
2. I didn’t smooth my skin by lowering the clarity in Lightroom.
3. I didn’t edit out blemishes (or that stupid skin tag under my eye that I am super self conscious about).
… and it makes me feel really uncomfortable and vulnerable.
I found gray hair within the last year and instead of totally freaking out, I immediately scheduled an appointment to dye my hair.
I have the world’s worst feet. I have more bunions and weird bone growths than anyone my age should (partly thanks to doing ballet on pointe, and partly thanks to not wearing the right size shoes most of my life), but I’m too afraid to go to the doctor to get them checked out.
I am one seriously crazy hypochondriac. (And not in a funny way – ask James.) Case in point: I was sick with an awful cough/mucus/asthma-type situation for almost two months last spring and upon reading about an actor who died of lung cancer and who had found out he had it thanks to similar symptoms I was having – I threw myself into a full on anxiety attack because I convinced myself I was actually dying of lung cancer.
Speaking of anxiety… Part of the reason James first started shooting with me was because I needed him to be there on wedding days to calm me and keep me feeling safe, in control, sane… whatever you want to call it. I could never have another second shooter. He actually is my rock. (I don’t think I’ve even ever told him this.)
I worry that I rely too much on James and that I used to be so much more independent and self-sufficient before I met him. I was all “girl power” and now I’m all… “Can you take care of all the car stuff and getting the oil changed? Can you drive EVERY WHERE when we’re together? Can you open this jar for me?” And while I love having him around to support me, sometimes I feel like such a cop-out needing him to do all these things. And on top of that I panic about what I would do if something ever happened to him. No, seriously. What would I do?
I can’t remember the last time I did laundry. (Thanks again, James!)
James and I are together nearly 24/7, which sometimes is just too much. Thank goodness he has a gym habit like no other so we can have a little space to ourselves now and then or we might occasionally try to kill each other.
Cooking for people is one of my favorite things to do in the world, and is one of the few times I feel truly calm and out of my head.
I’m a stacker. Our house accumulates more piles of things than any house should, all thanks to me.
I’m incredibly afraid of dying (see also: hypochondriac & anxiety), even though I know darn well, as James always likes to reminds me, “Nobody gets out alive, Christy.”
It’s really weird to be taking all these actual conscious, time consuming, and expensive steps to trying to be parents – when half the time I think, “Thank goodness we don’t have kids right now!” and I’m really afraid of how much our lives will change when we finally do have them.
I try not to think about how much I want to be a mom because if I let myself really think about it my chest aches so badly I feel like my heart might actually be breaking. I know that sounds dramatic, but it really is the weirdest gut wrenching feeling to ache for something like that. Like I can only imagine what that must feel like to be pregnant and growing an actual little person inside of you – bones and eyes forming, and a little heart beating? It is so crazy to think about!! That is some kind of miracle, friends… and if I don’t stop now, I’m going to burst into tears.
I’m SO afraid we will finally get pregnant, only to have it end in a miscarriage, or some equally tragic way. I sometimes bargain with God that I’d rather never get pregnant than to go through that kind of loss… The kinds of loss I’ve seen friends and family go through. I don’t think I could handle that after all of this.
I often feel really lonely in Chicago. The only friends I have here are because of my photography business, and it is a weird feeling – to not just have a core group of girls you connected with because of who you were, and not because of what you did. (I had that here, but they all moved away!) I miss my high school and college girlfriends something fierce, but at the same time feel like a bad friend because I’m so often caught up in running my business that I don’t make enough time to actually visit and spend time with them.
Whew, this is getting heavy – so let’s lighten it up a bit. Yeah? Here are some things I never admit to that I’m actually proud of:
(I think) I’m a good dancer and I can seriously shake what my mama gave me.
I can do some pretty solid accents and impersonations (but not on the spot, so don’t ask).
I’m a total ham (have been my whole life) and I LOVE LOVE LOVE to make people laugh. It feels like winning the best prize when I make people crack up.
I think my niece and nephews are cuter than your niece and nephews. (I’m not biased. It’s a fact. Go ahead and ask any un-biased party. They’ll say mine are the cutest. haha… sorry this just made me laugh.)
I am really proud of my marriage. We have gone through a lot of crap and continue to come out stronger. I don’t think I was a very good wife when we first got married, but I’ve become much better. There’s still lots of room to improve, but I’m really proud of how much James and I have grown together, and am genuinely excited to wake up each day next to him. Marriage is humbling.
I get really really defensive and angry about race issues in our country, and honestly cannot believe the stupid things that come out of people’s mouths sometimes.
I’m totally obsessed with my dog, Chloe. I probably annoy most people, but I don’t care. She’s only going to be here on earth for a limited amount of time and I’m determined for her to feel 100% loved for every minute of it. Come to think of it, we never know when any one of us could go – and having dogs has taught me to try to make everyone in my life feel 100% loved while they are here too. I can’t always manage it. I’m human. I get mad over stupid stuff. I sometimes hold grudges. But I do my best to remember life is short and really don’t want to regret how I spent my time for any of it.
I genuinely like my body and try to take care of it (although I probably drink too much and too often). I struggled with eating disorders in college and am so happy that for quite a while now (at least the last 8 years or so?) I see my body for what it is – my one and only companion to get me through this life. To run with my dog with. To jump with. To cuddle with my husband with. To swim in the ocean with. To see the world with. To lug camera gear with. To (hopefully) carry a baby with. To hug my loved ones with. It’s a pretty amazing thing, after all, and I’m proud of all the things my body has helped me to do, see, feel… you name it.
I cry every day when I watch Ellen (because when people are nice to others it makes me cry – a lot).
I want people to be 100% unashamed to be themselves. I get really bothered by fake people, and even more bothered by the fake lives people create for themselves on social media where everything is “perfect” and perfectly styled all the time. I think the more of us that are honest, real, vulnerable, and wonderfully, humanly flawed, the less alone people will feel – and the better the world will be.