Past experiences that have shaped me into who I am | Becoming a mom at 19 | Cedar City, UT Photograp

Hello friends! There has been something that I have wanted to talk about for the longest time, but never really knew how to put into words.

Studio, Southern Utah Photographer, Cedar City, Iron County, Commercial Photographer, Lifestyle, Product, Business

I lived my life for other's for so long that I got lost so deep in the forest it has taken me years to find my way out. I've been working on myself mentally the last few years, and it dredged up old memories that are a part of my story and I have now realized these experiences shaped me into who I am.

I feel that these experiences are an opportunity for growth and we can either take them + learn to rise above it or we let it consume us and the cycle continues. Let's just say my childhood wasn't all sunshine and skittles, but the mental strength it taught me to persevere in life is what got me where I am today.

Becoming a mom a lot sooner than I had planned left me feeling as though my life had ended. The thoughts and beliefs I had about myself and the situation I had found myself in at that time I have now realized came from things that I learned growing up. Today they no longer serve me well while trying to live my best life.

I was listening to a Podcast the other day called Woke with Weslie and she had a Photographer that I absolutely admire on to talk body image. As she was talking she brought of the fact of beliefs that we are taught in the LDS community growing up.

I'm not one to talk a lot about religion, but this episode really resonated with me as well as another one she did when she talked about deep diving into our beliefs. In this one she discussed looking at our beliefs and deciding if they are truly ours or if we accepted them because it is what we had been taught as being the "right thing" growing up.

It's like riding in the passenger seat of the car through your life. If you don't take the time to really evaluate who you are and what YOU believe, you continue sleeping in the car someone else is driving. This is not only true for religious beliefs, but also in the clothing we choose to wear, how we do our hair, etc...

Holding the beliefs that I did, when I found out I was pregnant, I was devastated. I was the "Little Molly Mormon Girl" to a tee! I mean, I had my temple marriage planned, how many kids I wanted and yada yada. This is the Utah stereotype right?

Although my parents weren't super active in the church, I chose to go. I mainly loved Young Women's because we hung out with friends and played games. I was there for the social life. That being said, we were also taught what our end goal should be as far as marriage and that we would be happy only if it happened in the temple.

Nope, I don't think temple marriages are bad and I don't think planning life out is bad either, but I have now come to realize that I didn't want those things because of me, I wanted them because I thought that is what I was supposed to do to live my happily ever after.

I held onto beliefs that were taught by someone else, internalized them, and when I strayed, I punished myself for it for a long time. Our bishop at the time told us that we had committed a sin next to murder and I'm here to tell you that simply isn't true, but that changed my relationship about the way I felt about long-held beliefs taught to me growing up.

If you become one of "those teen pregnancy statistics" or life doesn't roll out how you pictured it in your head, it's OK! I promise as long as you are willing to put in the work it takes to make your life great without worrying about others, it will happen much faster than it did for me.

I held so many ill feelings about "how my life was ruined" that it took me a long time to get over it. Sheesh, did I make one B of a wife during the first few years of our marriage and it was rough.

Our wedding day was not what I had dreamed and in my head I felt as though everyone was placing bets on how long we'd last. Don't worry, we plan to fly somewhere fun and renew our vows in the next few years ;)

Anyways, the hubs wanted to hunt constantly and here I was with a new baby just a few short months after marriage feeling all alone. Oh, and let's not forget Postpartum Depression was in full force.

The one piece of advice I held onto for dear life was what I had learned in school.... "most marriages fail at the seven year mark."

After hearing this, I had it in my head that if we could just make it that far, life would be good. Really?! What was I thinking?! That magically the day that marked seven years of marriage would magically change us and our marriage? Whoa!!

Our life got better before that, but sheesh, had I just pulled my head out of my a@# sooner or got some counseling, we could have avoided a lot of pain.

So if you end up here, don't wait. Get the help and live the life you deserve because you are worth it and your past does not define you.