FEAR, IT'S A FUNNY THING || PERSONAL GROWTH STORIES || FACING ANXIETY|| PHOTOGRAPHER NICOLE LEE

“As you come to recognize the power of consciousness, that what is behind your eyes, so to speak, holds more power than what appears in front of them, your inner and outer perceptions change.” – Gary Zukav

This past year has had its fair share of ups and downs and in between, my health took to an all time low, and for some reason I decided to start caring what other people thought. I became frozen. Frozen in what to say, how to be myself, what to articulate, and WHAT am I bringing to my business? You get the idea. Obsessing about where the line is on sharing was the main focus. To share or not sharing on social media? Sharing too much of your personal life, may leave you feeling vulnerable and exposed. Or not sharing enough may lead to feeling like a phony only sharing the “highlight reel”. I found myself looking at what all these “influencers” were/ are doing and thinking well f*** I am never going to “catch up”. Do I even have anything to offer? Am I good enough? Do people care anyway?

 Processed with VSCO with j1 preset

Not great self talk eh? I had it all wrong.

When I came to the realization that I cared WAY too much and put so much energy into caring what other people thought, I felt mentally exhausted and anxious. I turned to my therapist for help, I told her what was going on, expressing I felt I may have some unresolved social anxiety that I need to face. It comes up at social events, and if I’m really being honest, I feel that way most times before posting on social media channels.

Her response “ she once felt the same way (minus the social media part) and someone informed her that getting caught up in what others think is self absorbed. “SHUT UP!” I thought. The last thing I want is to feed narcissism and be self-absorbed! I gave myself a good hard look into the mirror and said can we move on? Is putting energy into what other people think really worth your time? Is it honestly helping you move forward in life? HELL NO.

Moving forward was simple to do. Truth, it's going to come up again, when it does we have a choice. Fear goes away when you go look at it. The fear gets bigger when you push it aside. It was facing the fear that got me to the other side.

Looking back I can laugh at myself. I wasted so much time on things that only held me back from my own truth. Lesson learned. In fact most people may not have this as an issue. Maybe their fears lie somewhere else, starting that project, launching that business, getting out of the chair to have a good time, trying something new outside of your comfort zone. Whatever it is for you, once you become aware, awake, conscious you have a choice. Using the new tool to look at your fears, face them, figure out what’s up, or run and hide from them, push them down, or drop out. The only one in the way of you is yourself. So the choice is yours.

Cheers, X Nicole


HELPFUL LINKS + TIPS :

JUDGMENT DETOX

 SUPER SOUL SUNDAY, OPRAH

You cannot become compassionate with yourself without becoming compassionate with others, or with others, your world becomes compassionate. You draw to yourself other souls of like frequency, and with them you create, through your intentions and your actions and your interactions, a compassionate world.  –Gary Zukav


LETTING GO || PART 2 || FACING YOUR FEARS|| PHOTOGRAPHER NICOLE LEE



“Letting go”, it sounds easy right? I cling tightly to shields, put on armor; masks even, to protect myself, fearful to let too many people get close. Why would I do that? Well, it’s too scary to let people in.

For some odd 25 years I’ve been doing this, granted I’m only 29. I’ve lived a lot of lives, and seen a lot of things. This past weekend I had a session with my therapists and they said this, you have the survival gene, most people wouldn’t have survived what you went through as a child and young adult. The tools you used, the methods you fought with, worked and got you here. But now its time to choose to put the armor down, and stop taking everyone one out. The battle is over. Take a step back and look around where you are, you aren’t there anymore in the chaos, you are here present day in 2017. So I let that sink right in. Deep. That’s it? That’s how you let go? I think it is.                                                                                                                                                      

Over the past few weeks I’d been asking myself, how do I let go? I want to so desperately to really do it. Let go, be my best self, always. I mean that is what I am striving for. I was having a hard time connecting my brain to the actions. I was doing the actions, but my brain couldn’t make sense of it all. See, I want to have the weight lifted off my shoulders, and breathe easy. I want to stop waiting for the floor to sink out from under me. Hearing my therapist say what they did in the session, I had a light bulb moment. It’s this time where I aloud myself permission to finally surrender the flag, and start living life. In that moment, right there.

Now what? Is it as easy as saying yes I get it and erasing everything that happened in the 25 years of my life? Maybe…. See, once you know the core of your crap, where it came from, what it is, what tools you use (good or bad). You can finally start saying (to yourself) stop it. I don’t need to use that tool, it isn’t necessary, and I’m safe. What I’m talking about is, those moments where you find yourself in an anxiety-ridden tizzy, instead of running in circles around it, you face it, check it out, and you explore it. When you face it, you will know what to do with it. Sounds “kooky”, but it works.

The way I look at it is this, I have two choices, I can use the armor to fend off the Calvary, take the sward and finish them all off. – Or I can retrain myself, learn new tools, stop, and be the person who I already know how to be, kind, loving, caring. Option one works, but will be the harder road. With option two, although it seems scary as hell to put down the armor, it feels freeing to let the walls down and walk a new unknown path.

Thanks for listening friends, below are some IPHONE Self Portraits I took, and editing on my phone using the vscocam app. 

Cheers,  - Nicole 




MOLD YOU WILL NOT BE THE DEATH OF ME || ARIZONA LIFESTYLE PHOTOGRAPHER NICOLE LEE || PERSONAL POST



Dear Friends, 

My apologies for my slight disappearance these last few months friends. I have found myself (and family) knee deep in black mold. First we found it in our bedroom bathroom, behind the toilet and inside the wall. So Ryan then removed it. Then we suspected it in the kitchen, so he demoed that too. Which he found more mold in the walls of the cabinets and sink. The island and storage next to the fridge is what is currently intact.

While this was being taken care of my very kind Aunt and Uncle let us stay with them. Since I am highly allergic, it’s not smart for me to be in the environment when removal is happening. In fact we ended up finding it because I had become a cesspool of sickness for months, and even though hidden behind walls I was still reacting from it. Finally once the mold was removed and air was clean again (about a week) we went back home.

A few days after returning home, we had some heavy rains here. I was doing some work on my computer and heard some noises. I investigated finding a leak in the dinning room ceiling. I noticed a water bubble in the wall and I just started nervously laughing, someone is “punking me”. Where is ASHTON? I know he will pop up here soon….

So we called the insurance again, it took about a week for them to come out. The adjuster came and inspected the leak. He Chatted with Ryan about how there is nothing he or the insurance could do; unfortunately this was just normal home wear and tear. But he suggested, because of the leak you should pull out the drywall and make sure there is no mold growth under there. That evening, I took the kids to dinner and Ryan ripped out the wall.

Guess what? We found the source… a large I mean, large amount of black mold right there in the ceiling. That night we stayed in a hotel. Now we needed to sort out how to make sure it was gone for good! This owning a home is serious business folks.




Plan of action (to defeat MOLD!):  

-Make sure we get the mold out, Clean (spray down with mold control, the area, and check the rest of the house for hidden spots)

-Get it dry, Tarp it off, put dehumidifier in the space, Keep the air cool

-Figure out how to function in house without kitchen

-Sort out health, do more research, breathe, breathe again

-Make sure to listen to my therapist; she said looks like another opportunity to practice being “easy going” listen to this advice

-Stay Calm

-Call contractors

-Call roofing companies

-Call tree removal services

- Breathe again

-Plan a home remodel

-Be excited about new kitchen, bedroom bathroom, dinning room, painting the house, (cutting down a tree that is causing your house to fall apart)

-Don’t feel guilty about cutting down a tree that is making your house fall apart

-Embrace Change

- Act like you are camping

- Cook outside, Cook food on induction burners, use crockpot, and get creative

- Wash dishes in the bathroom (no judgments please!)

- Get kids to pitch in

- Use survival instincts

- Push through until its finished

- Be easy going with the timeline of projects (contractors are busy)

- Remember this can be fun!

-Embrace the uncertainty

In some odd way I am glad we found it. Even though my house is currently a construction zone, and it’s not nearly “perfect”. I can actually say I’m okay with it.

 Life didn’t give me lemons, but I’d say more like some blank canvas to start creating on. This is an opportunity instead of loss. It’s just a house, its just “stuff”.

Mold will not be the death of me. Challenge accepted.  

- Cheers Friends, Nicole

P.S. As we progress with the house I will slowly add updates, thanks for listening friends!

Mom Fail // Nicole Lee - Photographer


How did your weekend go?

Lots of Drama around here, three bloody noses, numbers of meltdowns, with the exception of some beach time. This is how everyone else’s weekend went right?  

This weekend was Dramatic. I mean Really Dramatic. First our oldest Jacob (5yr) was playing teenage ninja turtles in the backyard then proceeded to hit our middle child Asher (4yr) in the face with a large stick, which made him bleed heavily in the face. Then we had another blood in the face incident, which I will get to later.

So Asher comes screaming and crying into the house, blood all over his face. I have two options; succeed by the good mother. Or massively fail and drop the ball. The way I see it is: A. I am supposed to stay cool calm and collected. B. Lets face it I am horribly terrified when it comes to seeing blood, ANY type of blood. When my sister used to get vaccines I would cry in pain for her while she took it like a man. Why I always had the weird obligation to feel other people’s pain is beyond me. Maybe it’s anxiety? Maybe I am crazy? Both are equally relevant. Mom Fail #1.

So our middle child comes into the house screaming bloody murder. Here I am. This is my moment to be soft mom, not cold-hearted mom. So I take him and tell him it’s going to be okay although I want to throw up but try to hold back the vomit because I am being STRONG MOM.

He survives, the blood stops. I clean the wand with tea tree oil. I get it in his eye. The screaming continues. Mom Fail #2.

Finally the ordeal is over. We proceed with having a fantastic day at the beach, followed by long naps when we get home. (Fist pumps and high fives here)

It is Sunday. Ryan and I are talking together in the living room. The kids are playing in the kitchen. I hear a large thud followed by crying, followed by me rushing into the other room. There is Stella with blood down her face. Here is another moment where it would be good to be soft, I grab her, which then proceed to think, “its time to ruin your shirt and hold her tight”. (Are these normal thoughts?)

So I ruin the shirt and again stop the bleeding. She fell off the chair and hit her face.

That’s a lot of blood for someone who doesn’t like to see it.

Finally the kids are settled in bed its about 10:30pm Ryan and I are watching cooking shows on Netflix. (Chef’s Table, check it out)  All of the sudden we hear a huge thump followed by screaming. We jump up, Ryan first then me. Stella walks out of her room with the biggest bloody nose I have ever seen. I grab her, try my best to comfort her and then proceed to check her out, make sure its not broken, or cut or whatever. As I am investigating I find a huge piece of what looks like “Bone” coming out of her noise. I grab it. I am feeling squeamish again, maybe even a little queasy, why? Stella is the one in Pain, not me. Why am I feeling as though I may vomit? (Maybe I should get this checked out.) I tell Ryan lets look up what to do I think we should take her to the ER. Which we never do! We are the parents who wait it out. But the blood, I mean this looks serious!

We get her cleaned up, the bleeding stopped. Put the “bone “ into a class jar. Get her into the Car and Ryan takes her to Urgent Care. I am shaking, I run into the bathroom, and vomit. TMI? (I know I went there.) I clean myself up.  Mom fail #3.

I call Ryan and ask him how it’s going. He said its going well they just finished. Wow that was fast! The doctor said it was a piece of Rice, What? Yes, actually 2 pieces of rice dried and stuck together.

You are kidding me? We both start laughing. This is hilarious and ridiculous all in itself. Our 3 year old chose to stick to large pieces of rice up her nose which the impact of the fall caused her to bleed horribly and it wasn’t a piece of bone in fact it was RICE.

The doctor also informed my husband that there is actually no way she could have broke her nose because children aren’t developed fully yet. Well doc good to know. That’s why we pay you the big bucks. I ‘m too dumb to tell if its bone or rice up my child’s nose, and you need to inform me otherwise. Mom fail #4

Dramatic? Yes, necessary? No. 

I guess we all have moments where life gets messy. Mine seem to happen on a weekend basis. Maybe the kids would be better off at school full time it seems like they are doing better in the care of their Teachers!

Cheers Friends

Nicole