Katara_Washington picture

My first professional headshot minus the joy @2004

Patton_Katara

My second picture @2008…the sparkle is trying to come back

katarabio pic 1

Recent headshot @July 2016 My eyes show that joy has returned and I am grateful.

 

 

I’ve waited a long, long, long time to take another professional headshot. And I had to come to grips with why–after all, I am checking off some great career bucket list items (to the tune of a 3-book series plus more). I had to ask myself why I didn’t want to take a new photo and could just settle with an old, outdated one (the one in the middle was taken in 2008).

Somewhere down the line, I decided that a picture is so one-dimensional. You can look at the smile and hair and make-up and just make up a story about that person based on what you see; you can decide that all is wonderful in the subject’s world. And it’s just not the case. And, in some pictures, like the smaller one above, which was taken at least 12 years before the larger, current one, you can see that there is no sparkle in my eyes. Well, I can see it. I was in the middle of some tough times–even though I needed a professional quality headshot for some great work I was given the opportunity to do. But to me, that picture captures my sadness, my confusion and my depression. Sure, I’m smiling, but that smile doesn’t fully capture who I know I am. It shows a repressed version of the me I’ve grown to know and cherish. It doesn’t show my natural exuberance. To me, it shows that life hit me–hard! I don’t see joy in my eyes, I see the weight of the issues I was carrying; I see the reminder of the numb feeling I couldn’t quite figure out. But then I look at the one I took just this month (July 2016) and I see the sparkle back in my eyes. I know this photo has been touched up a bit–and quite frankly, I’m totally okay with that–but even in the raw footage, I saw a glimpse of joy and happiness reflected in my eyes, the window to my soul. The joy does not just come from all of the exciting things happening to me right now, but from years of praying and pushing and pulling and fighting to be whole again. It’s a process, but I’m thankful for the journey. I have learned so much—and clearly have more to learn—and I have picked up some empathy and compassion for people struggling.

So, if you find yourself where I was in the first headshot–dulled by life yet still smiling for a photo–I encourage you to keep going. It didn’t happen overnight–and even now I’m not always tuned into that exuberant high–but God has helped me rekindle joy and has returned just a bit of sparkle to my eyes. I am thankful. It feels good to be joyous again.

“The greatest results in life are usually attained by… common-sense and perseverance.” –Owen Feltham (according to my July 2016 wall calendar!) Keep going, my friend!

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