This week I've lost 1.8lbs, which I'm a bit annoyed about as I weighed myself in the middle of the week and I was another pound down from there and I've been exemplary all week. Still, I'm on the way and hopefully next week I'll be well clear of the 18 stone 10lbs mark that I seem to have been hovering around since before Christmas.
I ended up working a twelve hour day on Saturday with my broken hand still in a splint. I'm not going to say that the splint wasn't an added obstacle in an already high-pressure job (where I am constantly doubting myself). But, I kind of felt amazing at the end of it, exhausted and happy to sit down, but amazing. I was so proud of myself - I went out there with my game face on, I pretended that I wasn't at all worried about my hand, or in pain, or anything and while, by the end, my other hand was absolutely killing me from carrying all the weight I'd normally have on two and straining awkwardly to do right-handed things, I did believe in myself. It helped that my clients, their friends and families, were all a joy to be around and easy to photograph. It also felt great to do something normal - everything is so frustrating and slow without my main hand and going to do what I do for a living, returning to the comfort of holding (albeit awkwardly) my camera was just perfect. It reminded me I'm still useful and capable.
I've been glowing ever since really. When I came back from the hospital, still wearing the splint I thought I'd be rid of, I felt so defeated, teary, angry and overwhelmed by the prospect of letting all those clients down, the impact it might have on both my reputation and my bottom line. And then I picked myself up and decided I was only defeated if there was absolutely no way I could do my job. That's not something I'd have done a year ago...a year ago I doubt I'd have even been able to stop crying long enough to phone and cancel the bookings.
Work isn't everything, but, when you own a business I think your self-worth is irrevocably tied into its success. This time last year I was working in an underpaid "graduate" office job, I was just about to hand my notice in to become full-time self-employed. The job was soul-destroying, the people were horrifically unpleasant bullies, the management was inept, the commute was cramped and unreliable, the job itself was mind-numbingly dull (though if someone capable ran the business it might have been OK) and I was most definitely an outsider. I was over-qualified and under-appreciated - I bit back when "jokes" (thinly veiled insults) were levelled at me, I refused to stay late because someone else in the office held back work until I was getting my coat on, I was constantly belittled and mistreated. Some days I would have to walk around the corner to cry because I felt so powerless against the constant hostility. I would have left, but, I was running a business in every moment of free time and couldn't afford to waste that searching for a job I didn't intend to stay in. Even if they did nothing right, even up until the last day, where the owner shouted at me like a toddler as I walked out because he chose to do the handover five minutes before the end of business, rather than lunchtime like it was scheduled, the sense of coming alive I had that day was incredible - that really was an act of pure faith in myself and my ability to be successful, rather than playing it safe at the expense of my happiness.
Anyway, what I meant by this was - if I'd had this crash last year, I would have cancelled those bookings without even trying, the episode would have sent me spiralling into a depression and I'd have been sitting on the floor crying about how I should never have dreamed of doing my dream job. My job isn't who I am, but, running a successful business all alone has definitely left me feeling like a stronger person, like I'm a success in life. I've more than doubled my income in a year, my work makes people cry tears of joy, yesterday I got an email thanking me for being such a lovely presence... To go from thinking there must be something about me that makes people react so badly to me, to having people hire me because they like me after a twenty minute chat, well... It's amazing. I'm just happy and hopeful at the moment. Sometimes it's OK to be proud of your achievements.