I am spending a lot of time sad, irritated, mad, annoyed, offended...to name a few. I've even had to go as far as revoking permission from certain friends to read my blog. My blog is a place where I write my honest feelings, and tend to feel better afterward. The feelings I've had lately are causing major inner turmoil and uneccesary tension in my life.
I've always loved photography. I never felt like it was something I could just "dive" into without money or resources, so as our situation became more comfortable financially, I felt like it was time to dive head first into pursuing the love. Neal happily took my to invest in my first awesome camera last summer. I played and played with it, Neal bought me fancy new lenses, and everything was feeling so lovely and good. I was ready to take pictures of someone other than my own kid.
I've always been nervous to venture into big new things on my own. I knew I wanted to started a photography business, I knew I had some skill when it came to it, and felt confident offering up those skills. I couldn't get the guts to do it on my own. I talked to my sister Heather about it, loaned her one of my cameras, told her the few simple things I knew, and thus began Mae Michael Photography.
The next few months were packed with photo shoots. I worked my BUTT off advertising, booking clients, investing in props, spent hours searching out awesome locations to shoot at, purchased a legite website, domain name, host, blah blah blah. I spent a lot of money and time in building my (our) new little baby. And Heather seemed to be enjoying her part in it. She did nothing other than show up for shoots and edit her photos, as she was largely pregnant at the time. I was very sensitive to her condition, and her financial situation, and expected nothing more than what she was offering.
In January, Heather EMAILED me and said that she couldn't handle the pressure of having anyone to answer to other than her family. She'd just had Trevor, and he was sick, so I understood that she was under a lot of pressure. We'd had a photoshoot 3 weeks earlier that she still hadn't edited her photos for, and I was pressuring her quite a bit, as we promise a turn around of 1 week. I told her that I was disappointed, but that I understood.
A few weeks later, she emailed me again. She dropped the bomb on me that she planned to open her own photography business, very soon. (Since that email, she has launched her "business".) I expressed my obvious frustrations with her. I felt used. The small portfolio that she had was from my blood, sweat, and tears. She stayed with me long enough to use me for my resources and connections, and until she felt comfortable enough to go on her own. And then she left me.
She promised that she wouldn't be a competitor. That she wouldn't advertise to anyone in the same circle that I'd be advertising to. That she would be careful about respecting what I've been trying to do.
And then she launched, and advertised to everyone. My friends, our family, everyone. Even people she met through me. Not only that, but I'm constantly faced with her progress. Every new thing she does or discovers, I have to hear all about it. My cousin Janelle (from the Dalton side, who Heather met through me. And a reader of this blog.) is an awesome photographer. I recently learned that Heather is being mentored (for lack of a better word) by her. That makes me sooooo mad, but mostly because I'm jealous that Heather is learning from her and I'm not. Every opportunity that Heather gets, I feel like is an opportunity stolen from me.
The worst part of all of this, is that I wanted this to be a positive thing that Heather and I could do together. Instead, it's turned into something sour, where I simply, purely and honestly feel used and abused, without a second thought. She's moving ahead full force, taking potential clients, and everything that goes along with being a competitor. We don't even talk. She can't even look me in the eye.
Good times. I wish I weren't pregnant, and somewhat at a hault in what I'm capable of. And extra hormonal. I know that half of you think I'm super petty for taking everything so seriously and being so hurt and offended. Thank goodness you don't have to be petty like me!
*There are two sides to every story. In all fairness, I'm sure Heather has her own side.*