More Than Just: Conversations with Misfits, Entrepreneurs and Change-makers

More Than Just a Portrait Photographer with “Spider” Meka Hemmons (she/her)

May 09, 2023 Mel McSherry Season 2 Episode 21
More Than Just: Conversations with Misfits, Entrepreneurs and Change-makers
More Than Just a Portrait Photographer with “Spider” Meka Hemmons (she/her)
Show Notes Transcript

In this episode, I’m joined by phenomenal human, “Spider” Meka Hemmons. Together, we discuss how magic can occur when we accept our whole selves in front of the camera and how we can better embrace the whole story of our lives.

We also discuss:

  • Embracing the full circle of life, including the down times
  • The scary concept of complacency
  • How photography chose Meka
  • Taking ownership of our lives and our choices
  • The importance of doing the pre-work before opening the door to the rest of your life


👏 This episode is sponsored by The Inner Circle Business Network, an exclusive community of business professionals looking to connect, make quality introductions, and grow business. Learn more about this truly remarkable professional network by checking out their events or taking their membership quiz today.

🙌 This podcast is supported by listeners like you! If you enjoyed this episode, we'd appreciate it if you could make a donation of any amount at this link. You rock!

Hey MTJ listener, before we get this episode started, I have a question for you. Do you often wonder about the benefits of making changes to how and where you do business networking? Then don't miss upcoming events with Inner Circle Business Network, hosted by co-founders Kim Klieman and Joy Poli. The Inner Circle Business Network was formed as an exclusive community for business professionals looking to connect, make quality introductions, and grow businesses. Inner Circle Business Network also offers multiple ways to network at a deeper level through a variety of membership channels and events that are actually worth your time. I have personally attended as a guest as well as spoken at multiple events that Inner Circle has hosted. And I cannot even begin to tell you the quality and the mental emotional profitability that each of those events have brought into my life and my business. Members from over 18 states regularly attend free monthly happy hour events, along with paid leadership lunches and leadership summits. They also take advantage of multiple ways to broaden their networks with other consultants, advisors, CEOs, and sales leaders. Kim and Joy believe growing the inner circle business network benefits all members and would love for you to be a part of it. Listen more about this truly remarkable professional network and head to the show notes for their links to their upcoming events. In the interim, please feel free to check out their membership quiz to see if the community is a good fit for you at O-I-N-N-E-R-O dot com backslash membership. All right, MTJ listeners, let's get this episode started. Welcome to More Than Just. I'm your host, Mel McSherry. On this podcast, we share how we are more than just descriptors and titles that identify us in our lives, our businesses, and our communities. In this safe common room space, you'll hear stories of success and lessons learned from, myself and other misfits, entrepreneurs, and change makers. My intention is to inform, connect, and expand our knowledge so we can be mentally, emotionally, and financially profitable as we create the change we desire. My promise is that from each episode, you'll take away not only inspiration and a connection to someone you never knew before, but also the encouragement, the action steps, the support so you can create what you want. Music. Hello, everyone. Welcome back to season two. I am your host, Mel McSherry. This is the podcast, More Than Just, and today I get to sit down with probably one of my favorite humans ever, and she's fully aware of that. I am so excited to be able to sit down with her because we have supported each other what? For about three or four years now, and yet it's one of those relationships where you You just connect with somebody and there are pieces of their story that you don't know. And so I was super excited to invite Mika on today for several reasons. One, because I know she has just such an incredible gift for what she does, an incredible passion for who she is and what she wants to create. And also, I'm naturally nosy and wanted to hear more about her journey and all of these things. So first and foremost, Mika, thank you so much for spending your time and energy with us today? I already – I don't think I can stop blushing. I know no one can see me right now, but my face is like my cheekbones are in the atmosphere right now because I'm so grateful to be here and happy to talk to you today. And that's – I mean, that's what pure support is about, right? Like you see somebody and you get that like – I almost equate it to like first date butterflies. You're like, oh my God, it's like it's just that time – like it's just so exciting. We I have a mutual friend, Nancy Zitlin, and she's like, we hung out before about a couple of months ago, and she goes, I swear to God, I felt like I was like reuniting with a lover. Like it was just so, like I was just so excited to be able to spend time with you. And it's like that same equation of just somebody that you just know is going to, I don't know, give you. What you want more than what you need, but also it's that beautiful like reciprocal flow, right? Absolutely. Now you give me life. Well, I'm sure you're gonna give everybody else life too because I am like I said So excited to be able to spend time with you and how I love to kick off these conversations is with this question. Mika, what would you say is your main title or identifier? And how are you more than just? Love your questions already. I identify as a transformative portrait photographer. Yeah, yeah, that's a lot. And I recognize that I identify that way because just saying that I'm a photographer, absolutely not. That does not resonate. Bring it to a niche, which is what I do, portrait photography and specifics, portrait personal branding. That's the title that's that's officially like on paper when I give it to other people, it's on my website for SEO purposes, portraits, personal branding. That doesn't even resonate with me anymore because what I do is, at least what I try to do, is to transform lives. And I am more, so yes, I am more than just a portrait photographer. Transformative. Now that is, I mean, that's so deep on so many levels. And I'm curious, when you say that word, I'm a transformative portrait photographer, what is your reaction? Like, do you tend to get the same reaction? Do you tend to like hit a button with some people? Like how do people typically react when you introduce yourself that way? That's so funny. When you said, how do you react, I was like, okay, so how do I react? Because it comes from my soul. That's where I feel it just rushes up and I get all ooey and warm and gushy. But you meant how do other people react. Okay. Let's see. What other people tend to respond to is almost what you did, like this, this leaning in this, ooh, wait, this is different. Let's, what do you mean by this? I know what the word transform means, transformative transformation, but how does that apply to photography? What? Photography, it's such a scary, intimidating, unwelcoming place for so many people, because it's almost almost like you're feeling required to fulfill this obligation, right? You're a business owner, you're part of a company, you are on LinkedIn, it's time for family reunions. These categories, these spaces of, all right, this is just what people do. I have to have my mug shown up someplace. That feeling of defeatedness, that deflation, that is an automatic response for so many people because of their history, because of their experience up until the point where they meet me being in front of a camera. It's unpleasant, nobody likes it. And so I use the word transformative because it's not just me saying, oh, you know what, I'm gonna make this easy. Oh, you know what, I'm gonna make this fun. It's not just words. I tell you, and this is just the truth, which is why I say it, these four walls are so full of stories and secrets and healing and realizations and transformations that have happened to the people that I've been able to spend time with over the last few years in this space, telling me things that they've never told anyone else before, and literally changing the way that they both think about themselves and think about showing up. Yeah. More than just pictures for hella sure. And I mean, you touched already just on some emotional points for me as I've been on my journey as well with, I shared in season one, identifying as a non-binary woman. And with that connection to that gender identity, weird shit came up in regards to, okay, now how do I dress as a speaker because I've always been titled as a woman speaker or a woman quote unquote, in business. And I spent a lot of time, energy, and money dressing that part. And. To have now actually more freedom for myself with this affirmed identity, and yet this just like, what the fuck? Like now, it's almost decision overload, right? Because now I don't have a category technically, it's just however the fuck I wanna dress. And as freeing as that is, that is also overwhelming. Overwhelming. Do you find that when people come into your space, they come... Actually, a better question probably is, how do they come when they step into your space? They've said yes to you. What has the process looked like for you through the lens of somebody working with you? How has that experience been for you being a part of that? I love this question and I'm going to attach immediately to the word freedom that you used. When people say yes to me, I joke around a lot and I say every part of the process is my favorite part. And I can't stop saying that because just thinking about the moment they say yes, oh my gosh, it's my favorite part. Like, we haven't even started yet and I am so incredibly excited that they say yes specifically to me. Thorough Rock, there's a lot of photographers out there. I get excited when someone says yes to me because of all the reasons and the things that you're asking me to explain right now. So when they say yes, that means they've said yes, not just to me producing a product of, you know, photographs, images for them. To me, that's secondary, it really is. What I feel that they've said yes to is now taking ownership of what they feel, and their attitude, and their mindset toward being in front of the camera, showing up, owning who they are. They've said yes to recognizing and owning that space, and they've said yes to now changing it, transforming it, leveling up, elevating, getting out of the mindset that's been holding them back from being their true. Take a shot, authentic selves. And now doing something more with themselves, with their lives, with their mindset, with their abilities. That's what they're really saying yes to when I feel they say yes to me. Because I am the catalyst now. I'm the tool to help them get there. Oh my gosh. And so when they show up, there's this incredible list of. All of their lives that they're bringing. Talk about baggage and PTSD and mindset and all these things. People are nervous. People are embarrassed. People are ashamed. People are more than hesitant. They're terrified, mortified. They don't want to be here. They don't want this process to happen. They don't want to show up. They don't want their faces shown. They're here out of obligation, But they've said yes, because something about the way I talk, something about the, my portfolio, you know, the other people that I photograph, something is there. They're looking inside people's eyes. And I feel like those people are talking for me. I know it's hard to hear to believe right now, because you know, you're hearing me now. And it's like, yep, yep, yep, Mika talks so much. I know I do. The truth is, when it comes to marketing, Mika doesn't say a whole lot, honestly. Mika loves to let the quote-unquote work speak for itself because the quote-unquote work is you. It's the person that I've already photographed. And up here, the eyes, you know, windows, eyes are the windows to the soul. And so there's a connection in the work that you see on my website and the work that you see, you know, displayed in all the marketing, etc. I'm not doing a lot of talking, honestly. You can tune me out. You can turn the volume down. What I do allow you to attach to and what people typically do is not my voice talking about, oh, look at me, look at what I can do for you. It's this other person that's already in the photograph that has gone through this experience with me. They're doing all the talking and they're saying, look what happened because I've learned to trust myself. And you can be here, too. Mm-hmm. That's so yummy. But of course, you're obsessed with that because I would want to be a part of that every day. And I get those same feelings when I work with a client as well of just that it's so beautiful when they see themselves the way you see them. Because that's always like the better mirror is not what you see in a mirror, but it's what you, see through other people and how other people see you. Like it's that trust. I love that you said trust. That's been a big theme that I have heard a lot lately of trusting somebody, you know, their intuition, trusting their timing, trusting their rest, trusting the silence, like trusting all of these things. Yeah. And to be a part of that, what an amazing experience. I'm curious so because we are talking about other people's transformations. I would love to talk about. Your transformation because I know not all of us were born with everything we needed. Well, I mean, we are born with everything we need to know to make what we want. However, what we do with that is always kind of a, okay. So I would just love to hear more about, your story of transformation. When you think of transformation for yourself, What comes forward for you? What stories come forward for you or moments? Oh my gosh. So, I hear your question, Mel. I hear what you're saying in there. You're like, we all do the thing that we're good at because we've been there at some point, right? The places in my life where I've been called to recognize and then act upon the transformation, the change, There's so multiple, right? I'm 43. I've been around the block a couple times. There are lots of people listening to this saying, oh my gosh, you're such a baby. You got so much more to go. And I don't dispute that. I will be eternally grateful, of course, to spend some more time on this place we call planet Earth. That being said, we done been through some shit in the mail, And so the stories of my past, my gosh, you know, the stories of low self-esteem, the stories of being. Small, feeling small. The stories of being in spaces where I didn't feel like enough, that I felt like the little bit that I had was literally being ripped from me. The places where I had negative self-worth, negative self-value. And believe it or not, I felt at my absolute worst right before I decided that this portrait photography space was my next. Right before I started this career, which by the way, I'm going to die with a camera in my hand. I'm never going to do anything else. That was when I felt at my absolute lowest in my entire life. I had been suffering from severe depression, textbook severe, severe depression. And I felt like nothing, I felt like less than nothing. I did not like anything about my life. I felt ashamed, I felt guilty, I regretted just about every decision that I had made. And I was young, I was 33, and I felt like I was nothing and that I was never going to be anything. That, you know, unfortunately, my workspace and, and this is important to say out loud, right? You have to own your choices, right? And, and I'm, I'm good at that. I'm gonna say it. I'm really good at owning the things that have happened in my life. I chose those, those journeys. I, you know, left or right, 1 or 2, A or B, door No. 5. I made all those decisions on my own, and I admit that they were not the best decisions for me. It landed me in the place where I was, which was feeling super low, super lonely, super depleted. And I had to go through that, I think, in order to be able to say with confidence the the things that I. Try my best to show people now, which is you started off this conversation by saying it. We are born with everything we need, everything that we think we need, we already have, everything we want to be, we already are. These are things that we forget and it's okay. I say this to my clients and the people that I love on a consistent basis. When you are feeling low, when you are feeling these places of, I don't have self-worth, I don't have self-value, or in my specific case, being a photographer, I'm too fat, I hate my chin, I don't deserve to be in front of the camera because I'm not, we use words like I'm not photogenic. I fucking hate that word. We can talk about that for another hour. Messy. power. I say to people all the time when we feel in those spaces and when that kind of feeling is engulfing us, surrounding us, not allowing us to live our lives in the fullest, I say, which is true, it's not our fault. It's not our fault we feel this way. We're in America. It's 2023. There's a long list of things that are not necessarily within our control that affect The way that we think about ourselves, the way we live, the way we speak, the way we dress. You talked about dressing just a few minutes ago. There's a lot of factors involved and it's quite understandable and forgivable that we can't handle it all. It's a lot. We, you know, we have ourselves to think about, but don't think about yourself because that's being selfish. We've got families. We've got children. We've got partners, spouses, significant others. Some of us have multiple significant others. You know, whatever your lifestyle is, you know, it's so enough just to think about ourselves, but then we have other people who depend on us and we think about them too. And no relationship is singular, right? Even when you think about yourself, we have relationships with ourself and it's not a singular way of thinking. It's an all-encompassing, beautifully multifaceted conversation that we have with ourselves on a daily basis. And these are the things that I focus on when I work with people. Before you can even, oh my gosh, before you can even think about your relationship with anyone else, let's pause, let's stop. How do you feel about yourself? I'm too fat, Mika. I hate my chin, Mika. Okay, let's pause again. What brought you here? What happened? what was said, what was done, can you think of the genesis, the origin of where this thought may have come from? Because once you do, that's power. is power. We locate the genesis, we locate the origin, we recognize and acknowledge where these thoughts are coming from, where they've landed, and then we can stare at it and say, all right, fucker, what am I gonna do with you now? You've been exposed, face it down. Are you gonna let it continue to take control of you, have power over you, stop you from living your life to the fullest? Or are you going to make a choice, because I just said everything is a choice, are you going to make a choice to say that that thing no longer has power over you? Make a choice to say this belief system that I have been a victim to or have agreed to, have co-signed with, this is the thing that I've been identifying with this because it's been part part of my story for so long. It's a habit now. And it's accepted. Because you know what? Sally and Mary and Jane and Susie and Robert and Gary and everybody else that I am friends with, they all feel the same way. We commiserate, right? Misery loves company. It's okay to feel bad about myself and say X, Y, and Z is bullshit, because my friends and my family and my gang, my crew, my tribe, they all say the same thing. So that means I got some help and feeling this way. Yeah, yeah. I got help in feeling this way, so it must be okay, right? No, no, no, no, N-O. It's so interesting how we unknowingly enable each other in that mindset. Yeah. Like that, and it's so interesting because I have a conversation with another guest on this season, and we're talking about colorism and how in India, colorism is just something that's there. And because it's just always underlying in the way that people talk about your skin color, it's not in a way that seems mean, but it's just always kind of part of the conversation, that they don't even know how to rectify it because it's just it is what it is. And I equated that to, you know, watching my mother in a mirror and listening to her and the way that she talked about herself and the way that she would talk about her weight and the way that she would look at herself in the mirror and what she would always point out and which was hardly ever positive and how that got ingrained in my head. And so then I just started talking that way. And I'm having like such a huge aha moment. And I hope others are too of just. Yes, working on ourselves is beautiful, but also how are we unknowingly enabling others to continue to think the way that they think because we contribute to it, because misery loves company, because let's all bitch and moan about our kids or about our partners or about our... Like, yes, you can vent. Absolutely. But then what are we doing as a collective to. Shift that perspective, right? To put on like my guide hat, what are the action steps that we could take? Not everything has to be so formulaic, but it still is that same concept of what are we listening to? I was talking to somebody else and they said they stopped listening to true crime podcasts and they didn't realize how much energy that was taking from them. Yeah. Again, it's like where are we investing our time and energy in our conversations and how are they really being profitable for us mentally and emotionally? I'm glad that you heard that and highlighted that in this conversation, because it is a huge, huge part of how I feel about our relationships, how I feel about our culture, our society. And you nailed it. You named it. It is this very casual, yet super dangerous way of enabling each other, you know? Yeah. It's okay that you say that about your hips, because look at my, I don't know, kneecaps. I feel the same way about my – You know, I don't like my shoulder blades either. So let's now go have a drink and lunch and eat a bunch of things that is going to make us feel horrible in the morning. But we're friends now. We like each other because we both hate things about each other. That's great. You're my new BFF. Why do we do that? Why do we do that? There's so much to unpack there. Do that? There's so much to unpack there. I'm gonna put a pin in it just for now because I feel like that could be a whole side conversation that we could host at some point in time. Oh, absolutely. But I – probably like multiple – a whole series. Yes. But in the space that you were in, because I know – first of all, just to kind of recap a little bit of the couple other things that you said that I think are so powerful, that we all do have a choice. And I love the way that you. Kind of simplified the awareness and then the question you can ask yourself after the awareness because I know we have all been in those deep dark places some people you know we all have different shades of dark that we have been in and with that darkness comes that just sense of overwhelm of how the fuck do I get out of it all of a sudden everything just seems so overwhelming and you don't know what the first step is. And I love that you brought it to this really simple place of, well, it's the awareness first of, OK, I feel like this. Where's, and I love that you said Genesis. That's like goose pimples. That's amazing. Like, where does that Genesis come from? And even just giving yourself that permission to sit in that, and if you need outside help to sit in it, please, please, please, everyone who's listening to this, so whoever that is. Absolutely. And know that you can sit with it, no matter what it is. You can break it apart to little pieces of, so you don't tackle your whole parent issue in one fell swoop. It's just, OK, the vernacular that I use, right? It's breaking that apart. And I love that you mentioned that because that is such a beautiful reminder to all of us that we can't solve the world's problem, our problem, whatever quote unquote problem it is in a day. What is the Genesis that we can at least name or recognize? And then what is that first little shift that we can do to just start. Unraveling. It's exciting. It is. Portrait photography as a profession, you know, to be super cheesy right now, it chose me. And humanity is my absolute favorite topic. And that's what I feel like is my real joy and space and genius is just loving on our humanity and the beauty of it. I used to get a little bit real here and you don't care. You want me to be real. Always. Always. To go back in my history, we all come from somewhere. You grow up in certain communities and you hear phrases like, oh, we're going through trials and tribulations. We're going through a valley right now. Change is going to come in the morning. Just these kind of very colorful and amusing and visual phrases that have developed over the years about, oh, don't worry about feeling down in your life because this is only temporary. And once you keep working hard at this and having faith and belief in this, then you'll rise above. And I, I learned as an adult and experiencing more and more life in humanity is that I feel like that way is a little bit dangerous. That way of thinking is a little dangerous. Feeling as if a valley is an undesirable place or, or calling the dark times of our life. Dark in the bad connotative sense, or dark in a negative way, and feeling like this is a place to hurry and get out of as soon as we can, because when we rise above, that place is quote-unquote better. Life is life. And we need the circle of up and down and to and fro and left and right and black and white and all these things because that is the encompassed beautiful aspect of being human. And once we learn to accept that way of thinking and not feel like, oh, when I'm feeling down, this is a super bad and horrible place. But like I said before, Mel, and which you acknowledged and recognized, and I'm grateful for you for highlighting those things, is when we're feeling what our society and our culture has deemed as negative, dark, bad, it's not any of those things. It is actually a time and a space to pause and reflect. There is growth there. There's learning there. There is connection there. There is realization there. And how do we live and experience life if we don't acknowledge and use those things? Hey friends, liking the episode? Pretty epic, isn't it? Well, guess what? This episode and all others have been made possible by financial support and contributions from listeners like you. So if you would like to continuously hear how these epic humans are more than just, go ahead and head over to our GoFundMe and make a contribution. Cool? All right, let's get back to the magic. And that's such a huge piece of why I love utilizing human design with my clients is that showing them who they are and that they're not incorrect in what they already know to be true because we do get so inundated with all the things that we should do, that we should say, that we should feel. Giving them that information to when we do hit those plateau spots of Okay, so then now you have the information the questions the strategies to use that in a really beautiful. Way and I always tell my clients and I remind myself of this too that you know the only way out is through and, So I'm not here to to push you through something so we can just get past it, this is a learning opportunity. And as fucked up as it may feel, one, know that you're not alone because you have me, you have your support, you have your whomever. And know that not to Pollyanna it, but this too shall pass. So it's what can we recognize? What can we sit with? What can we be aware of? So like I said earlier, awareness is clutch. And then with that awareness and knowing that you do have the information, you have everything inside of you to answer the call of your soul, what do you have the energy and the capacity for now to just be with, to process, and what can you do to protect that time and energy? Because it's so easy, and I'm calling myself out right now to be like, I'm just gonna stay busy, if I stay busy, shit won't stick, right? And then COVID hits and all of a sudden you have two and a half years to sit in the shit that's stuck like crazy. Without the typical coping mechanisms that I had, which was productivity, to conquer it, not conquer it, fucking ignore it, and then have it bite me in the ass later. So, yeah. Absolutely. Great. Sometimes it's, you know, we, I think COVID just kind of gave all of us, you know, a classic excuse to, you know, just kind of pause and do this. What about in the before times where we just crashed and burned and all of a sudden we're on the kitchen floor sobbing our brains out and we don't really know why? Because we let so many things build up and didn't deal with it, didn't heal it, didn't acknowledge it. We just pushed it to the side. Let's stay busy, busy, busy. And now I am literally unable to function and my dinner's burning because I have not dealt with these things. We were so inundated, and we still are, but I know from my mental health, I have silenced a lot of that around me, the toxic positivity of like, straighten your crap, wash your face, blah, blah, blah, blah. Just be a badass and push through. It's like, fuck that noise. I wish everyone could see your face at that moment. That was great. If they know me, they've seen it. And I understand, we're kind of… we're segwaying into another conversation, but I want to stick to it for a second because I do have another question. But, you know, we do have these people that are very one line, that everybody connects to that one line, and then all of a sudden that person is a goddess among humans or, you know, like the majesty among humans. Number one. Viral quote and Though I appreciate the fact that that quote has given somebody the pause that you are talking about. Where I think some of these more popular motivational people I Feel kind of lack and I'm just gonna call it out. It's my podcast so I can call it. It's your podcast, is So then what the fuck do we do after that? Yeah. So you've given me this one-liner that I'm now quoting to everybody and their fucking mother that seems to put the band-aid over the problem. Like, yeah, I resonate with that. Great. Now what? Yeah. Oh, yeah. And I think it's when we have that deeper conversation, which was one of the reasons why I wanted to create More Than Just, is to have these very open conversations of, I felt this way and like not necessarily something that's formulaic that I'm we're telling listeners. Okay, so step one, do this and then step two, do that. However, each story comes with a takeaway that you can at least know there is action steps to be had. It's that yes and, right, like, yes, I feel that way and okay, Mika said, you know, pause for a minute. So what does pause mean to me? Like maybe pause and just go excuse yourself to the bathroom and take a couple deep breaths. And it's having those deeper conversations and those, yeah, authentic. We need to find another word, but vulnerable, transparent. Just take a shot when you say it. Authentic. Real. Knock it back. Bingo card. Okay. Yeah. That's what's going to continue that change, that shift in that collective enablism. Because now we want to enable people to recognize the bullshit, be aware of what are the trigger points, as well as be aware of the quote unquote beauty inside of these pauses and how much power comes from those. Now I wish everybody could see your face right now. She's just soaking it all in. It's so lovely to hear you say those words, you know, the beauty, the power, it's all there. Life is mysterious, but it also is so incredibly beautiful. And these kinds of conversations and listening to other people who acknowledge like, you know, sometimes life feels really fucked up. I'm not here being all like fairy queen. Oh, magic unicorns, rainbows. Don't have to ever be depressed again in your life. Fuck that. You yourself said just a second ago, you take your people through, you say to them, you got to go through it in order to move beyond it, blah, blah, blah. And I'm over here thinking, well, yeah, that's great. And you're going to feel fucked up again. It may be in two days, two hours, two weeks, two months, two years. Oh, that's cyclical as fuck. Yeah. Oh, absolutely. The thing is, we arm ourselves. It's the pause and acknowledge again. When When I'm feeling this way, when I'm triggered, when I'm having this reaction that's very familiar to me, when I'm hearing certain things, when I'm doing certain things, when I'm talking to certain people, fuck that. I have a reaction. Where is this reaction coming from? It's the pause and, and like you said, there are lots of actionable steps you can take. It's not always step one, step two, step three, you're healed. But there are, as you say, actionable steps to arm yourself and to move beyond the crippling. Space that we are often in. We just become immobile or our reactions become so habitual that they just don't profit us at all. There's no movement, there's no growth, and then we just get used to doing that. And because nothing at all changes, you know, I'm sorry, but I keep going back to that Sesame Street, Gary Gannew. Yeah. No, no. Gnu's is good. Gnu's. I'm so sorry. This is probably going to get edited out. I don't care. No, they're going to keep it in because this is chef's kiss. Keep going. Gary Gnu kind of fucked up my childhood or my adulthood, I should say, by saying that no news is good news. But that's how we think. If nothing at all happens, at the very least, things are staying the same, and this is a space that I can deal with. Right? Yeah. I got to tell you though, Mel, one of my greatest fears, I used to have nightmares about this all the time. So here's something about me. I can't do zombies. I don't care if it's an irrational fear. I do not like zombies. Michael Jackson thriller, fuck me up, sorry. But also as an adult, the idea of being dead inside, dead brained, and also kind of being like a clone where all you do is nothing, but you're just kind of moving without intention, without passion. That is the fucking scariest concept to me on the planet. And so I don't even know why I started talking about that. Something about this conversation led me to that, this idea of being complacent, that's what it was. If you're complacent, to me, you're accepting zombieism. Don't do that shit. Yeah. I also just want to add one more thing, too, because people tend to define words incorrectly, and one of those words is action. I also want to remind listeners that stillness is an action. Stillness is an action. Complacency is dangerous. Mic drop. Done. That's going to be on a t-shirt. A hundred percent. Yeah. And even just that awareness question of, you know, am I being complacent or am I being still? I use that a lot with some of my clients who have Hermit in their profile is, are you resting or are you hiding? Like there's a difference. It's the same. Yeah. Very easy to flip over. So that's a really beautiful gauging question. This question has been like in the back of my brain. How did photography choose you? We have very limited space for me to tell you all that. I'm actually- You can make this a two-parter, it's fine. Well, you asked for it, care for what you asked for. Side note, I don't care if you edit this out or not. I'm actually, I'm adding professional speaking to my resume this year. Yeah. And the actionable steps that we've been kind of touching on as far as how to actually move out of this space of feeling intimidated, nervous, lack of confidence in front of the camera, I've been building that so that I can share it with people, and make more bodies, more humans feel like. They're actually worth it, right? That's so exciting. And so when you asked me, how did photography choose me, what I'm about to share to others on this platform is actually the process that I went through myself because I was called to. That's such a woo phrase. It's, what does that mean, Mika? I went home in tears one Friday evening after work and I was sick of crying. And so all I could bring myself to do was thrash around and not want to be in that space of depression and fear and sadness anymore. And so I ripped out a sheet of paper I grabbed a pen because I didn't even want to be around electronics. I just wanted visceral, tangible, you know, something to be present in. And I created this exercise. I did this thing because I needed to do it for myself, not knowing that it was going to change my life. And so because I did this, maybe it might be helpful for others. I would say not maybe, fuck yes. And so photography chose me because through this action, I saw words on paper saying, these are the areas where you are happy in, that you excel in, that you have a sincere and huge desire to share and be of service to other people. Because that's what we all want as humans, right? We want to, we want to, we're here to serve each other. We're not here for ourselves. We're here to serve others. So finding that thing that you're good at, that comes easy to you, and that you're able to not only serve others for, but as a bonus, you get to monetize, right? You know, let's be real, I gotta eat, you know, keep a roof over your head, right? And so that's how photography found me. That's how we found each other. That's how I realized the thing that I said earlier. It wasn't as if I had to learn to be a photographer. I already knew. I didn't have to learn people skills. I already knew how. I mean, I've nurtured and learned more skills. Don't get me wrong. I was, you know, you want to continue to grow and add to your skill sets, blah, blah, blah. But it was through this process and it was always there. It was waiting for me to find it. Hmm, that right there is so encouraging on so many levels of. Yes, it's it's vague. And also just it's it's okay to anchor hope into something where even if you don't know what it is, you know that it's out there, like even just that glimmer of hope, then that always questions, well, how? Okay, well, we'll get to that. And that will come. Yeah. But first is just that. And then we keep coming back to it. It's just that pause and awareness. It's that pause and reflection. It's that going into yourself. And again, that's why I fucking love human design. It's another tool that you can use to just connect motor more to yourself and get more of that validation of no, you're not crazy. Yes, you were designed this way. And yes, you have every right to the person to fuck off. Like this is how you were born to bring about what your purpose is. And I love that we keep coming back to that of know that every decision you make is yours. Every choice you make is yours. You always make the best one with the information that you have at that time. And when you receive new information, you can now make new decisions. Not right decisions, new decisions. And what you chose before always teaches you something. And I tell, I was having a discussion with my client about this. I pull, as I'm sure you're aware, but just in case the audience isn't, I do Oracle card readings for my clients. And one of them for my client was the Many Paths card. And it was a beautiful reminder for all of us that it doesn't matter what path you choose, The universe is going to take you where you need to go. I love that. It's such a truism. Do something. You're going to be guided whether or not it's right or wrong. Right. Just get off your ass and do something. Yeah. That's really what it is. Yeah. That's why every step, every 10 step thing is like, step one, admit you have a problem. Every single one. This is not new news, right? We've all heard the first step is admittance. Yeah. What am I admitting to? And I'm just going to say, I love that. I'm so happy that you said that. And I'm going to go back just a couple beats to what you mentioned before about, you know, there are probably a lot of people, you know, because you're a rock star and there are 10,000 people per square meter listening to your podcast. I know there is. And so there's a lot of aints probably right now. You know, what is the how? What is the action? What was the thing that you did? The eagerness. How do I do it? But you said, Mel, just a couple beats ago, which I love, and we have to highlight and reiterate the truth in this, not everybody's ready. You can't do all the things all at once because have you stopped, paused, and did that awareness step yet? And this is not just me being haughty and saying this aloud like, oh, just be patient, people. Tried to, not tried, I actively did this particular thing that I'm talking about, I did this with a number of people already and it continued to give me the results where. You cannot get, for example, the place where I was, where yes, me and photography met up with each other, this is the rest of my life, I know this is my joy, my passion, my lifestyle, I live and breathe this thing now. You can't get to this space unless you're willing to do the work it takes before that. Again and again and again, we came up against, there is no flip over the paper and find your answer because there's a lot of pre-work that needed to be done in these other people's lives. So not even knowing what this thing is that you did, it's okay. What you've heard so far is pause, acknowledge, reflect, define. Gotta do that stuff first. Where are you in your mindset? Where are you in your life? Where are you in your thoughts and beliefs? Where are you? Where are you? Where are you and why? That's hard enough. That is great work if you can do that. And once that's done, then you might be ready to say, all right, door to the rest of my life, I'm ready to open you. Yeah, fuck the six steps to success. It's your pace, it's your process, but it's yours and it's coming back to yourself and your space and your strengths and your acknowledgement, awareness, all of that, going full back to the beginning of you, have everything inside of you to answer the call of your soul. You just have to find it. And you're not gonna find it by actioning it to death with formulaic shit from some white guy named Ted. Like it's just not gonna happen. It might give you some tools that you can utilize when you're in a certain space. Yeah. comes to you know, how do you want to feel like my favorite question? What do you want? So how do you want to feel? What do you want to do every day? It is so possible the how will come but you do need and I'm so glad you said that to do that work in parallel with moving forward in what you want to create. And sometimes you might maybe you can't technically move forward and the parallel play it ain't working and you do have to take a moment to pause and that's what I call them as hallways is We go through many of those. I'm still in one during this recording of, OK, we're shifting. We're letting go. Do I know what the next doorway looks like? A little. The framework is there now. But what is on the other side of that door, don't know yet. And for the first time in my 13 years of an entrepreneur, I'm not predetermining anything. I have no goal board. I have an intention. I know what I want. I know how I want to spend my time and how I want to feel at the day and who I want to spend time with when I'm not working on my business, and what do they need from me, my partner, my son, and so forth. And with those parameters or those priorities, it's letting go of that voice inside of my head, oh, but you need to show up. You need to, you know, how are clients going to find you if you don't show up? And how are they going to want to work with you if they don't know what you're doing? It's like, they know. They always fade out. And when you do that work on yourself, it's actually easier for people to find you because you are now, and I mentioned this in a post, you are now stepping in. And you are stepping in with your whole ass, no half ass, it's your whole ass stepping in. And it's from a place of service. It's from a place of gratitude. It's from a place of wanting to be there and excited and aware of what are the opportunities that are gonna come about from it without trying to coerce it. Success begins with gratitude. Mm-hmm. Oh, Mieke, I could talk to you forever. This has been so absolutely yummy, and I know I always use that word, but it's like my whole body's just like, oh, I'm going to listen to this one over and over and over again. So as we wrap up, I mean, you have already dropped so many amazing nuggets, but as we are wrapping up this conversation, is there anything else that you feel called to share with our audience today. You know, let me stop. I'm starting to rock in my chair like an old grandma. There's so many things. No. What I'm feeling is definitely gratitude for having shared some time with you, Mel. You're an amazing character, and I am grateful. I will outwardly speak my gratitude for being able to, you know, just to share what I do and why I do it. I think that's important. You know, for some reason, I'm just feeling very advice-y right now. So I guess my advice that I'm feeling is twofold. One, when you're looking for service in others, to keep yourself really in mind, right? Connection is real. I know it's really hard for people to believe it, but you deserve everything that you want. We can talk for another hour about the word deserve, but I'm going to use it right now. You deserve the things that you want and you can make them happen. And so the second thing is inwardly, we have so many fears. My world is seeing people being afraid to be in front of the camera, but it goes so much deeper than that. Fear of a lot of things, and I am, I am so secondary, I am so third party. But I appreciate that I have cultivated a space where people can show up and acknowledge and pause and, reflect so that when they leave me, when they leave the space of being photographed, that, they get to continue building upon the things that makes them truly a beautiful human and, and hopefully dispel some of those fears and that PTSD and the cultural toxins that we've been inundated with. And I'm grateful that I get to do that on a daily basis and share that with these lovely humans that I'm surrounded with. Mika, thank you so, so, so much. Thank you, again, for your time, your beautiful energy, your…. Accurate and poetic insight into what you see, how you want to serve, you know, this has just been such really such a beautiful conversation. I am I'm beyond honored that you were able to spend time with us today. So thank you. And listeners, for those of you who want to respectfully stalk Mika, all of the links to contact her to, you know, sector on Instagram. All those things will definitely be in the show notes. But again, Mika, thank you so much for being here. It's been such a pleasure. Likewise. Thank you, Mel. All right, everyone. We will see you later. Bye. All right, folks. Once again, thank you so much for listening to this epic episode. All of the resources and links connected to it will be in our show notes located on our website, If you liked this episode, which I would be shocked if you did not, go ahead and hit that like, subscribe, review, and share. Also remember that this episode and all others have been made possible by financial contributions, and support from listeners like you. So if you would like to hear more stories of how epic humans are more than just, pop on over to our GoFundMe and make a contribution. Also don't forget to follow us on Instagram at more than just podcasts. Thanks again, see you next time. Music.