How Bullies Affected Me

At lunch today, my son mentioned not being the popular one at school. I told him I never want to be the popular one because it was the popular kids that bullied me or beat me up.

Afterward, I mentally dug through my head to realize that those times helped turn me into who I am today. I love being the underdog. I love going my own path. I love breaking the rules. I love standing out. I love saying fuck you to authority. It’s why I listen to the loud, crazy, unpopular music I do and why my photo-style of being VIBRANT yet dark isn’t popular. It’s me. It’s who I am. Fuck the trends.⁠

So thank you to the kids in middle school and high school that put me into a corner to punch my stomach. Thank you to the football jock who slapped my face with a handful of icy hot and left my face with a hand print for the entire day. Thank you to the bullies who convinced teachers I started shit and got me in trouble. Thank you to the kids that stole my money and forced me to give them the answers to homework. Thank you to the jock who tried to touch my penis without permission.⁠

These “popular” people helped make me who I am today. They helped me to become a compassionate person. I don’t search for popularity. I search for reason, purpose, and self-expression.

Why I Keep Distracting Apps On My Phone

The productivity advice I want to put out online is simple – It’s that it’s okay to be human. No one is perfect. And I feel that most productivity advice online makes normal people feel guilty. There are ton and tons of articles and videos online that are honestly extremely similar. We’ve seen them all. Stuff like, you should have a strict morning routine, turn your phone off, delete social media apps or get off social media, and do nothing but “deep work”.

This is honestly great advice if you’re not a normal person. But not everyone has a virtual assistant. Not everyone is able to do “deep work” while their significant other watches their children 24/7. Some of us aren’t able to have set schedules. And let’s be real, normal people don’t want to delete distracting apps off of their phone or even get off social media.

Don’t let the typical productivity advice out there make you feel guilty for being a normal human being. I will say however, keeping distracting apps on your phone does require some discipline.

Either way, I wanted to share my thoughts on why you shouldn’t feel guilty and how I approach distractions on my phone.

1) My Laptop Is My Main Way To Get Work Done

Being that I’m a photographer and have to edit photos and what not, my laptop is the main way I get work done. iPads and apps are getting better at being able to make them the sole way to get most work done these days, but for me, I can’t imagine editing photos on an iPad. I’m way more productive doing most things on a laptop. I’m faster and more efficient.

Why do I bring this up?

Well, it’s because most productivity advice out there says to delete social media and other distracting apps off your phone. The idea is that you can always go onto your computer to access these apps and services.

Because I make my laptop my main source of getting work done, I do not want to check distracting things on it. I know that I will create a habit of distracting myself if I do. I would rather create a habit of only using my laptop as a means of doing work I want to do.

This does mean that you need to have the discipline of not checking your phone constantly though. Maybe keeping it in another room and/or bring strategic about how your phone gives you notifications for certain apps.

2) I’m An Introvert

Being that I’m an introvert, I don’t like most social situations. Even family gatherings. I know, I know. That probably makes me a terrible person, but most social gatherings drain my mental and physical energy. So for me, these times are perfect for me to pull out my phone and scroll through my distracting apps.

For the most part, my main distracting apps are Instagram and reading articles I’ve saved to Pocket. I hate being on Facebook, but I also use that time to check my Facebook groups and respond to people. However, even my Facebook is strategic. I’ve unfollowed most friends and Facebook groups. This keeps my newsfeed boring.

Now, I don’t just totally ignore people in social situations completely, but let’s be real, we all do this. You might even be reading this on your phone now in front of friends or family. The point is, this works for me. I absolutely don’t feel guilty about this. The only time I do is when I’m with my son or my wife. This leads me to my last point.

3) It Forces Me To Be Intentional

Keeping these hard lines or boundaries, allows me to be intentional. I want to know that being on my laptop means it’s time to get work done. Being on my phone means, I can also get some work done, but I can also be a normal human being an enjoy my guilty pleasures like Instagram. And if I want to decompress at night while in bed, I can do so too.

I understand that this does not work for everyone. I have friends that totally get distracted by their phone. Some of my friends have even got off social media for a while because they know how addicted they get to their phone.

For me, I view my phone mostly a tool. It’s a utility for me. But it’s also a fun thing for me to enjoy and appreciate. I can use it to get work done, communicate with people I love, or just enjoy some guilty pleasures.

Don’t let productivity “gurus” make you feel guilty. Be a normal human being. Be intentional so that you can enjoy life.

My Happiness and My Fear Of Buzzwords

I’m gonna be honest. Today, I deleted some of what I was planning to post because I began questioning how I’m being perceived online.

There’s a lot of buzzwords going around these days. A lot of them bother me. It makes me think about being younger when kids would call names. Skater because of how I dressed even though I didn’t skate. Emo cause of some of the music I listened and still listen to even though I don’t understand why being emotional is a bad thing. Nerd because I wore/wear glasses. These are all generalizations based on perceived looks.

And the buzzwords I’m concerned about these days with regards to myself are personal brand and influencer.

I have no problem sharing how I feel online. I do it because I feel most people don’t do it. However, I feel that since I’m a wedding photographer I feel like I should not share so much of my personal life online regarding my wife and my stepson. I don’t want people to think I’m doing it for “branding”. And now that I’m trying to go into the world of sharing educational stuff for photographers, I’m afraid of someone calling me an influencer sometime in the future. In fact, I got my first email last week from some company saying they wanted to help me become a better influencer on Instagram after they saw my Instagram profile. I deleted the email and didn’t respond.

These are just my current thoughts I wanted to add to this post because I’ve been thinking a lot about my emotions. They’ve been through the roof the past month since I’ve been stuck in Waco with a slow wedding season.

Last week, I arrived in San Antonio to stay for a few days. And it’s almost certain that every time I visit San Antonio, I go visit my best friend at his bar. After feeling like I was beginning to lose my mind, it was nice to be there.

I was thinking about how funny it is that I used to hate San Antonio when I was young. The problem was though, that I was inviting infectious people into my life. I was going through a lot of trying to find myself. And you can’t find people to accept you for who you are if you don’t even know yourself.

While I was at the bar with my best friend, I realized how much I enjoy documenting things or people I love. I no longer can imagine living anywhere else other than San Antonio. I can’t wait to move back. A lot of what and who I love is in San Antonio, but I know that at some point I’m going to have to move past that. We all get old and things are unpredictable in life. I can’t rely on it all.

These are a few snapshots from that night. They aren’t amazing pieces of art, but they document how happy I felt visiting after being away for a month.

Today I Turn 35 Years Old

If I were to travel back in time and tell my younger teenage self that I’d live to be this old, my younger self would laugh and tell myself to fuck off. Lol. When I was young, I struggled with fitting in and finding my place in this world. I used to think about suicide when I was young, which is why these days it trips me out that I’ve made it this far in life.

I’m no longer suicidal. Those feelings stopped in my teenage years when I started playing in a band. As always, I never really know where I’m going when I’m typing out personal stuff. I just let my thoughts flow and don’t judge them.

But if I had to sum things up, it would be that I never imagined I’d make it to be 35, married with a stepson, still pursuing something creative, and not working for “the man”. I’m living a great life and I’m so grateful for all the things that happened in my life from when I was a child up until today. It’s shaped me to be who I am and to be honest, I’m proud of myself. Is that weird?

But if I had to be even more honest, it would be that even though I’m now 35, I still don’t have life figured out. I feel that no one ever really figures it out. You just figure out the small things along the way and correct course along the way. The important thing is to live your best life, be grateful, do great things, and remember that it’s okay to not have everything figured out.

How I Got Into Photography (The Short Version)

How I Got Into Photography

I’ve begun to start to talk more about my start of becoming a photographer lately because I’m no longer ashamed of myself. I’m also finding that people find my story intriguing.

A really long story cut short, I wanted to be a rockstar.

In my early 20’s, I had a band that toured and got offered a contract by a label. We turned it down and broke up circa 2005. I then felt lost in life for a few years and went through a deep depression.

Throughout my depression of trying to find myself, a friend recommended I pick up a camera. After I shot my first roll of film I became obsessed, because it was another form of creating something. I also felt I was good at something else other than making music. I would go out to a dive bar and photograph bands to connect with the music lifestyle I left behind while still expressing myself through creating photographs.

This photo is from 2011 and a part of that journey. This is how I literally learned how to use a camera. In these environments. Every dial, switch, camera technique, flash technique, etc, I all learned here. This is my roots.

Even In My Dark Times, I Still Find Light

I got into photography by accident in 2010. And I’m glad it happened. I feel it saved my life.

After I picked up a camera I became obsessed. I’m someone who likes learning new things. But most importantly, I’m someone who enjoys creating for the hell of it. It’s all I’m good at.

Photography pulled me out of a really bad depression.

That’s a story for another time. But the point I wanted to make in this post is that photography deep down still keeps me out of depression.

It numbs me in a good way. It forces me to think about moments. I feel things much deeper when I’m in the moment and taking a picture. And ultimately, that’s why I take pictures. It’s because in the moment, I’m feeling something and I want to document it and keep it to remember.

About 90% of the time, the photos I take are because I want to remember good things. For me, it’s this ongoing reminder of what to live for.

So when I find myself not taking as many pictures, I know something is wrong.

This has been something I’ve never really talked about publicly. This is also something that I feel people who are close to me also don’t understand.

I haven’t been picking up the camera lately.

However, I have noticed that when I’m out and about, the times where I do pick up the camera and take pictures is when I’m with my best friend and typically at his place of business, Ventura SATX. And this makes a whole lot of sense since it’s mygetawayy when I’m in San Antonio. Mikey is my best friend and even in my dark times, I still find light to photograph and want to remember. And his girl, Dani, is pretty awesome as well.