Yes, this post is about me, but it starts with Brianna & Ewan. After I even write their names I squeal and want to run to canada to give them a huge hug.
As I walked through customs coming into Canada last Monday, I was asked how I knew my Canadian friends. I said the Internet, (then thought, oh that sounded weird) then I said well actually we formally met in Vegas…oooh even more weird. Truth be told. I met Brianna & Ewan after I bid on their Thirst Relief mentor session for the pure reason of swag. Um..Red Cart at a discount? What? Of course I will mentor with these folks I am sure I can learn something from them, but the product was my focus. Boy did God just plan this one out perfectly.
I actually met the this pair at a random dinner in the middle of the MGM and had no idea how to pronounce Ewan. No idea what to expect, I had barely gone to their website. We greeted each other and had some good laughs with our mutual friend Melissa. The plan was for me to come visit Canada and do my mentor session there. After Vegas, I was genuinely excited to meet them and learn.
Visiting them at their home in Canada exactly a year ago was such a trying time in my photography career. Not only did they welcome me into their home with open arms, poutine and 2 fat cats. They opened my eyes to a whole new world of photography & so many life lessons that I never in my wildest of dreams could have expected. That was the beauty of it. I had no idea who they were, their story, their work. I just was excited to learn and meet new friends. I quickly fell in love with their adorable red headed girls and found myself laughing continuously. Not only did Brianna & Ewan teach me so many wonderful nuggets and systems to work on with my business. It wasn’t like any other mentorship experience, it was so real, they were so invested and they truly have a heart, passion and knowledge for giving back.
Most of all, I experienced being shot by Ewan. Last year it was a game changer for me. It was a moment that I forever remember. I have always been super concerned about how I look. I hated my arms. I was so worried about the right outfit, the right faces. I thought to myself “Dang I am a photographer I should be good at all of this stuff”, but as most of us admit it is interesting how uncomfortable we feel on the other side of the camera. I was extremely nervous for this part, but after a full day of mentoring with Brianna & Ewan I trusted them with my whole heart and just followed their lead. This was the first time in my life I ever felt truly comfortable during my session. I was for that 2hrs me. Gina Iolanda Zeidler and I wasn’t trying to be anyone else. I laughed really hard, and listened and did whatever Ewan said. Even though I was concerned about how stupid my serious face would be. I remember laughing into oblivion during our shoot. It was brilliant. fun. and so worth it. But here is the kicker, as I waited for the blog post to come I was anxious.
Anxious because I always have a photo or two I sort of like, meaning I can crop it here or I am sort of smiling here, but most of the time when I am looking at me I am critiquing. Noticing where I should lose weight here or I wishing I had longer hair…etc. It was always almost expectant to see the bad photos. The ones I was too embarrassed for others to see. I remember opening that post and scrolling and scrolling and going….Wait. Where is it? Where is the nasty one, where I don’t look right or I want no one to see? I couldn’t find it. Sure there are a couple could nit pick, but I was so overwhelmingly overtaken at how much I actually LIKED what I saw. I saw me, the beginning of digging into my authentic self. I think I email Brianna in close to 2.2 seconds asking to get web versions for my facebook, purely because I was so in love with what I saw. Now this may sound tright to some of you, but for me, who dreaded my body, my self image, this was a break through.
Since that day I have experienced more and more and more breakthroughs during the past year. From my Making Things Happen happenings (which I will post about in the coming weeks), to my IsagameON experience that has lead transforming my life and my body. I am so blessed to have someone who sees the real me and can capture it to perfection (hence my photos from my last session all over the website). My second time shooting last week with Ewan was just as amazing as the first. Yet this time I felt so comfortable in my own skin. I smiled as I reflected on this past year of enormous growth. Knowing I am in such an amazing place in life and the journey as just begun. Praising God for his provision and grace. I didn’t worry about if I was posing right. Doing the smirk right. I was just me. Seriously Ewan, I will jump through fire. off a bridge. whatever you say, because you create brilliance. Absolute brilliance.
Ladies and Gentlemen, visiting them is so much more of a privilege on my part. They are beautiful people. They are themselves, they don’t participate in the industry drama. They are so gracious and giving and they have been through the photography ropes for years now and are doing this work, the best way. The way that works for them. Their family comes first. The boundaries they set in order to keep their priorities straight are amazing and beautiful. I feel so blessed to know these two. I am consistently blown away at Ewan’s work. I am so enamored at Brianna’s grace and knowledge. But, most of all I love how my week is brighten by their weekly “The good, the bad, the blog” posts. The posts about their life. Their true story, because who they are period is such a gift. A gift to all of us and far more worthy than Red Cart. 🙂
I will always be forever grateful to these two for how they have changed my heart, my business, and ultimately giving me that push that it is OK to be me. Even if they didn’t know it. Their true authenticity and their voices makes me want to be better, work harder and give more.
(All the photos below were taken by the brilliant photographer & life-long friend Ewan Phalen. Words cannot describe at how amazing and overjoyed I feel about these images of me. Literally every. single. one. I seriously jumped up and down, sqeauled and maybe have peeked at them over 100 times tonight, thinking “is that really me?” But it is. Inside and Out. Thank you Ewan & Brianna. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.)