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2016-05-25

Denisa-golden-hour

Looking back on the last couple of months, my life has taken an unexpected turn. Not radically. The change has come gradually, with every week that passed and every photo shoot I had.

I used to be an outsider. During secondary school, not a lot of people bothered to be friends with me. It changed during my first year in high school, but I was thrown back into the outsider-role during my exchange year in Uruguay. Try imagining being a 16 years old girl in a foreign country far away from home, surrounded by people who show you that they don’t give a shit about you.

I returned to Switzerland thinking that I’m on my own, that ‘friends’ wouldn’t be there for me when I really needed them. I was emotionally unstable and it took me one year with mental breakdowns every now and then until some of my classmates turned into friends and I hesitantly opened up again. Fast forward another year, I got together with my dearest love and while I was satisfied with who I was and my social life, I still had the subordinating thinking within me. That I’m less worth than the extroverted, popular people, the ‘cool crowd’.

beautiful-vanessaAnd now I’m meeting those people through my photography. Vanessa is a great example for that. She was one year above me in secondary school and I remember seeing her in the bus with her bold, colourful hair and look that spoke of self-confidence and coolness. I thought that people like her lived in a different world than me, that we’ll never mingle, but now we’ve planned a little project together – and she helped me build some sense of fashion and get the self-confidence that comes with that (thank you so much, my dear!!).

Richie is another example. We met online around nine years ago and texted for a while, but never got to meet in person. We lost touch, but found each other again through my photography. However, when I went to the cinema with my family and saw him (for the first time!) with his buddies sitting in front of us, I didn’t dare to say hi. For some reason, he had this ‘gangster‘ image to me and I was intimidated.

Shortly afterwards I wanted to take photos of young adults that had something special about them for my application and I had to think of Richie – but I didn’t dare to ask him. A friend in common encouraged me so at the end, the three of us met for a shoot and I realised he’s not the tough, unapproachable guy, too cool for me, at all. On the contrary. He’s super kind, interesting, a fellow creative and even a bit shy.

richie-dominique-badass

There are more examples of ‘cool, popular’ people I’ve always known by sight, but never thought I’d actually get to meet – until I started photography last autumn. It has changed everything and leaves me confused. My circle of acquaintances has rapidly increased. Have I become a bit more popular? Or are they just meeting me to get the photos and don’t care about me at all? Or is it simply time to jettison my concepts of popularity?

We’re not in school anymore, where everyone had their circle of friends they hardly left. I get the chance to mingle with people from other social circles. It’s not about coolness or popularity anymore. The right kind of people will see me for who I am; they won’t judge me based on my ‘coolness’ and they won’t exploit me, but actually enjoy the work with me. Maybe they like to be a part of the passionate fire that burns bright within me.

It’s scary to walk around firmly believing in the good intentions of people. But I don’t want to continue living with the belief that I’m worth less and that people only hang out with me to get something out of it. Of course, we get in touch through my photography, but I want to believe there is more to it. I’m not the victim from back then anymore, it’s time to see myself as an equal.


Models: First photo – Denisa • Second photo – Vanessa • Third photo – Richie and Dominique

37 Comments
    1. I think people come to know you because of your work, but once they get to know, you the person, they find you unique and extremely cool, in your own special way. When I was in middle school, I was bullied and it has taken me most of my life to get over it. I am introverted, but really find peace in being this way. I think your work is beautiful and so are you.

      1. Oh Penelope, thank you so much for your lovely words! It made me so happy to read them. I feel so flattered to hear that you think of me in this way. I’m sorry you got bullied, but I’m glad you were finally able to get over it and now you’re spreading so much love. I’m also introverted, but connecting with people in a deeper is something I love to do. Have a wonderful week and take care! x

    1. Monika, really nice piece… you’ve just been everywhere :-)
      It is true that there are people who like us for who we authentically are. And that’s what the foundation of true friendship is. Those are the kind of friends we want and the ones that last.

      However, human nature dictates that we gravitate towards people who need something from us and vice versa. It sucks but it kinda is the truth. I guess it’s a form of networking. We just have to be sensitive about it and make sure that we don’t fall victims to that either way. I found out the hard way when I got injured and lost my job and could work for several years. I used to make a lot of money. That’s when I found out who my real friends were. Now I’m very picky.
      God bless…

      1. haha yes, I was lucky I got to see and live in many different places in my young life! :)

        Your second paragraph got me thinking and I realised that I’m doing exactly the same – I only work with people who match my photographic style, meaning that I only collaborate when I get something out of it (that sounds so awful, but I guess everyone does it). So I guess I don’t have to worry about getting to know so many (popular) people who want to work with me and see it as a compliment – as long as they’re real (and not being nice just to get something out of me).

        I’m sorry to hear that you got injury had so many negative consequences, but I’m glad that at least you know who your real friends are now!

        Take care and thank you for commenting x

        1. Gosh! I just realized my response had a lot of typo. so embarrassing!

          What you’re talking about is about work, (networking) not necessarily how you pick your friends so that’s not bad at all.

          I’m talking about people who pick friends coz they have their own jet or yacht or have a beach house in Hawaii or a villa in France or somewhere in Europe. That kinda stuff…

          There are no accidents.
          Things happen for a reason.

          xoxox from sunny Cali :-)

          1. haha don’t worry, that happens to me too ;D

            Ah yeah, well sometimes the people I work with turn to friends so I think in the creative business, the lines are a bit blurred. But yeah, I realised that while I’m aware that it’s a work relationship at the beginning, I’ll be fine.

            haha, I’m too young to have those problems concerning yacht, beach house in Hawaii etc. :D

            Take care, hugs from cloudy and rainy Switzerland haha <3

    1. I have a similiar experience. In highschool there was the group of ‘cool kids’ and I was in a different group altogether. I was happy but shy. Years later I see them out at bars, I’ve got together with a lot of them and some have admitted to having small crushes on me back then.Even wanting to date me after highschool. Totally flabberghasted me. They’re just regular human beings like me! And what a boost of confidence it is!

      1. Your comment is so cute and totally made me smile – thank you for sharing this lovely anecdote! I’m glad you were able to find out about it and I’m sure it was quite a big boost of confidence. I guess we wished to find out earlier about it, but better late than never :D Thank you for your comment and take care! x

    1. … And then some day it won’t even matter .. nothing REALLY matters except not knowing that you are not being your true self the one that just doesn’t give a shit about anything except following your own path … Establishing yourself artistically, asking questions, fin d out who people are. I NEVER give advice …I feel compelled to comment because there’s something about you that is like something about me. I was taught to believe that certain aspects about myself were true but they were pretty negative traits that were emphasized. So I’ve had a pretty fucked up life in many respects but I did well as a parent. I don’t know what I’m saying. We live our lives as a reflection of the person we want to be. We compensate for our ‘inability’. I can say this without reservation, you are doing EXACTLY what you should be doing. Now run with it ..!!! Ks

      1. Hello Mr Struble!
        Thank you so much for your comment. It took me a while to answer because it meant a lot to me and I really wanted to take my time. Recently some things have happened and I realised that this particular sentence of yours totally applies to me now: “nothing REALLY matters except not knowing that you are not being your true self the one that just doesn’t give a shit about anything except following your own path” I’m going to write a post about that very soon!
        I’m really happy you took your time to comment and I appreciate it a lot, especially when you say that you normally don’t do it! I’m glad to hear that you did well as a parent. I think it’s fascinating how we on first sight have nothing in common and yet you could relate with what I wrote and I think your comment was really helpful. I love blogging because of these situations :) Thank you for your encouragement! I hope you are doing well, take care!

    1. You are learning to love yourself. That is all that matters really, what other people think of you is not worthy of your concern. Live for today, let the past be the past.

      1. Thank you for your comment, Barbara :) After writing this post, someone I considered a friend ‘recalled’ her friendship with me for no apparent reason so reading your comment helped me to deal with it. Take care x

    1. Awww you’re the cutest! <3
      To be honest I always saw you in middle school and thought "woah a fellow asian" but I kinda was too shy or stupid to come up to you and be like: "Oh wow, what's your heritage blah blah blah"
      Back then I wasn't as random as today where I make friends online with people that actually live nearby or sign up for random activities where I will meet complete strangers.
      I'm not as "cool" as I might seem. Especially when it comes to job interviews I'm always super nervous or in general if I have to meet new people I just talk like a waterfall and may come up super silly so there have been many times that people actually thought I was plain stupid. And that's probably where I get my IDGAF-attitude from: No matter how I dress or what hair colour I have I will always be underestimated at first and surprise people if they actually get to know me better.
      People don't like me or treat me like shit? Well byeee there are still a lot of other awesome human beings that would love to spend time with me. Please never forget that you don't have to down yourself for others, if they don't care about you especially if you need them: Drop them, they're not worth it! And believe me I had to learn this lesson myself a couple of times.

      No matter what anyone else says I think you're pretty cool even before I got to know you :-* <3

      P.S. Geeeze I'm the worst sorry for this long ass comment hahaha

      1. No, YOU’re the cutest! <3 thank you so much for your lovely comment, I enjoyed reading it a lot <3

        hahaha I'd have be dumbfounded if you had approached me because I always thought I was invisible ;)

        When we met for our first shoot and you came towards me with your headphones, sunglasses and everything I thought "oh, she looks as tough, cool and unapproachable as I remember" but I already knew from your messages that you were not (well, of course you're cool and tough in a good way, but not unapproachable :D) and the moment you talked you were exactly like in your messages and I was happy haha

        I love this part of your comment: "People don't like me or treat me like shit? Well byeee there are still a lot of other awesome human beings that would love to spend time with me." I've been struggling with this but now I'm slowly learning that it really doesn't matter and that they don't deserve my attention. I'm sorry you had to go through that lesson a couple of times :/ but at least you're surrounded by great people who appreciate you now! :)

        dawww thank you so much! <3 that makes me really happy :)

      1. Thanks :) I’m sorry to hear that your time in school wasn’t pleasant – good it’s over now! take care :)

    1. I think you have a beautiful compassionate heart and about people liking you for your photography, isn’t that talent a part of who you are as well?? x
      Breathtaking first shot especially!
      And PS. I’m a huge introvert as well. Always been the outsider as well, ‘the weird one’, so reading your words sometimes feel like reading the story of my life. ha
      Hope you’re having a great day, and I was so thrilled to read of your acceptance into the school last time!

      1. Hi dearest Cara! <3
        Thank you so much for your kind words. I guess you're right, my photography is part of my vision and how I see and feel. Now I realise that other photographers also first catch my attention via their photography, but that their photos leave me intrigued about the person behind the camera :)
        I can't believe you used to be an outsider! You are so beautiful, shining from inside out and seem to be full of confidence. Your aura is amazing :) but I'm happy to hear that we're similar in this aspect and both were able to grow out of our roles! :)
        Have a great week, all the best to you and your lovely family <3

    1. Your photographs are stunning, and your writing is courageous and beautiful.

    1. I didn’t really enjoy school – I just ‘pretended’ and always felt ‘on the outskirts’ of the cool crowd – although I’ve spent a lifetime keeping that feeling buried, I still feel it’s presence lurking always waiting for an opportunity to ‘pounce’ … Thanks for sharing your experience and I’m so pleased that through your photography you’ve discovered that we all share our inner insecurities.. xx

      1. Hi Wendy, thank you for sharing your experience with me! I’m sorry to hear that you still feel the presence of this uncomfortable feeling, I hope it’s not bothering you too much.. and hopefully you’ll be able to really win against it one day :) It’s amazing how many lovely people I’ve met so far and how open they’ve been about their insecurities. I’m really lucky!
        Take care and have a lovely week! <3

        1. I think many of us share that same insecurity formed when we were at school. Don’t get me wrong though – it hasn’t held me back and I’ve grown to really love communicating with people but just occasionally something happens that sparks that early insecurity.. You have an amazing week too. x

          1. Yes, I agree with you! I’m glad that it hasn’t held you back :) take care x

    1. I guess we all feel weird at such a young age, even the kids you thought they were cool – they were probably struggling as well! ;) I went to school & high school in Portugal and I remember everyone thought I was cool because I spoke 2 languages and I was travelling to Switzerland on every vacations to see my dad. However, the ‘Swiss girl’ status I had wasn’t cool for me at all… I always felt like an outsider because I had a Swiss name and I wasn’t born there like everyone else. See? :)
      Then we grow up and learn to deal with self-confidence + we realize everyone is unique & approachable!

      1. haha it’s funny to hear that, thank you for sharing your experience! I think there are two kinds of being/feeling weird – one is ‘forced upon you’ by the others, your social status, and the other one is how you perceive yourself and the insecurities we all have. I’d say that the first kind is the one that makes you think that you’re less worth than others, maybe because of the way you’re treated? I might be wrong though :)
        haha, unfortunately I’m afraid that not everyone realises we’re all unique and the “same” (meaning nobody is better or worse), but generally I agree with you :) have a lovely week <3

        1. Yes, generally speaking of course! There are always some people that think they’re better or cooler ;) and unfortunately will never change their minds… Have a great week as well!
          (I went to Zurich yesterday for work, I thought about contacting you but then realized it was pointless as I went early in the morning and left by the end of the day)

          1. ahh what a pity you didn’t have any extra time, but so nice that you thought of me :) maybe the next time if you return before July :)

    1. I think you are amazing to express your thoughts and feelings deep within while you are young. Being vulnerable with these thoughts gives great returns, though it may not appear to do so at this time. I’m 62 and though special teachers in my school years saw my struggles , I didn’t know who or what I was and spent most of my teens and twenties being only 10% or so present in the moment. Today I practice mindfulness, being fully engaged in the here and now, not the past or future. Live in mindfulness and enjoy. You have a great potential for happiness when you continue to apply the wonderful path you are on. God bless!

      1. Thank you so much for your comment! I appreciate it a lot when people with more life experience than me tell me that; I feel reassured and it encourages me to follow this path. I think the feedback I receive for posts like this already makes it worth it. Mindfulness is a familiar to me and I want to practice it more as well. I’m glad you were able to get where you are today. Thanks for sharing your story. Your comment really made me happy, thank you very much. Have a beautiful day and take care :) x

    1. Hi, Monika! Thanks for liking My Happy List. I have read two of your posts and I have to say I like you already! And the pics are very good as well (read: I’m envious). Wish I could follow through WordPress, but as it is, I can only do that if I subscribe, so I will :) Keep doing what you do. Your art and your words, especially YOU, are beautiful.

      1. Hi J.Gi – aw that’s such nice thing to say, thank you so much! I’m glad I appear likable through my blog :) and haha it flatters me that you’re envious but there’s to reason to be! I’ve not even been photographing for a year, you can achieve that too if you want to :) you can follow me through WordPress actually! Just head to Reader > Followed Sites / Manage > and enter my URL :)
        Thank you so much, you too are beautiful <3 have a lovely day!

        1. LOL!!!! Now, I know! I’ve been having the same problems lately with some non-WP blogs, mainly Blogspot. It used to be easier to just click on FOLLOW. I don’t really like following via email because I tend to miss emails. Anyhoo, WP says I’m already subscribed so I hope to see your posts on my Reader :)

          1. hmm but my blog is a WP blog, so it should have the follow-button in the bottom right (when you’re at the top of my page) .. anyways, you’re the second one to tell me that it was not to be seen. WP didn’t tell me that you subscribed haha but I hope it works out, I’m glad I could help :)

    1. Appreciate you dropping by my blog Monika and liking my latest posting. Fred and Wilma always gave me a good laugh, and this new spot was no different. Glad I made you smile with them. :)

      1. Hi Joe, thanks for dropping by and leaving your comment. Have a lovely Sunday evening! :)

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