PROJECT NO FEAR: My Inner Demons

It took me this long to figure out what to say in Phase Two of this project because, although I did know exactly what my loudest inner demons were, I had no idea how to properly express why they were the loudest or how they truly made me feel. I think I know how to describe it now.

My inner demons are Depression and Anxiety. They have been with me for a long time now and have become somewhat akin to annoying aunts and uncles who have overstayed their welcome. Depression would be the aunt. always giving backhanded compliments and always showing up unannounced while you’re in the shower or something. Anxiety is the uncle, loud and obnoxious. You can feel uncle anxiety from a mile away but know that you cannot escape him. He is coming with cigar smoke to blow in your face. He is coming to take over your couch and watch loud football in you living room. He is coming to eat all of your food and then complain when you run out of cheesy puffs. He is coming, you know he is, but stubbornly you try to stand your ground because its your damn house, your damn couch and your damn food… but in the end he gets it all for a little while. When Uncle Anxiety and Aunt Depression finally leave, they do it with no pomp or circumstance because they have already done enough damage. No reward for giving your time and mental fortitude, no money to recoup the costs of damages. They leave and you are sitting on your kitchen floor drained of all energy in a pool of melted ice cream and tears. You are extremely humiliated and embarrassed by them and by your reactions to them. You are upset that you cannot just make them leave and be gone forever. You are upset that they’ll come back you do not know when. It’s a mess.

There is a bit of humor in there obviously, without humor I would not be here today to write this., but that is the best way for me to describe how it feels to have these sneaky little demons in my head and with me all the time.

I used to think that Depression and Anxiety would make me unlovable and unlikable. In fact, I have been told by actual human beings that my depression and anxiety make me unlikable and unlovable. Nevertheless, I try. The truth is, I’m genuinely happy most days. The other truth is that sometimes I force myself to be happy. However, though there are days when I win and win hard… there are still days that I lose. I take the L and move on most times.

I’ve been told that I need to seek treatment and be cured. I’m not ever going to be cured because it’s not that kind of disease. I’m okay with that. I have learned to live with that. I have definite safe guards in place and make sure to always tell my support system what’s going on. My family and my boyfriend have never once shunned me for who I am or what these two demons do to me and that is a WIN!

I’m open about this because I know what it feels like to be so close to ending everything and want others living with this to feel safe if they come to me with their concerns. It’s so easy to think that no one will care, but I do! I really, really do.

A classmate from my first semester of college.

A friend from high school.

An old student from when I was a martial arts instructor. 

Three people gone because they just didn’t think anyone would care. Three people gone because they simply thought they weren’t worth someones time.

If me talking to someone for a few minutes or even a few hours talks them away from the edge then you bet your ass I’ll make it happen.

If you’re reading this, you’re loved!

XOXO ❤ Neeks

Featured Photos by Beauty by Photography! Love her.Trapped

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What is an Event Planner or a Wedding Planner? Let this dummy explain.

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For the LONGEST time I assumed that there was absolutely no reason for a person to outsource the details and duties of their wedding, social or corporate event to someone paid to be there. It made absolutely no sense to me why someone could not plan their own wedding or their own child’s birthday party– then I got older.

While I may get an extreme type-A personality boner from planning things out, most people do not. Planning can be very stressful on a person when they have five million other things to worry about besides where Aunt Josephine is going to sit. A ton of people get anxiety when you ask them if they want eggshell or ivory tablecloths. I have seen people go into a fit of rage over why gravity chooses to make their banner specifically slouch an inch too far in the middle. Yes, their banner and yes, it’s them against gravity. When I finally started to realize that people hated planning and I loved planning to an almost unhealthy degree, it started to make sense as to how the wedding planning and event planning industries have been thriving for forever. I almost feel dumb for not realizing it sooner. Almost.

When it came to weddings, I was especially put off. It’s MY big day, why would I have someone else making decisions for me. Again, that’s the type-A coming out. When I was younger, if my mother did not get everything 100% for my birthday, I would silently pout and think of all the ways my five year old self could have done better with my measly piggy bank savings and my young wits. Now, I am not married, but if you’re reading this and think I don’t already have a road map for that day then, you have not been reading very closely. Here is why, I’m 90% certain I will be hiring a wedding planner when my time comes. The unaccounted 10% is for if I go into a random fit of rage or something. Anything can happen.

  1. A Wedding Planner provides fresh eyes and a level head. This will be totally necessary for me because my affinity for planning does not ever factor in my tendency to dream big. If I say I want 12 white stallions to pull me from my house to the church steps while Childish Gambino sings to me, the wedding planner will point out every reason why that is just not going to happen. This is important.
  2. A Wedding Planner’s job is to help you stay in the realm of reality (based on your budget and the laws of physics) and to get you the best deals with wedding vendors. Wedding Vendors meaning: bridal hair, makeup and nail salons, wedding dress sellers, tux sellers, flower sellers, table rentals, venues, decor, so on and so forth. They often have people in their roster who will offer exclusive deals when you book through that planner. Remember, they want to get paid so, they are going to help you save the most you can elsewhere.
  3. A Wedding Planner’s reputation is everything to them. This is not a job where they show up, give you advice and go on their merry way. They will spend hours and days behind the scenes getting things ready for you. They will research the absolute best vendors for what you want, they will be there when you have a mental breakdown three weeks before the big event and they will be doing all of this with a smile on their face. There are way too many professions out there where if someone does a terribad job, they still get paid and they will still get business because people just do not care. This is not one of them. A wedding planner can be made or broken by one B.B.F (bride bitch fit) and, in understanding that as a very real danger, they do their best every single time.
  4. When you look crazy, they have your back. This one is pretty self-explanatory but, once you start grilling the florist on why they don’t have a flower in this specific shade of purple, your wedding planner is going to be the reason you get the shade or at least a close approximation.
  5. On the day of, you can enjoy being a bride/groom instead of worrying if everything is setup. This is so important. I cannot imagine seeing anything worse than a bride, half primped, running around setting up tables and ushering people to their seats when she should be getting ready for her grand moment. Having your planner there to coordinate the day of is so necessary! Honestly it’s amazing to me that more people do not think of this.
  6. They will take care of clean up most of the time. Let’s be real, some planner packages may not include cleanup. The one’s that do, however, are invaluable! Think about it, you’ve said “I do,” had the reception, your groom carries you to the limo and… you guys get back out because you need to clean up and/or supervise cleanup. Nah. That is not happening to me.

In short, I have seen the errors of my past thoughts. A wedding or an event planner is completely necessary and entirely legitimate and I want to say sorry for all the times I doubted you all. I was extremely naive!

 

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Disclaimer: I do work for a super excellent wedding and event planner now. This is not an attempt at butt-kissery, but merely a way to show people that I too knew nothing like Jon Snow. 

Hugs and Kisses XO – Neeks

Apartment Chronicles: A New Drama Emerges

Living in an apartment seemed like a good idea until I realized that I really hate sharing my space with strangers when my spaces isn’t to be shared. Don’t get me wrong, there are some super great people in the small building of the complex but, there are also some horrifically entitled and awful people here.

First we dealt with the loud partiers above  us. They had parties every weekend for about two and half months. We tried being cool about it but, when you have work in the morning, you simply cannot let that stuff slide. When you live in an apartment you must be extra mindful of those around you. Especially when you live in an old building (as we do). They took it fairly well by the way. They kind of calmed down after the cops were called the third time. I think they finally got the message after we had to go to management and formally write them up. Again, both me and my SO did not want to be “those” people but, come on! 

Today’s drama started when I finally found the key to the storage room. I went in and was really excited to finally get some of the crap out of our apartment and LO AND BEHOLD the people below us (and over one) decided to take our unit. They plastered over our number and everything, ya’ll. I mean that puppy was full of their stuff. So, me being me, I asked myself if it was worth it to cut the lock off and throw all of their stuff around the room. I decided against it and called up management, informed them of the issue and sent a long email containing proof (pictures, video, etc). When we first moved in, I took a video of me visiting the storage unit and everything so there was proof from basically last year that unit belongs to the apartment. So, here we are battling neighbors again.

There are a ton of legal issues with what they did but I’m waiting to hear back from management before I move on it. If you are ever going through anything similar, feel free to message me about it! We can commiserate! Until next time, love!

❤ Neeks 

Negative Energies and You!

We live in rough times. It seems like everyone is scrambling while the privkedged few have everything. Very often it may feel like you just cannot get you footing and move forward. I’ve mentioned before that I have depression and anxiety disorders, that sucks, and they definitely made calming myself and balancing out my energies a lot harder than it needed to be in the past. So, I thought I share a story and share my super easy process to ridding myself of negative energies and thoughts! 

Yesterday was the final day in a line of super gray, super rainy, just all around awful days this month. I was starting to really feel the effects of that. I felt slower, lazier, unmotivated to do anything of value to my life. I also realized just how far behind I had gotten on some projects, got into the dumbest fight with a friend, found out that one of my model’s was going to break her contract, and (this is the kicker) the orange elect may have cost me my job with his stupid hiring freeze.

I was a mess. A hot, sweaty mess. 

So I spent the day getting bombarded by negative texts, having negative messages pummel my FB, and feeling like some form of crappy turtle. I tried working out the frustration but even then, the messages got to me. 

So how did this all solve itself? It didn’t. My friend chose to push my buttons and block me from seeing her statuses, petty. The model may or may not understand that I will take her to court. This is my art. The job thing is way in the air and I don’t know if it’s coming down. It was just all too much. 

I spent some time talking to some good friends about the various situations, friend who don’t yell at me over insignificant issues that are solved through logic, and they let me know that I handled most of it the best I could. One friend let me have it about getting down about the job so hard. Her points were completely valid and I love her. Immediately after I began the negative cleanse. It’s super easy and I’ll list the steps for you.

1. Pull up your favorite playlist.

2. Gather your favorite aromatics.

3. Arrange those thing in the bathroom and turn on the hot water until the bathroom is full of steam while brushing your hair.

4. Turn down water if you need to, get in shower.

5. Wash away all the negative thoughts and energies. Stay in as long as you need to.

6. Get out, dry off, go to bed.

See! Super easy and it works. 

Today I woke up to a face full of sun and boy, did it feel good. I feel rejuvenated. I feel like yesterday happened but it was stupid so I don’t care about it. With these sunbeams I have moved on and I am in a better headspace. LETS DO THIS! 

/rantingandrambling lol.

❤️Neeks 

Morning After

This is not a pregnancy scare story.

Yesterday a candidate came in for her PROJECT: NO FEAR boudoir shoot. I was super excited, she was super excited… I don’t think either of us was really prepared for the backlash and onslaught of negative emotions after her shoot.

To be frankly honest with you, dear reader, this may have been the best one yet. Her photos were fire, she came with so much creativity and, and this is the most important part, she felt good after the shoot. When she told me that her perception of herself changed by the end of the shoot I nearly cried. That is what this project is all about for me. However, I would also like to be able to show off my work. Especially when the photos are just that fabulous. 

My issue is that after the teaser was posted her brother saw, told mom and then all hell seemed to break loose. I took down the photo out of sadness for her getting berated but also because I knew this family. I had known this family for a long time. After taking it down though, I must admit to being kind of angry. These were my photos, my pieces art. I had a model release that said so. By law, I can do what I want with the photos, others be damned, but is it right? I don’t want to see this young lady get chewed up by her own family no less for the classy and confident boudoir pictures she came to create. 

What to do? 

Do I think it’s completely unfair? Of course. It’s unfair to me and to the model who came in and worked through mental barriers just to shoot with me that day. She was probably the most positive and and most willing to really embrace the spirit of this project. I have the right to show of the work but do I have the ability to turn of my emotions and not care what brash and unwarranted reaction she’ll get from her brother and parents and who knows who else? No. I’m honestly not sure. 

The worst part of all of this would be that her teaser was basically fully clothed. She was in an oversized jersey, holding a football and wearing a SnapBack. There was absolutely nothing racy about her photo when compared to, say, literally anyone else who came in. I say that was a chuckle but, it’s still sad! 


That wasn’t her teaser photo but, that was the look.

I barely slept last night because these photos, you guys, these photos are simply gorgeous. I understand that seeing you daughter or sister like this may be startling at first but try to get out of your head for a second and look at all of the confidence that was coursing through her. Look at the positive energy! Look at the sheer beauty and grace this young lady possessed throughout her shoot while managing to quell insecurities and worries. That takes work and it takes talent. She had both.

I’ve kind of steeled myself for the hate I may receive from her family. It’s unfortunate because this is personal on several levels for me. First level, I love the family. Second level, the model in question was brilliant and I very much want to show off the work we made. Third level, I am all about female empowererment so the whole situation really irks me. I have to be honest about that but I also have to say that it’s not my culture so, I will never fully understand. That’s the simplest way for me to put that statement. Forth level, YOU LITERALLY DO NOT UNDERSTAND HOW GORGEOUS THESE PHOTOS ARE. It may be my best work yet and I can’t show it! The frustration is real.

If the degrees of separation weren’t so close, I would have said something along the lines of “sorry but you signed a release…” a while ago. This hurts. This just hurts. I’ve covered my ass but, who will cover hers? I don’t want be that photographer that ignores the plight of their models but, I have put a lot of time and effort into shoot and editing afterwards. I’m not just going to let the photos figuratively collect dust. 

I will be dropping the set but, not at my normal time frame. She was excited to share these with you all and they will be shared. I hope that you all join me in wishing her the best of luck with all of this. 

😢 Neeks

Model Lessons from Neeks

Over the course of my modeling adventures I’ve had fabulous experiences. There are photographers that I am absolutely in love with for the vision and skill and there are models that is totally love to work with or work with again. It’s been a great chance to get creative and a great chance to get out there. That being said, I’ve had some rough experiences and met some really, let’s say, high-strung model’s. 

This is all meant to shed some light for new models and to, hopefully, get a laugh out of some veteran models. I will not use names mostly because I do not want traffic generated to anyone’s page that surely does not deserve it. Without further adieu, Neeks’ ever growing list of model advice and my person tales of woe.

1. Always have foundation in your color available whether a makeup artist is available or not. I’ve never experienced a MUA not having a foundation in my skin tone but, I’ve heard horror stories. It’s best to just be prepared in the event of anything. In fact, always have a small makeup kit on you that you can use to make multiple looks. Just in case. 

2. Always have staple clothing items. Bodysuits, lingerie, tights or thigh highs, extra heels in style that could flatter any outfit. Even if a stylist is there and clothing is provided NEVER assume they’ll get everything right for YOU. I went to a shoot a while ago where the clothing was to be provided and none of the clothes were flattering on their own. I knew it, the photographer knew it and the stylist knew it. Apparently the issue was that I was far more busty than anticipated. So, how did we fix the situation? We used one of the bodysuits I came with, a skirt that the stylist came with and made it work. Those pictures never got returned to me but, we’ll talk about that later.

3. Always have some neato accessories with you. Same as above, you just never know when you’ll need to spice up a look.

4. If you’re shooting TFP (or even if your shooting full contract) get it in writing that you will receive your photos in a reasonable amount of time. Reasonable meaning two weeks to six weeks tops. I cannot tell you how annoying it is to work really hard on a shoot, have a great time and never see the photos. This has happened to me twice and I WISH someone had told me to always get a relative time frame in writing. Photographers are far more likely to stick to a written agreement than a spoken one. 

As a photographer as well, I like to think that I can see both sides relatively well. In short, photographer that don’t give back photos are crap. 

4. If a photographer is choosing photos for you, it is PROFESSIONAL to tell them that you do not agree with their choice. Tell them, don’t post all over social media. It’s so imparitive that model’s understand this crucial fact: not all photographers will send you the raw files of your photos. When it happens, great. They are blatantly saying that they trust you to do as you please with the photos. However, if they do not give you the raw files, don’t get mad. It takes a ton of time to pick out good ones, edit them and get them to you. If they ask you to pick, even better.

Again, I have been on both sides of this and it’s best just to communicate rather than argue or bad mouth for both parties. 

5. If you shoot with other models, please be understanding of the fact that they are modeling for their portfolios as well. This has not happened to me but I’ve heard tales of model’s fighting for camera time. There is no need to be petty on set. If you feel like someone is blocking you from the camera or even getting more camera time, voice your concerns calmly. It could simply be a case of the model not realizing they were doing anything untoward. Everyone gets into the zone on set.

6. There will be people you never want to work with, let alone see again. That’s fine. Out of my entire adventure as a model and as a photographer I’ve only come across one or two people I’d never work with again. I had my moment of extremely petty behavior and got over it. You should too. Professionalism is often what people look at when thinking about booking you for the first time or for the fifth time. That being said, if you don’t want to work with someone again, be professional about that as well. 

“Fuck no!” Can easily be turned into “I wish you the best, but no.” See. Easy. 

“You’re a syohilis ridden piece of dick cheese festering on a hot day,” can easily turn into. “No thank you.” Trust me, your conscious will thank you. 

7. Be flexible. Physically, emotionally, mentally and of course creatively. You have to.be able to roll with the punches sometimes. You have to tweak what your image might have been for the shoot to what actually is possible. Be ready to understand when something goes wrong like the photographer is five minutes late. Be flexible with yourself as well. Again, maybe you’re just having an off day. You just never know what is going to happen the day of, during or the day after a shoot. 

8. Know when to walk away. Photographers, representation and businesses come in all shapes and sizes. The one thing you should never compromise on is respect. If someone insults you, belittles you or simple does not respect your time and worth, walk away. 


This guy was a complete asshat and I did my best to remain professional and cordial through his insinuations of prostitution and the like. He begged for hours for me to go have a meeting with him and I simply refused based on his inability to have a professional exchange. Walk away. 

There are so many more lessons I’ve learned from being in front of the camera and behind the camera. Mostly I’ve learned that people are people. Stuff happens. 

If you’ve found this helpful and would like to know more about my personal journey into modeling and photography, let me know! I’m more than happy to share. 

Should you want to check me out elsewhere, see the following:

FACEBOOK

INSTAGRAM

TWITTER

Until next time! 

💋Neeks

PROJECT: NO FEAR – Confessions.

In elementary school I was always the new kid. I skipped going to kindergarten on the recommendation of several school officials. I got bullied even. In middle school things weren’t all that different but, I had made some good friends. In high school things changed for me.

Freshmen year I got boobs. They didn’t magically pop up or anything, they literally went through all the cup sizes, finally settling at an unwanted D. I hated my boobs. All through sophomore and half of junior year I wore this black Harley Davidson sweater that was three sizes too big to hide them. Yes, even when it was hot out. By the end of junior year I felt comfortable enough wearing t-shirts. 

By my senior year I had gotten to a point where I’d be considered attractive. Saying that now leaves a sour taste in my mouth because I hated myself back then. I hated how I spoke, how I walked, how I looked… everything. Everything accept my artistic ability and my writing. I wish I had monopolized on that more.

By the end of senior year I had a “boyfriend.” The use of quotation marks is used to denote the fact that he wasn’t really a boyfriend at all. It was my first “real” relationship and to be frankly honest with you, I was an insane person. Because our relationship didn’t fit the mold I had in my head, this poor boy was subjected to endless lectures about how he should be rather than what he was. In my defense, he did steal my car to get hotdogs and he didn’t even get me one. Rude.

The following year I got diagnosed with clinical depression and anxiety. This hit me hard. The image I tried so hard to project at all times was now confirmed to be complete and utter bullshit. Facing that was probably my greatest battle. Oh and the guy, the “boyfriend,” he dumped me. Again, to him I was crazy. Whateves.

I spent a long time “discovering” myself after that. How? I had a ton of sex honestly, flunked out of college… okay not really but, I did take a long break from my studies. I eventually got wrapped up in an abusive relationship with a new guy who I was over the moon for. I went back to school. Left a job that I loved after I broke up with said abusive guy and the business did nothing when the abuse was happening during work hours. He also told everyone I was a slut blah blah blah, normal broken-up-with guy banter. 

At this point you’re probably wondering how reinvention comes into play. I’m getting there. 

During all of that horrible nonsense, I discovered a lot about my sexuality, my ability to love and the seemingly boundless energy I have to create. I loved photography, I loved modeling, I loved being active, I loved my family and I knew, above all else, that I had neglected all of those things for far too long. I realize now that all of that bad was needed to show me what and how I was supposed to be. It showed me, well, me. 

I’m probably going to write more about these experiences so, if you’re interested please let me know. If you want to know about something specific, also let me know. I will be an open book. It is so important to me that while PROJECT: NO FEAR is going on, I make myself available to anyone and everyone because I get it. I’ve probably been to similar dark places and seen similarly dark things. No one should feel alone, no one should be afraid. 

Maybe you don’t want to comment here, that’s cool. You can find me on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter too! 

💋Neeks