Where Have I Been?

            All my life I have struggled with jumping from one thing to another, usually due to some new interest that has appeared, or just because I got bored with my current interest. There are a few things over the years that I continually return to or have never lost an interest in, movies, photography, art/drawing. 

One of those interests, photography, has been one that I’ve been wanting to turn into a career for almost 5 years now. As I get the little details ironed out, I hit one personal roadblock after another. I just can’t seem to decide where I want to take my work. I want to do landscapes; I want to do portraits; I want to do travel photography. The indecision forces delays in which I begin doubt myself, and begin to question my own ability. The downward spiral forces me to set aside my camera for months on end, and when I do pick up the idea again, I feel the need to start from square one, where I inevitably run into the same roadblocks, the same indecisions, and the same doubt. The vicious circle continues.

It feels like this:

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Two months ago now, I was sitting in my studio that I have rented now since February, and have only used to photograph myself. I set a goal to launch a portrait business to the world, but I spent two entire weekends just sitting in front of my computer doing absolutely nothing. The problem isn’t that I’m lazy. It’s that whenever I’m faced with something I need to do, I feel this overwhelming compulsion to do anything but that thing. I can feel it physically in my chest like something inside me is trying to stop me from doing whatever it is that I should be doing. This causes me to become stressed, which leads to the anxiety, and then the depression that I've wasted my time. When the depression hits, I lose interest in everything. I just stare into space not able to complete the simplest task.

It was after those two wasted weekends that I decided to seek help. These feelings have been going on my entire life, but I only recently started to feel like something was wrong and that I should talk to someone. So around 4 weeks ago I made an appointment to see a psychologist.

After several rounds of talking about my past and taking several tests, today I learned that I have ADHD with depression, anxiety, and obsessiveness. I had suspected ADHD for a few weeks before and felt a somewhat great sense of relief sitting in the doctor’s office. 

Having ADHD may sound like something that isn’t as big of a problem as others, and I’ve already talked to one person who downplayed my revelation, but adults with ADHD are more than 2 times likelier to have depression, and a 30% greater risk of suicide than those who don’t have it. I say that not to say that I’m suicidal, because I’m not, but to say that ADHD isn’t something that is easily tossed aside as a less than type of disorder. For me, it can be a real struggle that can lead to dark places.

The treatment phase begins now, which both encourages me and scares me. I’m hopeful that I will finally be able to control the things that I struggle with and begin to live a more normal life. I’m also scared that the treatment won’t work. How many different prescriptions will I go through before finding the right one, the right dosage? One? Two? Ten? The unknown worries me. Which leads to more anxiety. Why can’t I just be normal like everyone else? Are you there, God? It’s me, Margaret. 

There are a host of things that come along with ADHD that I was unaware of until just recently. I’ll go into some in more detail later, as they can lead to some very interesting life choices. But for now, I’ll just try to make it through each day, struggling to overcome the chemical imbalance in my brain that causes me to behave the way that I do. 

#100Days - Day 7

Baby Steps

Making small steps today. Worked a little on the website, but quickly realizing I need to overhaul my portfolio to showcase what I want to photograph. I know what products I want to offer minus a couple of paper print options. Still trying to work that out, but so close to finalizing. Then it's create the price list and welcome guide, finish writing each page of the website, and then photograph some images. 

On the list of completed items, my business bank account was approved, and that was added to Square so I will be able to take payments via credit/debit cards as well as Apple Pay and Android Pay. Got an email a few monies ago saying that business cards were printed and ready to go, so those should be here in a week. 

Still left to complete:

Contracts (I had a due date on these of 07.15.18, but there's a few things I need to clarify and go over before finalizing.)

Finalize Product Offerings - 08.01.18

Price List - 08.15.18

Images for Website/Marketing/Samples - 08.15.18

Studio Samples Ordered/Website Complete - 08.31.18

Metro Park Photography Permit - 09.01.18 (This permit will allow us to photograph in any city park in the Nashville/Davidson Park System without having to pay a separate fee for every session. This will open up the whole city to us for those beautiful outdoor sessions without having to worry about being asked to leave.)

Marketing Collateral/Social Media Rollout for Fall Sessions - 09.01.18

20 Sessions Completed and on the Books - 10.18.18


Still a ways to go, but making progress, and any step forward is a step in the right direction.


#100 Days - Day 6

I have to be honest, today has not been my best day. Most Mondays aren't, which is true for a lot of us. But as I continue working on my business and photography, I'm increasingly disconnected with my day job, and that is starting to take a toll on my emotional health.

I need to start making decisions and finalizing all of my contracts, website, welcome guide, etc sooner rather than later. I feel as if I can't advertize my services until I get all of this taken care of. I do feel confident about the direction I want to take my work, and I have been for quite some time. It will involve creating almost all new portraits from scratch, but I have some great ideas I want to try.

In the near future I am going to open my studio to five sessions which will be given complimentary. This will allow me the ability to create new work for my website and advertising along with the ability to hopefully sell some products and use that money to advertise and get our name out there.

#100Days - Day 5

Well, I had plans to do a walkthrough of my studio space today, but it was in use. I’ll have to do that tomorrow or Tuesday.

I used the time to research a couple of other products. I’m still trying to find the perfect presentation boxes, and I think I have, and albums.

The rest of the day I spent watching some great videos on workflow management and branding. As a sole proprietor, and someone who will be working at this alone for the foreseeable future, creating a system that I can rely on to run my studio efficiently is going to be vital. So much of what makes a business successful happens on the backend. I definitely need to work on creating repeatable processes for both the front of house and back of house. They don’t need to be perfect, they just need to be started. I can tweak them as I learn new and better ways of doing things.

#100Days - Day 4

Vendor Shopping and Price Lists

With today being a weekend away from the day job, I was free to spend all of it at the studio searching for the right vendors. It is so easy to get overwhelmed with the amount of options out there. However, I found a couple of vendors that look to be fantastic and offer the level of quality and service that I want to provide my clients.

I’m particularly excited about our canvases. We will be working with a vendor who handmakes their canvas prints, and have done for the last 50 years. Each piece is hand made from start to finish with an acrylic gel coating that is hand painted onto the canvas so that you can see the brushstrokes. They are just stunning, and I can’t wait to get one in to see it up close.

Our fine art wall portraits will be printed on a very heavy watercolour paper and then mounted to Masonite for added strength and durability. They will also be hand finished with a gel coating which will allow the final print to be framed without needing a piece of glass.

I also set up my account with Square today and input all of my products into the program so it will be very easy to order for our clients.

All in all, I’m pretty pleased with how today went. I felt like I got a lot done and made very good progress. I’m going to take a break from staring at a screen for awhile and write an outline for a welcome magazine that I will be giving to the clients who book with us.

Going to break out the paper and pencil for that. My eyes need a break from anything that glows.

#100Days - Day 3

Still cranking along with the paperwork and the backend stuff today.

I did get my business license! So that is a little exciting. I feel like we are official now. I also set up my Square account to be able to take payments via chip, mag swipe, and mobile pay via Apple Pay and Android Pay.

I also got my business cards made. Those will be here in two weeks, but here's a sneak peek of what they'll look like.

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I'm really loving that logo design. Worth the investment for sure. 

On the agenda for tomorrow: vendor/product selection and price list. It'll be a long day, I'm sure, but so very worth it. With tomorrow being the weekend, I'll be able to devote my whole day to Henderson Portraits instead of having to focus the majority of my time to my day job. Definitely looking forward to that.

Now, it's time for a break and a movie. Sorry To Bother You is playing at Opry Mills and I'm very excited to see it.

#100Days - Day 2

Paper work. Lots of paper work.

Today has been all about the legalities. Not the most exciting of days as far as posts, but I registered for a business license, got my EIN from the IRS, applied for a business checking account, and looked at my first vendor for canvas prints. Overall a fairly productive day, if a little boring to write or read about.

Now it's on to tweaking some contracts so those are ready for my first clients.

I'm a firm believer in being prepared before I launch, so I feel that getting all of these important documents and behind the scenes elements taken care of before the first client steps in front of my camera.


#100Days - Day 1

Countdown to October 18, 2018

I was sitting at my desk at my day job on July 4th, when I decided to put a movie on in the background while I entered data into a spreadsheet. The movie was You've Got Mail, but that's not important. Before the movie started there was an ad for some upcoming programming on HBO in which I heard one of the characters ask, "what would my life be like if I went after the things that I wanted?" That struck a chord with me. I kept repeating it over and over and asking myself that question. 

Yesterday, I saw a post on twitter about the #100Day challenge, where you're supposed to create some kind of art every day for 100 days. I thought, why don't I do that challenge, but instead of creating art I work for the next 100 days to change my life and get my photography business off the ground. I set a goal of having 20 sessions completed/booked by Oct 18th, 2018.

This is where I'll document my progress, along with various social media pages, such as Twitter and Instagram. I have a whiteboard set up with various tasks that I need to complete, along with dates to complete them. So, challenge accepted.



My Story

All of us have a story. Where we came from, where we are, where we’re going. The odds that you or I are even here to be able to live our story are so infentesimal, it’s practically zero. There are so many variables that have to happen for the right cells to come together at the right time to produce you, a human being. But you are, and that is amazing.

Learning about my genealogy recently, I discovered just how insane it is for me to be here typing this.

On my father’s side, the furthest we can trace back our family is Robert Henderson. Robert was born around 1744 in what was Virginia, but is now Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The records of his birth have so far been lost to time, but we think that his father came to the colonies from Scotland before Robert was born.

In his early 30’s, Robert enlisted in the army and even crossed the Delaware River under a little known General named George Washington. After the war, he purchased land in Kentucky and settled down. His brothers came and built their own houses as more people started arriving, and the little town of Olive Hill was born. Seven generation of Henderson men were born in Olive Hill until my father usurped nearly two hundred years of tradition.

You see, my grandfather, if he’s at all like me, was probably a restless sort, and when he was old enough, he set out to see the world by becoming a sailor in the United States Navy. He was stationed in Hawaii with his wife when my father was born, the first son of a son of a son of Robert Henderson to be born outside of Kentucky. Had my grandfather stayed in Olive Hill, I wouldn’t be writing this today.

But the story doesn’t end there. For my mother and father to meet, they would have to be in the same place at the same time, and living the military life doesn’t always make that easy. 

After years of traveling around the country, my grandfather was stationed in Virginia Beach, Virginia where my father went to high school and met my mom, who was born and raised in Virginia along with the rest of her family.

Actually, that’s a lie.

When my father’s father’s father’s were raising there children in rural Kentucky after this country was founded, through the Civil War, and into the 20th century, my mother’s family was living in a very small town named Roccamorice. In the Old World. In Italy. My great-great-grandfather, Giovanni, was born there on September 26, 1878. Had he stayed in that small town like his ancestors before him, I would not be writing this today.

Giovanni, though, was destined for the shores of America. He came through Ellis Island in New York City no less than three time over the course of around ten years. In 1909, he brought his wife and three children here for good, landing in Boston before settling 35 miles north, in the city in Essex. Giovanni became known as John in the 1930 US Census, and all of his children had been given Americanized names. My great-grandfather Edward, being one of them.

Edward would eventually leave Essex and move to Seattle, Washington where he met my great-grandmother. She being descended from a French father and a Swedish mother further add to the complications of my existence. Edward and Essie would go on to marry and have a child, my grandfather, who at some point in his young life decided to leave the bustling metropolis of Seattle and also see the world. As a sailor in the United States Navy.

In the early 1960’s, he was stationed in Honolulu, Hawaii where my mother was born, in the same hospital as my father. They would travel around the United States living on the West Coast, in Maine, in Massachusetts, and I believe in Minnesota, for I have no other way to explain my mother’s love for the Minnesota Vikings. When my mother was a teenager, her family was transferred to Virginia Beach, Virginia where she would go to high school and meet my father.

There are so many variables that could have happened to prevent me from being a part of the story of the human race, but against all of those odds, I am here, and writing this today.

What is your story? Where are you from? Where are you going? I want to be a part of your story, to help share it with the world. Because through seemingly insurmountable odds, you and I are both here, in this place, at this time, and your story deserves to be told.