The 5 reasons I kept my maiden name

What's in a name?

 Photo by Caitlin Noll

Photo by Caitlin Noll

This seems to be a topic that gets brought up a lot, considering I work a lot with my husband and people just automatically assume we share a last name. People who have met me within the past year assume my husband's last name is Brodley, too. 

It wasn't really a big issue for us when we talked about it during our engagement period. He asked if I'd take his last name, I said probably not, at least not right now, and he was fine with it. End of discussion.

So since it was such a non-issue for the two people it would actually affect, it seems to still come up regularly in conversation. Especially now that we're expecting our first child.

There were several reasons I kept my maiden name when I got married, and none of them are the "feminist" reason many may assume kept me a Brodley. Aside from never really feeling the need to change my name, like, ever, I had a lot of personal reasons why I wanted to keep the name that I was born with:

1. My husband supported it.

 Photo by Caitlin Noll

Photo by Caitlin Noll

I think if it had raised a huge issue, or he'd been really offended that I didn't want his last name, I would've spent more time considering changing it. But he let me make the decision, he said either way it was up to me, and when I told him I wanted to keep my name he was totally on board. What a guy.

2. It's my identity.

 Photo by  Aura Aura

Photo by Aura Aura

I mean, this one is pretty obvious, but for 30 years before I got married, I was a Brodley. I like the way my name sounds. I respond to it. It is just me. Gaining a different last name wouldn't have changed who I was, per se, but it almost made me feel like I would be giving up a part of myself that I had been for so long.

3. I'm the last Brodley.

 My grandparents, George and Shirley Brodley, on one of their many adventures around the world.

My grandparents, George and Shirley Brodley, on one of their many adventures around the world.

This one was the major sentimental reasoning behind my decision. I'm the very last one in my generation of Brodley's to have that last name. There will be no more Brodley's in my family tree. There was something really meaningful to keeping it tied to me. Changing my last name felt like I was throwing away a little piece of history, and that history would be lost forever.

4. It's my business.

casey-brodley-los-angeles-wedding-photographer.jpg

Literally. Legally, my business is named Casey Brodley. The government sees Casey Brodley as a corporate entity. My online persona has been Casey Brodley for years. People know my business from my name. If I were to change it, it just felt like it would confuse the situation. I'd either have to keep the business name as is, or change everything and rebrand myself to another name. Not to mention, Brodley is a lot easier to remember how to spell than my husband's last name: Maiuri. 

5. I'm lazy.

 My dogs and I, in our natural habitat

My dogs and I, in our natural habitat

The thought of spending my day at the Social Security office, DMV, and then spending time changing every piece of personal information just seemed like a huge waste of time and honestly, I just didn't want to do it. Once my husband found out everything I had to do to change my name, he agreed it sounded super annoying. So, why be annoyed when I could just... not do it?

 

Overall, I'm happy that I've kept my last name. The only person who really is still confused by it is my grandfather, who insists on writing birthday checks made out to "Casey Maiuri" which I can't cash. But other than that, it hasn't really been something I've ever had to defend.

I moreso find myself explaining to strangers why my baby's last name will not be my own. Maybe it will cause confusion moving forward after he's born. Maybe I'll decide that I should share my husband's last name at some point. If/When it makes sense to change it, I certainly will. But I'm also not the first to do this and I won't be the last. 

 

The Myth of the "Day Of" Coordinator

One of the most confusing things I dealt with while wedding planning was deciding how much help I actually needed. By the time I actually decided I really needed a professional to help me, I had already booked my venue and found my dress, and then there was a period where I was just stuck. Granted, I planned my wedding from across the country and I was relying on Google to find vendors to travel into a pretty remote area of Michigan. I had a pretty tight budget and a rather lengthy invite list, so it was important to me to find everything within budget somehow but still fill all my must-haves and wants for the day I envisioned.

This is when I decided it was best for me to hire a planner who was familiar with the area and help me find vendors that weren't necessarily on Google, or even people who they could vouch for who were newer and more affordable maybe just needed a few more weddings in their portfolio before they could create a website.

From my experience working with planners already, I knew that they came in all sizes whether that was a full blown team of 4 or 5 people or just one single person running the show. It took a lot of comparison shopping and interviewing before I settled on what I thought was best for me: Someone who would take over the month before the wedding, handle coordinating of vendors, confirming timeline, and helping with set up.

Looking back, I probably should've splurged for the full-on wedding planning services that were offered to me. But I was happy with how my wedding turned out and we were able to keep everything within budget, we were referred amazing vendors (especially our DJ, who is to this day the best DJ I've ever had at any wedding I've been to), and the day went off without a hitch (or if there were hitches, I didn't know about them... which really is the main benefit and draw of hiring a planner: you don't get bothered with handling everything that goes wrong on the wedding day.)

One thing I knew to avoid, though, was the alluring draw of a "Day Of Coordinator." I didn't really even know the true differences, but Day Of is usually marketed towards for a very low budget yet big promises: taking over everything just for the day of the wedding. You hand over everything to this person and they magically know everything that will go into your day. Seems a little too good to be true, right? Don't you want someone who is supposed to make your vision come to life know a little more about, well, you?

casey-brodley-metro-detroit-wedding-photo-video.jpg

I have worked with so many planners, and I felt like there were no better people to turn to when faced with the question of what planning service to go with when hiring a wedding planner.

I interviewed 5 different wedding planners from all over the country for their perspective.

Here's what they had to say:

Tell me a superhero story. Did you ever "save the day" by preventing or fixing a disaster?:

best-wedding-photographers-midwest-detroit-ann-arbor-casey-brodley.jpg

The Bee Whisperer:

"It was the perfect day - the sun was shining, a slight breeze, everything was going as planned. The food was all set up outside and about five minutes went by, the photographer got his shots, and then suddenly a HUGE swarm of bees started flying around the food! The guests were about to arrive any minute and I knew no one would want to go near the table with that many bees around. I luckily know a lot of little home remedies and tricks, so I had to run to the kitchen and get tons of cloves to keep the bees away and prayed it worked! I tucked little containers of cloves behind some of the food stands to make sure it doesn’t take away from the display, and it worked like a charm and kept most of the bees away (and no one got stung!)" - Shivani of www.vanikodesigns.com

 

The Cake Crash

"I think my favorite is the first wedding we ever did (7+years ago), the wedding cake delivery van crashed on the way to the wedding. The bakery was closed for the day and just sent this guy out for the last delivery. When he arrived he looked a mess ( it was just a fender bender, so he was ok)…but the cake and the desserts were not. It was a one tier cutting cake and about 150 bite sized desserts. The cake was completely caved in on one side and most of the desserts looked a wreck. So, thanks to my family being in the baking business I knew a thing or two about cakes. So, I found a zip lock bag, scraped some frosting of the cake and re-frosted it…of course, stuck a huge flower on it too…but, bomb. cake fixed. The desserts we strategically arranged the desserts and fixed some of them. No one knew. Disaster fixed. The bakery of course felt terrible and gave the client a full refund, plus a gift certificate for more treats which they used for a 1 year anniversary dessert display." - Chabli of PS Plans

 

The Last-Minute Planner Bail-Out

"I have so many! Should I tell you about the time I almost killed a rattlesnake with a shovel in the women's room at a rural venue? Actually, this is my favorite one: A few years back, I got a Facebook message from someone I didn't know, asking if I was available to coordinate a wedding 5 days from then. When I asked for more information, it was revealed that this couple had a wedding planner who broke up with them via a text message. To be completely fair, it sounded like she was having a tough time with her family, and there was an accident. But still, this news left them literally high and dry. The FB message I received was the maid of honor, who was friends with one of my current clients. I actually was free that coming Saturday (it was my only free weekend that month!). About an hour later, I did a Skype call with the couple, and they booked me on the spot. Five days later, I coordinated their wedding. It was a crazy whirlwind and I was so happy to be available for them. They were just the sweetest! " - Renée of Moxie Bright Events

 

Don't Tell the Bride, but...

This is actually a personal story where I first-hand witnessed a coordinator save the day at a wedding I was shooting. It was a Friday wedding, and the vendors were setting up and I was shooting the getting ready. At 4pm, about 20 minutes before the ceremony, I went to get detail shots of the ceremony space and the set up of the reception area. The coordinator, visibly stressed, pulled me aside and said, "Don't tell the bride, but the baker had the wrong day scheduled for her cake and there's no cake. Please don't let her see the reception area, I don't want her to know the cake isn't here. I called them when I noticed they were late for drop off and they explained the situation... I don't know how this wasn't caught sooner. They are currently making the cakes and they will try to deliver them by 9pm." Cake cutting was scheduled for 9:15pm, so that was cutting it close. And if you've ever made a cake before, you know it takes time to cool before you can ice/decorate it... so I nodded and thanked my lucky stars that I was neither the baker or the poor planner who had this huge problem that was currently out of her control. I kept a smile on my face the whole time, did my best to avoid the reception area during formal photos, and prayed the cake would show up on time. At 9:20pm, the main cake and the groom's cake rolled out of the kitchen and was set up for cutting. It was honestly a gorgeous cake and I would never have known it was made in such a rush. The cake cutting went as planned and the bride and groom were none the wiser. 

 

What is the difference between a wedding planner and a day of coordinator?

 They may look the same, but they are very different.

They may look the same, but they are very different.

"The first thing I can say is they are definitely not the same thing, but both roles are wonderful for different reasons! A day of coordinator is there to make sure things run smoothly and put out any fires that may arise on the wedding day. A full service planner will be able to offer advice on etiquette, design, styling, etc. and is much more likely to do a lot of other random requests during the planning process and leading up to the wedding. These tasks could include anything from booking flights for your cousins, to mailing your invitations, to decorating the newlywed suite!" - Shivani of www.vanikodesigns.com

"Oh, there is a HUGE difference. On the client side, it's about time spent with you and time spent working on your wedding. A full-service Wedding Planner will be with you every single step of the way - sometimes even before you select a wedding date! We are there for every decision, every design board, every vendor who gets hired onto the team. We make sure your overall vision of your day gets carried through each and every aspect of the day. We also get to know you so well that we can troubleshoot for you, if need be, without every asking you or telling you what went wrong. That's the Wedding Planner Magic. 

A Wedding Coordinator has a different job. Quite frankly, the term "day-of" a complete misnomer for what the job entails. A Wedding Coordinator takes all of the work you did as the couple (booking the vendors, design, any personal or DIY projects) and runs your wedding day for you so that you can relax and enjoy yourself. Depending on the coordinator, some will offer vendor referrals and matchmaking, some do not. At the very least, your "day-of" coordinator is likely working with you for four to six weeks pre-wedding, which is why I hate the term "day-of" so much. NO ONE can just walk into your wedding on the day-of and do a flawless job. Actually, forget flawless. They couldn't even do a mediocre job. It's just not possible. You have to know all the moving pieces, and the players (your couple and all the vendors) to do the job correctly. Ideally, you will also have years of experience in of-the-moment problem solving and have a cool and calm demeanor. I call this level of service Wedding Management. For me, that's what it's about. It's about expertly managing all the moving parts of your wedding day." - Renee of Moxie Bright Events

"Full planning is the whole she-bang, I like to tell clients…we rapidly become best friends and plan a wedding. We are with client from picking the venue, designing the wedding, picking all the vendors and bringing it all to life day of.

Day of is REALLY month of, I am not a fan of the Day of Title…even though most clients call it Day of. This package starts about a month or a little more than that before the wedding day. This is basically dotting all the i’s and crossing all the t’s. Clients pick all the vendors and plan the wedding, we pull it all together. We do the rehearsal and are on site for the whole wedding day. We create the master timeline for the day, send it to all the vendors a week before and handle all questions and problems day of the wedding." -Chabeli of http://www.psplans.com/

 

What exactly does a day of coordinator do?

ellen-erik-7.jpg

"To me, day of coordination is actually more like “month of” coordination because the process starts much earlier than on the wedding day itself. An overview of what a few weeks before the wedding looks like consists of confirming vendor details, having final review meetings, and making sure everyone is on the same page and prepared to flawlessly execute the rehearsal, ceremony, and reception. As you can imagine, it wouldn't be very efficient if a coordinator stepped in the morning of the wedding and was tasked with holding it all together!" -Shivani of www.vanikodesigns.com

"If you run into a Coordinator who tells you that can do "day-of" and it only includes ONE day of services, run away. Do not give this person your hard earned money. They don't know what they're doing." Renée of Moxie Bright Events

"Everyone says they want to hire a "day of coordinator" for their wedding but truly that concept is a myth, a hoax, a unicorn. No one wants someone to come in suddenly and take over their life event without any prior knowledge of the goings-on. Your wedding day deserves investment, communication, collaboration, and someone who knows what the heck is going on!" -Sarah of  www.kindredweddingsandevents.com

Why should someone hire a wedding planner?

casey-brodley-southeast-michigan-wedding-photographer-1.jpg

"You should hire a wedding planner for many reasons such as budget and logistics, but one of the most important ones is to enjoy your engagement period without stress! That time in your life is SO special and hiring a planner means you don’t have to be googling florists at 4 am, you always have someone to talk to, and you have a professional opinion available to you at all times." -Shivani of www.vanikodesigns.com

"There is a strange thing that has happened in our modern society, where as soon as you get engaged, everyone expects that you will automatically develop new and exciting skill sets. The internet tells you that you CAN and SHOULD know how to plan your own wedding, and that is such a tragedy. It's OK not to know how to do this! It's not really common sense and it's definitely not second nature. I don't know how to be a photographer, and just because someone buys me a fancy camera doesn't mean I suddenly have professional photography skills, you know? You don't know what you don't know, but I do. Wedding Planners will save you time, energy, your sanity, your interpersonal relationships, and sometimes even money." -Renee of Moxie Bright Events

"Every couple deserves to experience their special day like a guest - no looking at clocks, no directing guests or vendors where to go, and no answering questions that will only put one on edge. A wedding planner can help you research vendors, construct a flawless timeline, volley ideas that feel unattainable, keep budgets balanced and guests happy all night long so you can have your dream wedding and relax the entire time." - Sarah of www.kindredweddingsandevents.com

"Planning a wedding isn’t all craft parties and rosé; it’s a lot of research, difficult conversations, negotiating, and detailed organizing.  For those who identify strongly with Monica from Friends it’s a dream come true... For pretty much everyone else it’s time to call a planner." -Chabeli of http://www.psplans.com/

What is one mistake you think most couples make while wedding planning?

casey-brodley-detroit-michigan-wedding-photo-video.jpg

"I would say getting caught up in the things that are outside of their control. For example, the bride walks into the venue and the centerpiece on a table isn’t perfectly aligned, or it’s too hot outside for your ceremony and now she feels like the day is ruined. Don’t sweat the small stuff! You will always remember this day as the amazing day you got to marry the love of your life, and all the little details that may not have gone as planned only became a part of your beautiful love story and that’s okay - cause it’s uniquely yours." -Shivani of www.vanikodesigns.com

"They spend a lot of time and energy worrying about the reception, but not enough time working on the ceremony. Write your vows early, and edit them often!" -Renee of Moxie Bright Events

"I think the major mistake we see when planning is not creating a strategic plan in booking vendors when working with a specific budget. Most clients will book a photographer, florist or videographer before a caterer. A caterer is going to be one of or the most highest ticket items/vendors, and when you don’t book him first you don’t know what you should be leaving aside for food. So, lets explain more: Let’s say a client is spending 30K on their wedding and they book photo and video first after the venue (which was 5K). The photographer and vidoegrapher that they absolutely want is 9K and they book it. They have now spent 14K on venue, photo + video, leaving them 16K to complete the following: Catering, Florals, Rentals, Save the Dates, Invitations, Wedding Cake + Dessert, DJ or Band, Wedding Dress, Wedding Rings, Tux or Suit, Table Numbers, Seating Charts, Escort Cards, Parking/ Valet if Needed, Shuttle if needed, Officiant, Church Donation if needed, Hotel Room if needed (for getting ready or night of)

When doing this type of booking/ contracting vendors they tend to ALWAYS be over budget in the end. Most people that start of the way the examples explains tend to be over budget by 5-10K." -Chabeli of http://www.psplans.com/

What is one piece of advice you give to your clients to help ease the stress of wedding planning?

los-angeles-lifestyle-photographer-casey-brodley-5.jpg

"Don’t be afraid to talk about money. Many people dread having the discussion about the budget, and often times there’s more than one person contributing to the bill. The best advice I can give is to be upfront, open, and honest about what everyone is willing to spend and set your budget. From there, sit down with your sweetheart and prioritize what is most important to you. This will help throughout the entire planning process as they vet vendors and figure out which areas they want to spend extra money in, and which things are “nice to have’s,” but not absolutely required. It’s definitely a great base to come back to in the planning process." -Shivani of www.vanikodesigns.com

"Your wedding is about you, sure. But it's also equally about your partner, and it's also about all of your guests. As the Couple of Honor (Bride & Groom, Groom & Groom, Bride & Bride), you are the gracious hosts of the wedding, as well as guests of honor. Hire a creative team (vendors) that you like and trust enough so that you can let go and just relax, and focus on your partner and your guests. The day goes REALLY fast." -Renee of Moxie Bright Events

"Always ALWAYS always do a budget before planning and HAVE FUN!" -Chabeli of http://www.psplans.com/

 

 

How I Rocked My Wedding Biz

Oh, hello, stranger. It's been a while. I'm sorry for not updating for a while, but life gets that way sometimes. I'm popping in to share a little more of my story about moving my business across the country. I was recently interviewed about this on the Rock Your Wedding Biz podcast! Please take a listen if you have time :) I'll be posting another blog post very soon, and I promise it will be a juicy one.

-Casey

My Favorite Podcasts

podcast-1.jpg

I know social media makes my job look like all I do all day is dance to Whitney Houston and eat cake, but sadly, that's not true. In fact, the most time is spent editing and not eating cake. One day, that ratio of time to cake will change.

Editing photos is tedious because it's repetitive, time consuming, and if I'm being honest, the most boring part of my job. I'd much rather be out shooting and interacting with real live humans.

I tend to nit pick, re-edit, and be indecisive about the best way to put the finishing touches on something. Because of this, I spend hours editing photos and video. It's a curse.

So on editing days (aka most of my days) after my morning pep talk and a cup of coffee (or 4), when I sit down at my computer the first thing I do is turn on my podcasts.

Podcasts are the one thing that have helped really get work done. They are the best kind of go-between from music (which helps zone out) and an audiobook (which I need to give my full attention to). There are podcasts for whatever mood I'm in, whether I just want to know a good story, if I need to laugh, or if I'm needing inspiration.

I currently have about 20 different podcasts that I listen to on any given day, but I have my favorites go-to listens.

These are my top 5 favorite podcasts that get me through my work day

1. My Favorite Murder

I think Karen and Georgia would be proud to see that I'm putting this on here first, just get it out in the open: I'm a hardcore murderino. But you may have already known that.

It's probably because my parents exposed me to too much Unsolved Mysteries as a child. I love a good true crime story. And I also think they give some great self defense advice.

I don't have a favorite episode, but I do suggest you give this podcast a few episode listens before you cast it aside. These two are so endearing to me, between their mispronunciation of basically every town/city they talk about, Elvis the cat's true love of cookies, or Georgia continually saying the word attic as "addict" (I think she's trolling us at this point). Anyway, they tend to veer off topic a lot but it always makes me laugh. 

2. The Secret Life of Weddings

This show was sent to me from the gods of wedding photography. It really puts things into perspective for me and I also love drama so this is right up my alley. If you want to hear about some of the weirdest, most outrageous, and or just plain disgusting stories from weddings, this podcast has it all.

I really liked this episode which involves a hilarious TRUE story featuring the great Chris Farley.

 Real footage of me listening to this podcast.

Real footage of me listening to this podcast.

3. How did this get made?

My husband got me into this show, and I'm so glad he did. It's the perfect mix of comedy and zone-out content that keeps me entertained. It's literally just a verbal live-tweet of really really terrible movies. The best part is you don't need to actually see the movies they are talking about in order to appreciate how bad they are. 

You might as well start with their commentary of Hollywood cult classic and "the best worst film ever made," The Room. Or, any live episode.

4. The Goal Digger Podcast

I found Jenna Kutcher through my involvement with The Rising Tide Society, a community of creative entrepreneurs dedicated to raising each other up and supporting each other instead of tearing each other down. The main goal is community over competition, a safe place for small business owners to gather and ask for advice and share successes. 

In the same spirit of friendship and building each other up, Jenna's personality oozes through her podcast with so much enthusiasm, I consider it my business motivation station. I doubly relate to Jenna because she's also a photographer, so a lot of what she talks about speaks to me. 

If you're a small business owner (or if you WANT to be a small business owner), this podcast is invaluable. Start with one of the first episodes and just binge your way through the entire thing. 

5. Thinking Sideways

This goes along with my Unsolved Mysteries fascination, but this is a little less murdery than My Favorite Murder. Not every episode is about murder, but every episode is about an unsolved mystery. The hosts do a really great job on researching the topics and each give their theories about what happened. 

Just listen to the Tupac and Biggie episode and you'll understand.

Honorary mention: Being Boss

I'm still fairly new to this podcast, but I definitely think it deserves a mention. This goes along with the Goaldigger podcast, but equally as inspiring is Being Boss. This branches across all types of self-employed businesses and doesn't necessarily stop at creative entrepreneurs. It looks at all facets of business, contains valuable information through interviews, and has just the right amount of mysticism to make me fall in love with their approach to running a business. 

 

What are your favorite podcasts?

I'm an Imposter

I'm so scared to admit this, but I need to come clean. 

I'm an imposter.

I had never heard of the term Imposter Syndrome until a month or so ago when I heard another creative entrepreneur talk about it. And then I read into it. And it instantly hit home.

 Kevin's famous chili tragedy is what Imposter Syndrome  feels  like IRL.

Kevin's famous chili tragedy is what Imposter Syndrome feels like IRL.

So what do i mean when I say, "I'm an imposter,"? Am I really a fraud? Have I just been faking this career I've been building for over five years?

The simple answer is no. I pay my taxes and I have contracts and insurance and the right gear and the right software. I take classes and continue to learn new things. I even have a bachelor's degree in Photography from one of the best art colleges in the country. I also have worked on all sides of the photography business, between tracking down copyright infringement, working in the publishing world, writing and selling stories to the media, working with celebrities and photographing a book. I have been paid to travel around the world to places like Paris and London to do something I'm aware anyone could do with any camera.

I'm 100% legit.

casey-brodley-too-legit-to-quit.gif

But even though on paper I'm more than qualified to call myself a professional, some days (ok, most days) I go through a lot of self doubt. I walk into most situations wondering if I'm going to be able to be "on" enough to know how to pose someone. Or make them laugh. Or even take one decent picture.

It's a weird feeling that no matter how many weddings I shoot or how many babies I photograph, I still go into each session questioning if I really, truly know what I'm doing. It's honestly unfathomable to me that anyone trusts me to take a picture.

And yet, somehow they do.

casey-brodley-detroit-wedding-photographers-1.jpg

For some reason, once someone starts making their art into a career, we start to compare ourselves to others and wonder,

"Am I really good enough? Or is this just good luck?"

Art is so subjective, even the Mona Lisa gets criticized. So I think it's common for artists to feel like any success is a fluke. One day someone will see through the good luck and right-place-right-timing and reveal the little rosy-cheeked old man behind the curtain who is just pressing buttons to control their giant flaming head puppet.

wizard-of-oz.gif

Because I am constantly second guessing my abilities as an artist, any mistake I make feels like a suffocating shame monster that sits on my chest for months or even years. Mistakes will replay in my mind like the moments before a car accident, where if I had just done one thing differently I could've avoided it. 

This way of thinking holds me back from allowing myself to progress and move on.

I recently watched Spielberg on HBO, and I really recommend any creative that feels this way to watch it. Confidence might be overrated. Steven Spielberg feels like he's winging it most of the time he gets to set. He still does his job, figures it out, and has obviously been very successful.

But there is always a part of him before that clapperboard snaps that thinks, can I really pull this off?

best-michigan-wedding-photographers.jpg
There are going to be moments, where you get to set, and you are not going to know what the hell you’re doing. It happens to all of us; you’ve got to guard that secret with your life. Let no one see when you’re unsure of yourself … or you lose the respect of everyone.
—Steven Spielberg quoting his mentor Henry Hathaway

Another notable person who probably has Imposter Syndrome is Gilbert Gottfried. In the incredible documentary Gilbert, he says:

“I don’t know if I ever had a clear vision of what success is going to be, and whatever it is it’s always different, the way things turn out are always different from what you imagine them.”

This voiceover is heard over a clip of Gilbert eating his free continental breakfast by himself at whatever Holiday Inn Express he's staying at on the road. Something he's doing while he continues to work and support his family by being a successful professional comedian.

These documentaries gave me an epiphany:

maybe if I feel like I don't know what the hell i'm doing, I am actually doing it the right way.

casey-brodley-lifestyle-photographer-1.jpg

This is a little embarassing to admit but since I'm already admitting that I'm a human, I might as well throw this anecdote into this post.

I recently saw a psychic. Honestly, it was just something fun that I wanted to do with my best friend. I went into the reading with zero expectations.

In another documentary on two great artists, Jim and Andy, Jim Carrey mentions that in the early 90's, a psychic predicted that he'd have 3 movies in a row that would make him famous. That same year he made Ace Ventura, The Mask, and Dumb and Dumber.

So, what did I have to lose, really?

This reading was not for the future. Instead, it was a reading to reveal something that was holding me back from obtaining my dreams. An energy clearing, of sorts. Yeah, I know. It sounds super hippy dippy. But I'm pretty hippy dippy so I was into it.

I didn't tell the psychic anything about myself before the reading, and all I really did was lay there and meditate while she played music and did whatever clairvoyants do to see into your soul.

casey-brodley-michigan-wedding-photographers-6.jpg

The crazy thing is, the reading was spot on. She told me exactly what I already knew was my biggest issue: my self doubt.

"All I could see was this fog of self doubt. You are constantly questioning if you are good enough. Know that this isn't true, and you need to get rid of this mindset."

She then encouraged me to do my work for myself, to not worry about what others think of what I make, and success would follow.

Now that I'm aware of my Imposter Syndrome, I'm learning to embrace my self doubt. All the "not knowing," the anxiety, the tendency to focus on my mistakes is probably the reason I'm successfully working as an artist.

Every experience, whether it's good or bad, helps me learn and grow. Every mistake is a, "Well, I guess I'll never do it THAT way again."

Being my own worst critic is the reason I am just the right amount of paranoid to be good at what I do. I've been doing this long enough that, similar to a psychic, I can predict worst case scenarios -- and in some instances, have experienced those worst case scenarios.

My anxiety is actually making me better at my job

I'll probably always feel like some sort of imposter if I base my worth on what someone else thinks. So now, I'm going to focus on making more work for myself. I'm going to embrace my weird ideas and make them. And I'm not really going to care if you like it, or even if you look at it.

That's why I became an artist in the first place, right?

 Me putting myself on a pedestal. I was super uncomfortable up there.

Me putting myself on a pedestal. I was super uncomfortable up there.