Amanda Lee
photo + video + travel

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Seasons of My Life

Seasons of My Life.

 

If you know me, I mean really know me, you know that I get “into” things. If you don’t, well then allow me to introduce who I am and who I have been. I believe we have different seasons of our lives. Ironically, I just heard about this being a thing although I’ve been doing it for as long as I could remember. Let me explain.

My first rendezvous, as far as interests go was with poetry. My mother reminds me of the first time I ever picked up a pen, I sat, barely two years old holding a pen to a piece of paper screaming “I write! I write!” In elementary school,  my first works were simple poems, standard 16 lines. I never really understood haiku. Still, don’t.

Young Amanda Lee reporting for duty

I was a certified poet, no seriously, I certified myself. I remember “publishing” on poetry.com and even having a poem picked out to be featured in a book of poems by school children. I don’t even remember the name. For awhile there, I was all in. I was positive this was how I would make my money when I grew up. 

Me in the back and my cousin Jesse

Poetry then transitioned into raps, freestyles, rhymes. My idle was Nasir Jones. I thought that I was Snoop Dog. I wore sweat pants, converse and corn rows. It came so easy to me, words were my thing and female rappers were far and few between . .  Especially in fifth grade. My friends and I would stand in bodegas and rap battle using names of candy bars in our verses. 

Right after a rap battle I'm sure

I got into high school and realized that rapping wasn't really my “thing.” I had a lot stacked against me. No excuse, I know. But stay with me. The age of MySpace was among us and I had gotten an Olympus point and shoot camera. I was always pretty creative. Anyone who remembers me from the MySpace days will remember the photo of me photoshopped into a barbie box or the photo of me in my Tony the Tiger Tee with Bubbles floating up on the side. Needless to say, photography was my jam. Or so I thought. I was really just setting up shots and shooting with one click. Here and there I would throw a filter on it. Oh and “scene” font, I added that too. 

notice the gauged ears 

Crazy thing happened, I grew up, nearly dropped out of high school. Instead, I went to an alternative school. I was the only person in high school that didn’t come to school in pajama pants, not even once. "Why," you ask? Because fashion was my thing. My teachers called me the diva, my nickname the last two years of high school was Hollywood. For graduation, I was voted best dressed and most likely to succeed. During this time I was also “straight edge,” I didn’t drink or do any drugs. In hind sight, I was only 17, so good choice there. 

If you’re still with me, my life gets less weird but still seasonal. Out of high school, I was a workaholic. I worked at two pizza places, an ice-cream shop, a Mexican restaurant, a retail store, a photo studio, more retail, I was a security guard and then finally another pizza shop and more retail. With every new job, there was a new boyfriend. I’m being honest here, I had a lot of boyfriends in my past and everyone in my family wondered who would be the guy who finally gets to play for keeps. 

I finally met Austin, but the seasons still changed. I was an avid salsa dancer when I met him. I danced four times a week and I was in such great shape. I was almost on a dance team but decided against it. I think that people just wanted me on their team because I was tiny and easy to throw in the air. 

Salsa and Sweat

Then Instagram really started to kick in. And with a new social media platform comes change. For me that meant yoga. I was obsessed with yoga, eating right, cutting down my meat and everything in between. I needed to build for endurance so yoga led me to the gym, where I became a gym rat. Instagram had a pivotal role in this, I was able to track my progress with the world, in fact everyone was doing it. 

Can I have that stomach back? 

Most currently, I’m an entrepreneur and when I think of it. I kind of always was. I’m in the business of me. Austin and I started shooting weddings four years ago and we don’t intend to stop. I’ve honed in on my photography skills, really showing my 13-year-old self what I’m made of. In fact, photography is now how I make my living. I’m still a word nerd and have a deep admiration for 90’s hip hop. I don’t drink to excess but wine and an occasional margarita make me happy. I’m really inspired by wellness and mindfulness although I don’t practice yoga regularly and of course, I can pull out my salsa moves at parties. 

 

All of these “seasons” of my life have shaped me as a person. Throughout my journey, I have remained someone who stands up for whats right, even if I stand alone. I am a hard worker and never shy away for an opportunity to learn. I challenge myself and understand that my only competition is the person that I was. This is both a thank you letter to those who have seen these changes in me and have been there through it. and also a letter to the people who are still figuring stuff out. You’ll be okay, this is not for nothing. You are writing your map of life and trust me, you’re going to strike gold as long as you believe in yourself. 

 

The road will take you to peaks and valleys, it will show you beauty and darkness. You’ll be better and stronger for it all. Be honest with yourself, live in your moments but don’t get stuck because there is so much more life to live as long as you’re open to it.

When I sat back and realized it all worked out.

 

Love always,

Amanda Lee