Heyyyyyyy my lovely blog followers!!! I haven’t updated the blog in a super, duper long time!!!! Yikes. I wanted to write a blog post about me, my family, my mama, my business, my new found love for barre.  It has been an insanely crazy roller coaster and I have kept a lot close to the vest, but here I am laying it all out for everyone to read…

I have wanted to own my own business for as long as I can remember. I worked at The Sage Colleges from June 2005 to May 2013 in a number of different capacities before I made the decision of a lifetime to become a professional photographer and start Chelsea Ahl Photography. I left an amazing work environment, co-workers, stable salary with benefits, and some of the most fabulous students in the world for…the unknown. That decision was the hardest decision I had ever had to make up to this point in my life… and has proven to be one of the most rewarding!

Now here comes the crap part of the roller coaster…my mom was diagnosed with cancer in October 2013 (PS I am an only child with a father who passed away when I was ten years old from brain cancer). My world came crashing down. I felt like my heart had been ripped out of my chest and thrown on the ground and then stomped all over. I couldn’t breathe. It was always her and I for as long as I can really remember. She is the best mom in the world, always there for me, spoiled me rotten, and made sure I did great in school — the picture perfect single mom raising a crazy, head-strong daughter. She is my best friend, my mama, my shopping buddy, the grandmother to my kids, she is my everything. The rest of that day in October 2013 was a complete blur. For about a week, I would cry at the tiniest thing and I was just pretty much out of it – a hot mess describes it very well. There really wasn’t much time to feel sorry for myself because the chemo medication that she was given gave her such terrible side effects that she was in the hospital pretty much every month. It has been very difficult to stay positive for her, but it is vital. I went into survival mode and did whatever I could to keep her comfortable and eating/drinking. It was very difficult for me to watch as her only daughter, but I knew that I was the only person that would lift her up, be positive for her, and put on that “Chelsea charm” to keep her going everyday.  Then in the Spring of 2014 we found out that the medication she was taking, wasn’t working anymore. Everything was getting worse. We were sad…really, really sad, but we both decided that we would leave whatever was to happen in her oncologist’s hands. She started a new chemo regime in July 2014. She wasn’t getting the awful side effects she was getting with the first chemo regime, so we/I was opptimistic. The most recent PET scan came back very good – there is still some active disease but the tumors are much smaller if not gone in most places.

This woman…she is a fighter. She is independent. She is strong. She is my mama. She also really needs me. During the winter, I realized that I was overweight, little to no energy, lazy, and just had little motivation to focus any part of the day on myself. Another side note: I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease at the age of 21 years old. Crohn’s Disease is an inflammatory bowel disease. It causes inflammation of the lining of the digestive tract, which can lead to abdominal pain, severe diarrhea, fatigue, weight loss and malnutrition. So between my business, my family, my mama, and my health – I knew that I had to do something to regain control of my life, and find me again.

Enter stage left – my Canon 5D Mark III camera. It is my outlet, my sanctuary, my happy place. It is the one thing I have for me, just me. When I have that camera in hand and am shooting – any session – the fears of the world float away for even for just a little while. It is my safe place. My clients need me to tell their story through these sessions and I am very happy to be able to do that for them.  Without these amazing families in my life, I am not sure how I would make it through an hour, a day, a week. My passion and my love for my clients have helped me to be a new, stronger me. <3

(photo credit: Matt Ramos Photography)