Behind the #startthedaywithsomethingbeautiful project
I am often asked why I use the hashtag #startthedaywithsomethingbeautiful on my morning photos.
I started this project in mid-2015. In early 2013 I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis and in mid-2013 I started a job working for our local Tourist Association and managing the Visitors Centre for the Association. Both these things combined to create two of the most difficult years of my life. The job was a political hot potato in our town. The politics and bullshit dated back decades but I came in at the end and as the face of the Tourist Association, I was on the receiving end of abuse, manipulation, and toxic behaviour for 2 years. At the same time, I was also struggling with the devastating side-effects of medication and absolutely soul-destroying Neurologists.
In early 2015 I was starting to realise that I could no longer live like I was doing anymore. I decided to leave my job in mid-2015, and go freelance. I became a bit of a jill of all trades doing social media work, marketing consulting, food creation, etc - you name it I would do it to pay my mortgage. I also started a blog, which was initially more focused on personal stories and my plant-based recipe work along with my landscape photography. Finally, I decided to stop my medication, I sacked my final neurologist and pursued a more wholistic form of therapy. As part of my blog, my mental health, and to ensure I was physically active every day I started a project called #startthedaywithsomethingbeautiful. My project was a promise to myself that every day, regardless of how I was feeling I would get out of bed, I would walk and I would find something beautiful. This project has evolved over time because for the first couple of years, I was obsessed about doing this every day and now I allow myself 1 or 2 mornings of the week where I sleep in and I don't post on those days.
This project has quite literally changed my life. These images fill my gallery and shop walls, this project saw my photography transform from an interest into a hobby then into an obsession and now it is how I make a living. In some ways, I also think this project saved my life. There were times when I struggled to get out of bed and find hope, but looking for something beautiful whether it be as small as a tiny daisy or as large as a monumental sunrise, gave me purpose. When my sister died in 2017 this project kept me sane. I can remember vividly on the morning of Tiney's memorial leaving the house at dawn to find something beautiful. I truly believe if I had not had this purpose on that day and in those awful months following Tiney's death I would have gone insane.
Now I look for something beautiful instinctively. I think I will be doing this project until the day I die as it is so much a part of my life. It has given me hope, a sense of purpose, and a fervent belief that there is more beauty in this world than bad, despite it all. I have no other plans for this project now but I do think it is something I will do until the day I die.