Those I Love: Good Leaders

This post is part of a Portrait blog circle.  Please click through to see the other talented photographers’ portraits that were taken in August.  The next photographer in the circle is
Linsey Stuckey

We need good leaders and teachers. This fact was made clear to me only after my survival of adolescence. Sure, having someone interesting teach a class is much better than the teacher who only talks to the overhead projector and doesn’t make eye contact (geometry… that guy next to me became a huge crush because of bad teaching). But I didn’t, and couldn’t, see the impact my teachers and youth leaders made on my life until years later.
A couple years ago I was asked to give a talk about mothers, on mother’s day. It was a disaster. I blubbered through the whole thing. Terrible. I shared about all the women in my life up to that point. When I took the time to reflect, Alana, who was one of my youth leaders at church, stood out. There were others. I remember eating a whole bowl of watermelon with one of my “mom” friends. We talked about life and it’s teenage frustrations. My own personal therapist. I wonder where she is today. I digress.
For Alana, it was the trust she placed in me when I didn’t feel anyone at church thought I could be good or spiritual… which was probably true, but still. Her faith in me helped me to see who I could become. I could see my worth, and at 17 self worth is somewhere between “I am so much cooler than that dumb girl” and “all the dumb girls are with the cute guys” (yes, I was pretty boy crazy). I felt like one on the fringe, disenfranchised, I didn’t fit into the Mormon mold… still don’t, really. Everyone needs love, even the weirdos. She gave it freely to the little girl in black baggy clothes and for that I thank her.
While in California for my 20 year reunion Alana gave me a couple hours of her day and allowed me to photographer her. Thanks, lady! It was so nice to catch up.
www.stacieannsmith.com #ThoseILove

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