July 25, 2012

Fight Like Hell

We sat on the front porch and more than occasionally swatted at some over zealous mosquitos. An amber flame popped & cracked and settled in for the night in the new bronze rubbed fire pit in front of us, and in round table turns we tried our hand at s’more making. I took note of who went for the golden brown toast and who preferred chargrilled. And in the smokey night air, somewhere between the graham crackers and the chocolate bars, the conversation took a turn… toward the brutally honest.

We sat semi-circle at one of our Walk Through workshops earlier this year in June, and the attendees fired off questions one by one. Yes, we blog every wedding. No, we really won’t take every couple that comes to us if we don’t think it’s a good fit. Yes, there are people in the industry who will betray you. We let this last thought hang in the air, as marshmallows of smoke warily crept closer and tapped it on the shoulder. And somewhere in the silence that followed, a question came that I don’t think we were ever prepared for.

This is all well and good and all. And I know it comes really easy for you guys now. But tell us more about when you were first getting started and you actually had to work for it. Because what’s really going to help us, what we really need, is more of that honesty.

I sat stunned in the darkness. Felt the sting on my cheek and the flush of red to match it. And as a rush of answers flooded my brain, I realized that in the end only one mattered.

It isn’t easy for us now.

For every amazing thing that might look like it just fell in our laps, there are months of being told no and slamming ourselves up against the brick walls that hold us back over and over again until they finally fall down…preceding it. There is nothing that we have built that hasn’t been built by our our own hands. And make no mistake about it, we get up and we fight for it every single day. And we’ll keep on fighting still.

And if you want it, really, really want it….my suggestion is that you fight too.

In the quiet as I caught my breath, he looked at me dead on and he thanked me for using the F-word. He thanked me for admitting that we too have to fight.

And what I told him was, it had never even crossed my mind that he didn’t already know.

Yesterday as we sat semi-circle again this time at the What If Conference, I wrote down two quotes that I think any of us who has a dream worth chasing need to hear:

1. Work Freaking Harder (except this time, it may or may not have been the real F-word :) and
2. This is it. Fight like Hell.

My hope is that wherever you are in your dreams and whatever it is that you’re working for… you’ll fight like hell for it today.

  1. caitlin elizabeth

    love the f word :) and i’ve decided that i need to use it and do it most when i’m the most terrified. which would be right about… now. i’m scared. and ready to fight. thank you for this. and for using the f word.

  2. Abby Grace

    I knew exactly what you were going to talk about as soon as I read the line about overzealous mosquitoes. Mary, I adore your brutal honesty, and I adore the fact that you don’t serve things with a side of Superficial. You rock.

  3. Sandra

    You heard my heart today. Thank you. xo

  4. Ashley Barnett

    I like both F-words :) And I like your red blazer!! Fierce! (Hey, another F word!)

  5. sharon elizabeth

    double air hug for always being so vulnerable and raw… it’s what i love most about you (and justin)… you both are humble and selfless… and that’s what i love second most about ya’ll!!!

  6. Alison

    I have been feeling like I lost track of my fight and my dream as of late. Thank you for reminding me it didn’t wander off, I let it go!

  7. Emilia Jane

    Yes to this. Just yes. And thank you.

  8. Emily Klaassen

    Awesome wisdom (as usual!)

  9. Lauren Wakefield

    Amen sister!!

  10. katie yuen

    love love love love this. especially because reading your memory of the occasion makes it burn even brighter in my own mind. i could also go for some s’mores right now.

  11. kfinn

    "fight like hell. get out of your way."
    that’s where I am. thank you Mary!

  12. Jen Araya

    I was there for that question, and at first my reaction was whoa, but you answered it dead one and what we needed to hear! So happy I was there in that moment! I admire you guys xoxo

  13. Liz and Ryan

    Love this! Great inspiration and lesson for us all! Also, Love the chalk board quotes, especially "Get out of your way." Often we can be our own biggest obstacle, realizing this and continuing to fight is what will help anyone accomplish their dreams!!

  14. Sarah

    THANK YOU for being so honest & the real deal. It’s a constant struggle to not have a pity party for yourself when you see all the wonderful status updates, awesome photoshoots & amazing opportunities happening for everyone else… It’s a reminder that we don’t always see the blood, sweat & tears behind that victory :)

  15. Heather

    Just in the last week or two I’ve been losing faith that I’ll ever be successful. I’ve told two people this week that I’ll never quit my day job and will just have to do photography here and there on the weekend for fun. Your blog post came just in time! I really do need to just get out of my own way and fight harder. Thanks so much for the daily dose of inspiration and motivation!!

  16. malika luthra

    love this — especially after being there, reading about this moment and experiencing it all over again really makes it stick! so thanks for the reminder :)

  17. Rachel McCloud

    Definitely needed to hear this today. Thank you for being such an encouragement :)

  18. cheryl

    That’s one of the most important and sometimes hardest lessons to learn in life! All the fairy tales we read as children talk about "happily ever after" and make it sound like the struggle is over – but in reality that struggle or growth or whatever you want to call it, is your real life, and what you *should be* enjoying the heck out of! It really only ends when you die!

  19. Kevin Berg

    Fight like hell…brilliant words to live by!

  20. ashley link

    i LOVE this. all of this was so helpful and encouraging and true! thanks for being so real and honest! :) if we want it, we gotta fight for it!

  21. Karen Feder

    Ohhh, I love it! Really inspired and got my blood bubbling too! I have 3 kids and a husband who works weekends and after 10 years of shooting I completely agree, it is NOT easy, and it never will be! Keep up the fight and thanks for the great inspiration!!

  22. Fiona McGuire

    Love it!!

  23. Athena

    I’m sitting at my desk, at my cube-farm soul-sucking job, and I’m unexpectedly crying. Because I am afraid all my fight is gone. I’ve been fighting and I keep fighting and I just keep spinning my wheels. I don’t blame the market, or clients not getting me, or it not "falling" in my lap and being "easy." I am blaming myself. Maybe I’m not fighting the right battles? Maybe my hardest and my best is never going to be good enough? Maybe I took the wrong paths and I’ll never find my way back? I don’t know what to do anymore, Mary. And I’m soooo scared. So goddamn freaking scared that this dream is fading away. That come January, when 2013 is staring me (and my emtpy calendar) in the face, I’ll be selling my gear and hanging up my hat and reminding myself that it’s better to have tried and failed than never to have tried at all.

    And I can’t stop crying.

    Because I’ve never stopped fighting.

    And still, it hasn’t mattered.

  24. Jennifer Bacchiocchi

    @Athena, I am so sorry you are going through such a tough time right now, but please don’t give up. Maybe you have made mistakes, maybe luck just hasn’t been on your side, but if this is your dream, don’t stop fighting! It has mattered, to every single one of your brides and grooms.

  25. Athena

    Jennifer-you’re amazing. Your kindness is amazing. and Thank you. I came back to this post to retract my prior one. Because dammit, I’m not a quitter. And dammit, it’s not a fight if it’s easy. I HAVE TO FIGHT LIKE HELL. And Im going to. Because it’s worth it. I’m going to get out of my own way, and I’m NOT going to let resistance win. I’m going to do my best and try my hardest and dig myheels in and FIGHT. Because it’s worth it. Becuse a dream always is. And because self-doubt, and self-pity are really horrible ways to use energy. So I’m sorry, Justin and Mary, for my woeful diatribe. I’m sorry to all the readers-of-comments who spent time on my drivel. And I’m thankful for tough love,and friends, (and strangers named Jennifer) who know that giving up simply isn’t an option. xoxo times infinity, quadrupled by a million.

  26. Gabrielle

    I think i’ll write that in big letters on the wall above my computer:

    this is it. fight like hell.

    Thanks so much. And loving the blazer too! (and accessories! sorry cant help but notice)

  27. feuza

    sad I was not able to attend after winning your awesome giveaway! but God knows best, hoping to make it one day

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