The Story Behind the Hummingbird

Most of the time in life, our biggest obstacles become our most valued lessons. Although if you would have said those exact words to me when I was 15 I would have probably blown you off with some snarky comment about how life's not fair.

It's true, probably more than anything; life is not fair. But, the bad times mold us and guide us to the person we're suppose to become.

I'm a very strong believer in the saying "everything happens for a reason." However, when I was 15 I lost my childhood best friend to cancer and it took me awhile to believe that again.

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When I began my rebrand in April with Krista she sent me a questionnaire. One of the very first questions that caught my eye was "Are there any icons or graphics you love?" I'm sure you all know what I answered since here we are today with a blog post about it, the hummingbird.

Everyone has their story and in my opinion everyone has their year. In my mind, I believe everyone has a specific year where their life changes and those changes determine who you become. For me, it was 2009. In this year a lot happened. In 2009, I met and began dating my current boyfriend, my biological father and I parted ways and worst of all I lost my childhood best friend to cancer.

These pictures below, they aren't the greatest, best quality, perfect tone or anything else that comes to mind when thinking of the technical perfection of the photography industry. But these pictures are my greatest treasure. They capture and tell some of my greatest stories and one of the saddest memories that I have and all with the greatest person I got to call my friend.

And that, that is the reason I picked up a camera at 15 and never put it down. That is the reason I push and work every day to become not only a better version of myself for me but for everyone around me.

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I met Megan McNeal when I was very young. Like 3, I would say. At the time, my parents had joint custody of my siblings and I and my father's house was right across the street from Megan's. Little did Laura and I know that this would soon turn into one of the best friendships of our lives.

Megan was the first friend's house I ever had a sleep over with. I remember calling my parents to come pick me up in the middle of the night because I missed home. She was the one we learned to ride a bike with and the one we built forts in the woods with. Many summers were spent in Megan's back yard playing in the mud and then rinsing off in her pool.

In October 2009 while hanging out with Shawn, I got a call. It was my mom's voice but it sounded nothing like her at all. She was calling to tell me the news no one mother should ever have to break to their 15 year old daughter. Megan's cancer was back and this time it had spread, they had put a date stamp on her life.

I remember the very last time I got to visit Megan. For some reason she just seemed so peaceful. I remember she put me in charge of her pain medicine button. It's probably the best, and at the same time worst feeling in the world knowing you have a button in your hand that allows you to make the one you love's pain disappear. Walking away from that hospital room I knew it was our final goodbye, but I knew she was at ease. No one can prepare you for this. But, I feel better knowing she is "safe at home."

Now why the hummingbird? The last few months that Megan was with us she had a hummingbird hanging from above her bed. Hummingbirds are one of the only birds that have the ability to fly backwards, yet choose to fly forward. To me, representing the choice to live in the past but instead pushing to move forward.

If you look up the meaning of Hummingbirds a lot of sites and resources will say something along the lines of symbolizing the enjoyment of life and lifting up negativity. If you knew Megan then you know this is the perfect representation of who she was. Even until her last day she was always smiling and her one rule? You could never cry around her. It's so crazy to me how someone who was so young could be so smart and wise beyond her years!

Because of her I love a little deeper and I cherish every moment more, making it a little sweeter. I try not to take anything for granted because I know Megan would do anything to have this time and these experiences. I think knowing this helped me push to become successful at a young age. We never know how much time we have left and so why not make those dreams a reality right now?