Passion, a personal essay

So, I originally started writing this as a status on my personal Facebook account to my personal friends, but then I kept writing, and writing and writing. I decided to publish it as a blog post just in case my story helps anyone else who is searching for their passion or struggling to identify theirs. I apologize if the structure is a little informal, but I wanted to keep this with minimal editing because it was something I wrote with reflection and feelings. 

When I started blogging three-ish years ago, I was on my last deployment and just wanting to share the recipes and food images (from my latest cooking column in the base magazine) with those back home. I remember trying to blog, not really knowing what I was doing and being really frustrated at the slow internet (deployments, hah) and counting down the days that I’d be home so I could actually go prop shopping for my food images (and you know, be back home.)

In the last couple months I’ve felt silly even calling myself a blogger because I haven’t updated my blog, but it’s only because I’ve been focusing 90% of my energy on photography and my clients. But I’m finally back at a place/pace where I’m planning out newer content for the rest of the summer. It’s not that I don’t have a lot of things to write about, I’ve just been focusing my time/energy elsewhere.

Anyways, I remember telling myself when I first started “don’t quit, hang in there and never give up,” just because prior projects I had started either never came to fruition or I just got bored and moved on. In my first year, 2014, my food photography (in my opinion) was laughable, and then in 2015 I think I started getting a better grasp in the direction I wanted to go in, but I was still not there. Now in 2016, I definitely have a grasp on my photography and the direction I want to go in blogging, I just need to devote a little more time to it 😉 (but I’m always seeking ways to improve.)

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Henna Styled Shoot 011
 my photography in collaboration with Des Moines Henna artist Rayna Gasteiger. I really enjoyed this shoot because I got to shoot with with a moodier vibe.

9 months ago, I was in a… not so good place. I moved back to my home state and tried to “start new.” It was definitely a struggle at first, especially falling into winter. I’m naturally very ambitious, but during my first couple months adjusting to my “new life,” I was having a really hard time. I decided that maybe if I went back to school, I would get back into a habit (I later ended up leaving, and that’s a whole separate blog post on it’s own, I promise, I have it planned haha.)

I decided to pour myself into freelancing and photography instead, and it really was probably the first thing I did for myself that sparked my light in a long time. I slowly started getting my ambition, drive, motivation and inspiration back, and I started getting more work and meeting amazing people, and I slowly found myself again, after losing myself in a not-so-good relationship and giving my time up to everything else in life except myself. Right now, I’m really really happy, and life is going exactly how I want it (even though I still get stressed and deal with things from time to time, that’s natural.) I’m actually in the process of making a career expansion with furthering myself into the food styling industry but I can’t announce that quite yet.

So, the point I’m trying to make is don’t give up. If you’re in a place where you’re feeling like your life is over, whether you just lost your job or struggling to find one, you’re grieving over a death or loss of a relationship, or you just feel “stuck” with your work or feel like you have a greater purpose than your 9-5, start identifying what you feel passionate about, stop talking and start doing it. Even if you can only dedicate 15 mins at the end of the day to your passion, start somewhere. Try different things. Try new things. Pick up old (good) habits that you miss. Just don’t give up on your passions and listen to what your intuition is telling you.

Trust your gut and intuition- it’s there for a reason and is usually right most of the time. Just don’t give up on your passions or what makes you happy, or worse, don’t live a life without giving your passions a chance. I promise, you’ll be happier.

Henna Styled Shoot 022
Henna Styled Shoot 029
my photography in collaboration with Des Moines Henna artist Rayna Gasteiger. I really enjoyed this shoot because I got to shoot with with a moodier vibe.

I’m working on a separate post for later with all of my latest work (just waiting on delivering some imagery to my clients first.) I did write a small insta-guide to my afternoon living in Des Moines over at you can check out for now.

Please comment and share your passions and stories with me because I really want to know, or if you want to write about life, whatever state you’re in at the moment, let me know. Thanks so much, as always for reading.

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  • Thank you for sharing and your honesty! I just wrote last week about finding out I was pregnant again and feeling completely lost and unmotivated. While I haven’t figured it all out, I did make some positive changes such as making time for myself and getting back into blogging consistently even if that means just 3 days a week. It’s so hard not to compare to others and I always want to do more (like you, I have lots of ideas, but I don’t always have time), but my priority right now is my little boy and growing a healthy baby girl. I would like to dedicate more time to figuring out what I want to do next. I’m trying to be gentle with myself and know that time will come. I’ve loved following along with your career after being introduced via The Everygirl. Your photography is beautiful (and usually makes me hungry)! I’m originally from a small town north of Minneapolis and also loved your feature on Des Moines. Smaller midwestern cities don’t always get the love they deserve!

  • Brianna Greene

    This was so good to read! I can relate to so much of what you said as far as lacking motivation/being in a rut/etc. I’ve started working out and trying to eat healthier which I think is helping so far! But having your insight is so, so great. It’s so nice to know I’m not alone and that it gets better! Thanks for the reminder to keep going 🙂 xo, brianna

  • I loved reading this, Cassandra! I can relate more than you know 🙂 Thanks for the extra boost of motivation on this fine Monday!

  • reezy8289

    This post brought me back to reality. Thanks!