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The Real Me

Kate Lemmon



I spent yesterday morning at a photographer friend’s house talking about how we feel a little nervous to share something less-than-perfect on the magically curated world of Instagram. How we used to share snapshots simply for the sake of sharing them, versus creating “these would never happen in reality” moments.

And then this morning, in my habit of reaching for my phone in a half-awake stupor, I sleepily scrolled across a blog post from my soon-to-be wedding photographer and all-around kickass human being, Mary Marantz, about the “real her.” Besides admitting that she, too, checks her phone in her sleep, she shared more pieces of her life that made me laugh, smile, and want to hop through my phone to hug her. I found her words so refreshing, and she inspired me to attempt honesty in my own way.

Especially in an industry in which so many hours are spent in solitude at the computer, I feel that connecting with other people on a human level is such a necessity. So today, here’s my attempt to share a bit of the girl who’s behind all of those colorful images on Instagram. Maybe you feel the same way; maybe you don’t. But my hope is that we can work together to let each other in. ♥


  • When work is crazy, my 425 square foot apartment consistently looks it was visited by a tornado. Despite all efforts to keep it orderly (KonMari method, anyone?!) it still looks that way right now.
  • My fiancé’s real name is Emmanuel and he’s a first generation Mexican-American. I’m too embarrassed to pronounce his name in Spanish, but it sounds wrong to say it the “white” way. So when we started dating on our birthday almost two years ago (yes, our birthdays are the same!), I shortened his name to E and never looked back.
  • My favorite piece of clothing is my pair of spotted pajama pants (which E calls my “pink giraffe PJs”). I wear them proudly to our late-night visits to the grocery store.
  • I’m fascinated by strangers, and I have to work hard not to stare at people on the train. I have fun making up imaginary stories for people and analyzing their fashion choices.
  • I spent 13 years of my life training to be a classical flutist in an orchestra. It took all my courage to walk away from that path (and let down the people who wanted to see me succeed in music) and pursue the career I knew was right for me all along.
  • I grew up in the suburbs of Texas and I always craved more excitement. When I was a senior in high school, I visited my friend in Boston. I fell in love with the city and knew I would live there someday. Sometimes I feel like I don’t quite belong, though — I’m too nice to live in Boston, and I’m too restless to live in Texas. 😉
  • I worry all the time about keeping people happy. This weight of this sometimes feels like a backpack that I just can’t take off. I carry my work with me to bed every night (figuratively!) and it’s the first thing I think about when I wake up. That’s the reality of being a business owner.
  • I don’t cook, and I spend most of my discretionary income trying to keep it that way.
  • Until four months ago, I was fiercely addicted to sugar. I’ve battled with weight issues since high school and my weight has yo-yoed because I couldn’t stop eating entire boxes of Little Debbies snacks at a time. As a 24-year-old, I felt like a failure because I couldn’t stop craving sugar all the time. So I simply quit it completely, dropped 20 lbs, and took my life back.
  • Driving terrifies me. Even when I drove regularly in Texas, I gripped the wheel way too hard. Now that I live in a city filled with angry drivers and crazy roads, finding the courage to drive feels impossible.
  • Despite being a born-and-raised Texan, I still don’t understand the rules of football, but going to a game makes me feel like I’m home.
  • My first winter as a full-time photographer was also the worst one on record in the history of Boston. In February, I panicked and wondered if my business would make it through to spring. Now that it’s peak season again, I have to remind myself that this winter will be different and it’s OK to have a better work/life balance. In between working 60 hours a week, I’m trying hard to make time for the people that I care about.
  • E and I are having a family-only wedding with 22 guests, and yet Pinterest planning is still taking over my life.
  • I get separation anxiety from my phone.
  • When I edit photos, I binge-watch (or I guess I should say binge-listen) entire Netflix shows in the background. I’ve seen a greater percentage of Netflix’s inventory than I care to admit.
  • Even though I still love the city life so much, it’s hard not to fantasize about the square footage E & I could have if we lived in Texas.
  • My last real workout was in February. I’m pretty sure the yoga studio has thrown away my mat by now.
  • My biggest goal in life is to have a family. My worst fear, besides losing the people I love, is not being able to do that. I even have a secret Pinterest board filled with articles about motherhood and all the activities I want to do with my kids someday.
  • Every so often, I feel so happy that it seems like my heart will explode. As I get older, those moments happen fewer and further between, and I’m working hard to bring them back.



So, friends, here’s to honesty and living authentically on a day-to-day basis (not just as an Instagram hashtag). I hope this brings you a little peace and helps you find the courage to pay it forward.


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