Hiding behind a smokescreen.

By definition, to hide behind a smokescreen means to put or keep (oneself or an object) in a secret place; conceal from view or discovery. A smokescreen is a place of concealment, usually disguised to appear as part of the natural environment; primarily used by hunters, birdwatchers, etc. 

But hiding behind a smokescreen isn't exclusive to hunters. Even you and I- regular humans- try to disguise and 'fit in' as to appear part of our "natural environment".  

Fitting in. Familiarity and comfort zones. The unnoticed cozy feelings that keep us from taking chances and having some faith in ourselves for once. And unlike popular belief, focussing on your personal comfort and ability to blend in only keeps you from owning up to the calling that was personally and intentionally given to YOU.

What do we expect God to do with a bunch of minions with no personality and no originality? Isn't the entire concept of free will one that clearly tells us that our belief revolves around personal relationship? For that reason, I believe the plan for your life is bigger than living like a minion. Of course, whether you see the reality or not is entirely up to you. I am just pointing out the fact that there are billions of us who are each unique, so trying to have us all‘fit in’sounds redundant to me. 

When we try to hide behind smokescreens, what we are essentially doing is hiding ourselves (or toning our true selves down a notch) in order to feel like we belong. Putting aside our convictions and giving into peer pressure. Acting in whatever way seems to appease those around us.

I am sure most of us have found ourselves hiding behind a smokescreen at one point. The main (of many) issues I see with that, is the fact that we get stuck in this 'wannabe' version of ourselves, comparing and measuring up and, as a result, we develop enough insecurities to put us on antidepressants. 

The good news is that we don't have to stay there, there is no need to hide. Hiding stems from a lack of self-confidence, and the constant comparison of ourselves to one another that allows their expectations of us define us. Oh, and also for putting too much focus on what you're NOT rather than WHO you ARE.. It stems from not understanding that each of us are one of a kind, deliberately and purposefully made to be the way we are. Intentionally unique

Don't get me wrong, smokescreens are a challenge for us all at some level. The key is recognizing it and reminding yourself to keep discovering who you are and what you stand for. And when you find it- fight for it. God can't bless the person you pretend to be.

Wearing For Love and Lemons sweaters, Camilla bathing suit, Xevana jewelry
Shot by Hannah Burton

To the real superheroes.

Happy mother’s day. To all mothers out there- know you are appreciated. Know you are loved. Your sacrifice does not go unnoticed, your love does not go unfelt.

To every woman who has carried and birthed a child. To every woman who has never heard an appropriate THANK YOU. To all mommas with dirty shirts, wrinkled dresses and undone hair- know that you are seen; you are noticed.
To give selflessly, to love unconditionally, to put someone else’s well-being and happiness before your own. To possess the innate desire to accommodate and satisfy another, while watching your days get longer and your nights get shorter. To YOU I give the credit. Your hearts I salute. Your sufferings I treasure.

Cheers to the lack of structure and the unprecedented schedules. Cheers to the tears shed in private and the pain felt in secret. Cheers to the sacrifice, the occasional relinquishment of your own dreams and plans. You are seen. Momma, you are noticed. And today is about YOU.

The plans for this Mother’s Day’s story wasn’t this. We had brainstormed and creatively planned the course of this story. The colors and the joy; the playfulness captured within the images. We had worked out the perfect plan. A plan which I had fit it into my busy and inflexible schedule. We had the story, the interview and the moodboard; we had a strategy. But life never happens this smoothly, at least not for the mother. The life of a mother is about the constant change and adjustment, the constant growing, learning and praying for a new capacity to undertake circumstances.

When my son became sick on the day of our elaborate shoot and story I was again reminded of the fact that my life is unpredictable because its not my own. No matter my plans for this shoot my priority is not a selfish one.

When looking at my child, everything gains perspective. No responsibility comes before; no deadline is relevant. But isn’t that what life is about anyways? To be given the gift of love greater than the love for yourself. I would like to say I apologize for the fact that my Mother’s day post didn’t turn out as I planned, but truth is, I have no time to apologize as I need to go be with my son.

All mothers out there- I salute you.

Shot by Hannah Burton


Its Tuesday, 6:17am. I got up at 4 something so I could get some work done before Zion woke up, and the first thing I read on my phone was a text from Wendy Strong. Wendy is a mom of 4, a wife (whose husband is currently traveling with my husband) and as strong of a woman as her name would suggest. The text read:

"Just in case your mind is playing tricks on you today: You matter. You're important. You're loved. And your presence on this Earth makes a difference, whether you see it or not."  She continues, "I know when the boys are away and doing really cool things that sometimes it actually sucks being home. Saturday for me was crazy and a day I wish I could forget, so if you're having a crazy sucky day when everything seems to be going wrong and your kids and life are driving you mental, I want you to be encouraged that we actually are playing a major "non glamorous" role and to keep pushing through and know that you matter, you're important and that you got this. Praying that you're all having a great day and that when the kids are in bed tonight, that you find time to rest and chill out and not be overwhelmed with the business of our everyday lives."

So, you might be asking yourself, what does this text have to do with these photos? Well, not much. But this editorial looks especially "glamorous" to me. It is glossy and sunny, we aimed to create a 'bronzed goddess' look, rich in color and contrast. But when these photos were being taken the conditions were not as glam. Hot and sweaty sun, hard to stand on rocks, a 2 year old boy a few steps away who was about to either tackle me to my death or fall down the rocks at any given moment. Any moms reading this would understand the multitasking abilities that it takes to watch your child and keep them safe while trying to focus on something else. I've obviously had much worse days than this one and definitely have dealt with much bigger problems than the simpler day to day struggles. But I still felt like I should mention the not-so-glamorous conditions that produced these glamorous images. Its easy to just show our best, but its the REAL that connects you to people, its the vulnerability that brews compassion. 

The point is not to complain or to compare our difficulties, the point isn't to say that balancing life is tough- we already know that.  The point is to remind you that we are all on the same boat, trying to navigate life without knowing where its taking us. Its easy to look at someone's life and assume they have it easier than we do, that if only we had their lives, then we would be happy. But things are never as glamorous as they look. People never have it as easy as we think. And because of that, we are always better off together, supporting each other and encouraging one another. 

"Be kind; for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle."

I hope you enjoy 

X Es


Editorial for Ixiah - Shop at http://ixiah.com/eboutique/
Produced by WHOOLAND LLC
Photography: Hannah Burton
MUA: Rachel Julia Artistry
Creative Direction: Me