My Journey To Self-Acceptance...

From the Photographer's Standpoint

If you haven't already noticed, my page greatly focuses on LGBTQ+ couples & acceptance. For those of you who have no idea what it's like being a part of this community, let me tell you, it's hard! It is not easy being automatically labeled as different by society, automatically repressed. You're taught at such a young age that a girl marries a boy and a boy marries a girl, no in between. You are taught to fit in with society, to never stand out. "Make sure you get an A on that test," they say, as they program us all to be robots complying to society's social standards and expectations. However, I, like many LGBTQ+ individuals, was not born to fit in and I never have been the kind of person to comply with others directions. Bossy, they'd call be at 6, Pushy, they'd call me at 10, Selfish at 12, Control Freak, at 16, but I say no! I am not bossy, pushy, selfish or a so-called control freak. How about we use the words, leader, determined, self-seeking and idealistic. I know I am a strong, hard-working, determined independent woman, who is willing to go the extra mile to make her dreams come true. I consider that to be a beautiful thing, if you ask me! It's about time we stop imposing the idea on little girls that they have to be perfect, that they have to stay within the lines at all times. It's okay to be different, to not be just like everyone else. Different is special, different is remembered, different is legendary. Nobody thinks an ordinary person can do extraordinary things until it's done...

"I couldn't be any more proud of who I am. I don't feel a need to fit in or be just like everyone else. It's just not who I am and I love that!"

Paola a. rivera

I am destined to color outside the lines and not allow anybody get in my way.

I personally utilize she/her pronouns and identify as a lesbian. I came out at just fifteen years young, which you might think is "too young," like most, however, it is not as young as you may believe. Think back to the time you began having crushes on other kids at school. Pretty young, right? It's the same with a lot of LGBTQ+ individuals and even though some may realize it at a later age, we are all valid and our sexual orientations shall not be a determining factor on whether or not we are able to be extraordinary beings. Self-acceptance is hard, it's a journey, a process that never gets fully fulfilled, no matter how much self-love you may have! Even at eighty-nine, you are still growing and learning, because every season in life is completely different and should be lived to its fullest. You never know which season will be your last, so live every one like there is no tomorrow. It is important to appreciate the rocks thrown your way, as they are only there to help you grow and flourish as a human being. Being gay is not something I am ashamed of, rather proud. I am proud to be different, proud to be outstanding, proud to be defying society's expectations for me. With one life to live, I wish for no regrets. Working hard to chase after my dreams when others tell me "no", is exactly what I am going to do! Don't be afraid to take that leap of faith and go through with the risk of a lifetime. The risk that will avoid the everlasting, self-consuming thought, "If only I had tried..."

Follow your dreams, lovelies! The sky is the limit!

Your Photographer,

Paola A. Rivera

[Founder of Everlasting Captures Photography]

Remember, always be true to who you are!