Pics, Positivity & Making Things Happen!
By Rochelle New
(photo credit: Rochelle New)

When I published my blog post for Ichthyosis Awareness Month I was simply setting out to accomplish a long overdue goal while sharing a story I was proud to tell. I never imagined the impact or the reach it would have and the opportunities it would bring. So here I am today, sharing the first of many posts as guest contributor to the FIRST blog, elaborating on a question I was asked following the success of my essay: “Why Now?”

Though many people discovered me for the first time through my IAM story, I've been sharing a lot about myself since 2012 on my craft blog Lucky Lucille. The internet knows me as a designer, a seamstress, and a knitter, and though I have mentioned my skin casually a few times on my blog I've never talked about Ichthyosis in full. As I gained more and more blog readers and social media followers the more it felt slightly dishonest not to talk about my skin in depth. It's such a massive part of my life and it influences so much of what I do and create, and yet so many people who know me know so little about ichthyosis.

For the past three years I thought about writing something for IAM, but every time May rolled around I found myself feeling rushed, scared, lacking confidence, and generally not ready to launch such an intimate story for the World Wide Web to see. Quite simply, I hadn't actually planned to reach this goal. I had an idea in my head of what I wanted my IAM post to be, and it was clear it was going to take dedication to pull it off. The “why now?” was equal parts gut-instinct and calculated steps.

This year, I planned the post and it felt right.

You can't reach a goal without having a clear vision of the goal first, so I actually sat down and asked myself what I wanted to achieve by writing such a blog post. Obviously I wanted to raise awareness for Ichthyosis, but it was equally important to me to present my skin, and myself, in a way that was full of unique beauty and inspiration. The gut-instinct sparked the goal and it was up to me to achieve it after that.

I started keeping notes on my phone of facts I wanted to include in the post, and I quickly realized I didn't want to share just facts. So much of what is already on the internet about Ichthyosis is “textbook” and clinical. I wanted my take on Ichthyosis to be as inspiring and positive as it was personal, so I started crafting a story instead of a checklist.

I planned the story, and it felt right.

Because I'm a blogger I have all the camera equipment to take my own photos. I have a tripod and a remote timer which allows me to take excellent selfies so that wasn't necessarily a challenge for me. The challenge was capturing my skin in a way that came off as visually striking, not shocking. I wanted to portray enough mystery to invite readers to investigate my story. I aimed to capture myself in positions that were graceful, artful, and full of light. I wanted contrast, both literally and metaphorically. I wanted the tone of the photos to be soft even when my skin was not.

I planned the photos and they felt right.

The point I want to make is that any success in life, no matter how small, is equal parts gut-instinct and calculated planning. When something feels right you should pursue that feeling, but you can't stop there. You have to develop a plan, put in the work and follow through. Take charge of your instincts and make things happen. Map out all the steps, make several drafts, make changes, pivot your direction if you have to, and keep nurturing that gut feeling as you work toward your goal. This process is your head and your heart working together. This process is where confidence is born. The best version of yourself lives and thrives in the moment you trust your gut and make a plan to follow it.

What feels right to you today? Make a plan and make it happen!

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