By Andrea Costrino

As I read her words, “Would you PLEASE consider a guest blog on my website? Your writing is so inspiring and real. I just love it.”………

Instant, full-body chills of excitement washed over me. 
A feeling that was short-lived and fleeting. Immediately after, I had an uncontrollable swell of tears in my eyes.
My chest tightened. Suddenly my smile awkwardly turns into an ugly cry. 

Interesting.  I was not aware that I was visiting an amusement park today. What’s the name of this emotional rollercoaster I am on?

The rollercoaster’s cart clicks up to the peak and a flashback of my journey in elementary-high school years pops in my head; a vision of papers and tests with an overwhelming amount of red marks.

The feelings of shame, embarrassment, unworthiness and “not enough” came flooding back to me. 

The ride stops and the safety bar lifts. She wants ME to write a blog? Who am I to do that.

Woah! Who let old Andrea back in the building?  Didn’t we put a lock on that door? Ugh. Hello there, my old friend.

Here’s the thing; it’s not that I didn’t try in school. That was the problem- I did. And then I failed anyway. 

A steady stream of C’s, D’s, C’s, D’s… a familiar pattern that no longer made me feel much of anything anymore. 

Not mad.  Not sad.  Nothing. Just defeated and silent. 

An assignment would be given or a test would be laid on my desk, and I’d search wildly around the room for a lifeline. A familiar face who would give me a few whispered answers, a sly note passed back, or a slight nudge of the paper to the side of their desk. I’d let out a sigh of relief, as I mentally thanked my friends.

I was finally excelling…as an expert copycat. 

Way to gooooooo, Andrea!  

I never raised my hand. I never contributed my ideas to a group; in class or socially. I just laid low, under the radar, acting like I was deep-thinking – but truly I was deep-praying that someone else would know what to do or say. 

I didn’t see a shift until a few years into college. I watched in astonishment as the C’s and D’s started transforming into B’s and A’s.

Oh yeah!  Suddenly I was like the Kool-Aid man; kicking through bricks and breaking down walls.

And guess what?  I finished my Masters with an overall 3.96 GPA.

13 years later, I am able to attribute those grades to learning about the things I was interested in and passionate about; the things I could feel deep to my core.  I finally figured out how I learned best: alone, facing a blank wall, earplugs in, and with no visual distractions. 

Can you say “undiagnosed ADD?”

Now at 40 years old, I finally have come into my own. 

Ta-Ta-Ta TODAY, Junior! Welcome to the party!

I learn, and I read and I write, all for myself. 

In the last 6 months, people have made comments on my posts. Even saying it was, “well-written” or “moved them”.

So what gives?? What created a change?

The magic formula for me is…. 

My mind, body, and soul are finally aligned with my true purpose.
In my business, I am serving from a place of authenticity.
I am creating and working from my deep passion.
I have dropped the things that no longer serve me. 
I have finally tapped into my truth.

So now when I sit to write, instead of mulling over creating a perfectly curated sentence or think about what other people might WANT to hear, or even debating how to please EVERYONE in my audience.

I simply just don’t. I don’t force a sing-songy narrative to paint the perfect picture or end each post with a rote catchy phrase to pair with my work.

Instead, I get quiet and dig deep into what I am feeling at that moment.   I lean all the way in. And let it flow.
I speak to MY people.

My people get it. 
My people are, or were, on a similar journey. 
My people hear me and see me for who I am. 
My people allow me to show up and be vulnerable. 
My people feel a connection to the mess in my message. 
My people and I are all that matters. 

So Karmell, I guess my answer to your question above is a resounding YES! 
Yes, I will be a guest blogger on your website.
Thank you for being one of my people. 

Xo, Andrea 

Andrea Costino is the owner of Andrea Costrino & Co. Photography. Find her here: