I'm a writer, Youtuber, photographer. and old-fashioned romantic in love with celebrating the simple joys of daily life. I appreciate timelessness, the natural world, and a slow life lived with simplicity and intention. When I'm not photographing families or  slowly traveling the world and writing about it in a little notebook, I'm happily grounding myself in nature and cozying up with my sweet husband.

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Social media often doesn’t seem like real life these days, does it? More often than not we scroll past beautiful pictures, exciting travels and adventures we only dream of going on. For me, it looks like a beautiful wooden house with a big backyard and lots of dogs and cats to take care of. It sometimes can look like a super “successful” photography business, traveling the world a handful of times a year to photograph joyful families in love with life and their children. I scroll past the photographers whose businesses I wish my business would look like someday, and the house with character in the midwest I dream of owning and remodeling, planting a big vegetable garden in the backyard and planning my dog’s birthday party. Pinterest and Instagram can make you feel like life is perfect. But I use my social media platforms as a real look at who I am, at the life I lead and  the behind-the-scenes that most artists aren’t sharing online. In an effort to be honest and share my open heart on my little online journal, I am following the trend of sharing the

Things I’m Afraid to Tell You

I Get Overly Stressed-Out

…and easily. While I am lucky that I’m a naturally very happy and positive person, the thing I struggle with is stress. If an event comes up that creates any type of conflict or problem with my plans, the nerves kick in and stress overwhelms me. I’m very laid-back and don’t often fret, but when a negative experience occurs or a stressful situation does come up, I panic. Unlike my husband who calmly deals with conflict in a straight-forward, non-stressful manner, I get very flustered and can feel panic deep in my chest if the situation is too much for my “mind” to handle. It got so bad in two instances in my life where the stress completely overtook me, and I had a strange albeit intense out of body-experience where I couldn’t control my breath. Luckily, it’s only happened twice (both times were in the busy summer of 2017), and I’m grateful I developed a strong system for what to do when stress overtakes me (such as meditation, walks in nature, and a journal rampage where I let all the thoughts pour out onto the page).

I Haven’t Been to the Dentist… in Years

This is an embarrassing one, truthfully… I haven’t been to the dentist in years, and I’m so scared of going out of fear of how many cavities they find. I grew up very poor as a child and going to the dentist was not on a list of priorities for my single mother and I. When you’re struggling with paying the rent every month and getting food on the table, going to the dentist is not something one often thinks about. On the plus side, I am OCD about brushing my teeth after every meal, and I have not yet suffered from any early warning signs of cavities, but needless to say, it’s important for to go at least once a year. Alex is making me go next month, so this is happening! Ugh, wish me luck…

I Had it Rough Growing Up

As mentioned above, I grew up very poor. Like on food stamps poor. This is not something I share with others on the internet, but I feel one’s mess becomes their message. And my mess may relate to others who have dealt with poverty growing up, as well. I also suffered from many family situations and individuals growing up  but I don’t feel comfortable sharing about the specific incidents or particulars online, as there are other people involved that it wouldn’t be fair to them that I share the stories. In certain ways, my childhood was traumatic. When the times were good, life was good. When it was bad, it was bad. But I can say…is that these situations, people, and my childhood made me the joyful, resilient and powerful person that I am today. I truly don’t believe that I would be as strong and compassionate if these events did not happen. I also ended an ongoing cycle in my families history. And for that, I am deeply grateful and appreciative to everyone in my journey. There is a positive to every negative.

I’m Afraid of Regret and “What Ifs”

There is so much I would like to do with this life, but I also realize how fragile life really is. While I am not at all afraid of death, I am afraid of not doing all that I wish to. I have a strong need to contribute to the world, not in the sense of leaving something of me behind but rather helping the planet in some way. I fear regret over not helping enough animals from extinction, not spending my days saving whales and not creating or doing anything to stop a fraction of the carbon emissions and plastic waste that is trashing our beautiful planet every day. Contributing to the planet and the animals that live here with us is something I deeply value, and I’m afraid of…

“what if I never do it? What if I never help? What if I waste my time on Earth not contributing anything for the people and animals that come after us?”

It’s a struggle being a straight-shooter

I’m a complicated person (as is everyone) with very simple goals and simple ideas. But my no-nonsense, honest approach to most things causes controversy. I refuse to deal in  unnecessary complexities or compromise my heart’s desires, and I’ve seen others get turned off by that on the internet. And it hurts my feelings…because while I am going to do what I want to do anyway (Taurus with a Leo moon, ya’ll!), I also deeply care. And I am very sensitive to criticism. Being a simple, big-picture thinker, I often want to get straight to the source and solve the problem, and I don’t want to waste precious time going around issues. For those that are lucky to be able to see more grey in life (I’m really working on this!), life really isn’t as simple as I see it in my mind. Life is complicated, they say. I just imagine the world where everyone is equal and loving and kind to one another, and people don’t throw trash in the river or spend money on wars. I just want everyone to be friends. I wish everyone could love one another, and it all seems very simple to me. I believe in following your heart, staying in your own lane and loving every person you meet along the way. But life is much more complicated than that….isn’t it?

Love, Helena

Things I’m Afraid to Tell You

November 12, 2018

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I'm Helena! As a creative storyteller, I document magical, emotionally honest family and children's portraiture. A lover of childhood, fairytales and natural light, I photograph families across the world. I'm the ultimate Disney nerd, and I'm obsessed with cats and expressing my love for the simple joys of slow, daily life.

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Helena Woods is a destination newborn and family photographer based in France and New England and travels worldwide. She is known for her natural light, modern classic, and emotive photography style.

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