First we must say this, we never feel the need to share overly personal information about our lives on the internet because no one *really* wants to hear about our problems and we don’t feel obligated to make our problems other people’s problems or concerns. We do our best to maintain a friendly yet professional reputation among the art community without over-sharing.
That being said, I am about to over-share because it has gotten to the point where we BOTH feel it is getting out of hand and necessary to do so.
Lately we have been getting a lot of cancellations or requests for refunds because people’s family members or pets or friends have cancer. Sometimes we are told this when we have already made it half way across the country to the clients city (a day before their booking) and other times it’s a day after a deposit was made. We get SO MANY sob stories and it does, in deed, make us feel awful. Despite our feelings of sorrow for each story teller who goes into detail and writes in a fashion that is obviously supposed to lead to us “feeling bad for them” and refunding their deposit money, we cannot go back on our strict policy for cancellations. If we gave everyone who cancelled a refund we would be living in a gutter right now and eating out of dumpsters. We feel it’s very unfair to put us in this position. It drains us of the positive energy we so crucially need to just keep going in this business. If you are going to cancel just say so without the stories. (Note: We ALWAYS offer anyone cancelling a chance to find someone to take their spot so that no one loses money!)
What people DON’T realize is that BOTH Justin and I are dealing with our own family health issues right now. We have debated sharing these details of our life with even closer “friend” clients for about a year now and have almost always opted to keep things to ourselves BUT HERE GOES: Justin’s amazingly beautiful mother has been battling intestinal cancer for over a year now. We have not let this horrific fact prevent us from working… and honestly, we can’t afford to! We still have to do our job and do it to the absolute best of our ability without allowing personal sorrow and concern to interfere. And to add insult to injury, my own totally radical mother was diagnosed with skin cancer a couple months ago and she already has an almost “cancer-like” blood disease the requires regular blood transfusions and tests that she has been struggling with since my senior year of high school. We are both extremely close with our mothers and actually began changing our life plans and have been trying to look into moving a bit closer to home so when we’re not touring we can spend more time with family. I am sure a lot of you have noticed that we have been hitting up Boston a lot more lately? This is why.
But still, almost relentlessly, we travel and work. We laugh and smile and make friends and art because that is EXACTLY what BOTH of our mom’s want us to be doing. We will never cancel a tour where people have placed money and efforts into unique shoots with us because of these things. Honestly, and sadly, that isn’t even an option, financially. And luckily, being creative and making new friends daily is an amazing, spiritually recharging outlet that we need.
But lately, to be dealing with SO many people dropping the cancer bomb on us (so many in the past 4 weeks) and making us feel close to awful for not being able to afford to give every single one of them a refund is starting to drain us completely. If our own mother’s both have the dreadful “C” word and we can still drive across the country to work it’s really frustrating to have people cancel last minute who are unable to show up in their home town for a few hours to meet their obligations as a booking client because a (sometimes) distant family member or friend is suddenly in remission or was just diagnosed. And if that is the case we would much prefer when you cancel you just tell us “something came up” because to subject other human beings to your deep and personal misfortune seems very out of place to us and unnecessary… especially since our cancellation policy will not budge and we ourselves are dealing with similar misfortunes.
And then our thoughts travel to the idea that, yes it is so very possible this many people are dealing with cancer almost suddenly, but what if some of these people are just making up excuses? What an awful thing to think about when we ourselves are dealing with cancer on very personal levels.
We are terribly sorry for the over-share and we are almost uncomfortable posting this due to how personal it is but we both feel that perhaps this is something we need to share at this point. We don’t wish for any pity but we gladly accept any positive energy anyone wishes to send out to our mom’s, and of course, to our clients who are also dealing with something as ugly as cancer, face to face.
No need to feel sorrow for us… our momma-bears are strong and WILL get through this! And our artistic spirits will not be broken… this is merely a plea for people to think about the other party… think about what might being going on on the other side of the e-mail or text message before you over share or use cancer as an excuse (if that applies to any of the cases stated.)
Best regards and tons of hugs and happy thoughts to all of the friends who we have come to cherish and love while living happily in this industry!
*This message has been approved by our moms!*