The Morning Collective

Photography by  Felton Kizer

Photography by Felton Kizer

Sloane Crawford

9:45am: "I hope that the Lord gives me the strength that I need to get through today. Although there are struggles in my life I know that with God I can do anything. 

Now it's time for me to get emotionally ready for the day. First I grab my laptop and open it up to my video maker. Each day I vlog my thoughts starting off by talking about the previous days events. Depending on how the day went I may rant about a situation or just talk. The reason I do this is because when I am looking at myself in the camera I can tell if I'm being honest or if my pride is getting in the way. I think it's important for me to be honest with myself so that I can fix the issues and just better my life in general. After I talk about any issues, I then talk about goals I want to accomplish for that day, week, and month. 

The reason I do these things is because my mind gets so cluttered with emotions and priorities. Vlogging helps me to get organized. Then I start getting physically ready for the day. During that time I may watch the previous days video to see if I've made any progress. "

Photography by  Felton Kizer

Photography by Felton Kizer

Dominique Jackson

6:15 a.m.: "When did fear become a factor? I never use to be afraid to meet and connect with new people. Growing up I was always eager to embrace new smiles. 

But somewhere along the line I started to think that being Dominique wasn't enough anymore. The thought of begin Dominique the reporter, producer, writer, event planner who wants to travel, share the love God, and fight for justice started to make me feel like I was being measured and like I didn't deserve that life. 

Fear told me that it was all about the gifts. Some of which I’m still refining and growing into. 

So fear came in and clicked a button in my head that told me that being Dominique wasn’t okay anymore. That I had to prove myself worthy of people’s time and attention. That the seat didn't belong to me. 

I shut down. I lost my voice and I was afraid to speak. I was afraid to be fully the weight of who I am and who God created me to be. 

Who defines my worth? Who gave me a voice to speak? A voice thats purpose is to glorify his name and to spread his love. 

So I’m this season, and I’m learning that my spot at the table is not reserved by man, but is predestined by God; who pulls out my chair and says- “Take a seat, and share your heart. Share your worries, wisdoms, truths and your troubles because you have a lot to offer this table. You belong at this table solely because I put you at this table. Sit down, think about the cross, and speak. 

Psalm 56:3- When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God I trust and am not afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?".

Photography by  Felton Kizer

Photography by Felton Kizer

Bethany Roesler

5:30am: "My train leaves in an hour. Today, I go from one home to the other. What a blessing to have two places to call home".

Photography by  Felton Kizer

Photography by Felton Kizer

Serenity Martin

9:15am: "My first thought this morning was simply thanking the Lord for waking me up again. I decided that before my feet hit the ground, pick up my cell phone, or give thought to anything else I would set my spiritual intentions for the day. Like most days I pray for strength and clarity throughout my day. My greatest need in this moment of life is for me to walk as close to Him and in His purpose for my life as possible. And my morning thoughts reflect that need. I put Him first and myself.

Particularly this morning, I feel the need to conserve as much of my personal energy as possible. If I could stay home all day and just be in my space, I would. However I have responsibilities to attend to so the challenge becomes balance; maintaining this intimate energy with God and myself and being available to others.

I believe as women, we're not afforded the luxury sometimes to simply BE. Even other women will look at you funny, because they themselves aren't familiar with such a practice. Everyday whether male or female, I feel like it's imperative to self love first because if you don't you can truly lose yourself. Be good to yourself so that you can be good to others".

Photography by  Felton Kizer

Photography by Felton Kizer

Emily Wong Loi Sing

9:45am: "Did I miss my alarm? It's Saturday and I didn't make morning plans... So no! Rest. Replenish. There are no expectations today. Nothing you must finish. 

I woke up again at 9, thinking: I MUST PEE. But when I went back into the guest room, I wondered if my tulips were freezing outside. Then I thought about how happy I am that my brother lives 3 minutes away from Jeremy's family now. He bought his first place, and my mom and dad are celebrating that they launched their children out into the world. Now he's my neighbor. 

Today's To Do List:

1. Get Zac houswarming gift

2. Check Clark Street for dress for this wedding today

3. Make fruit-filled breakfast"

Photography by  Felton Kizer

Photography by Felton Kizer

Raven Stevenson

6:30am: "My muscles are sore from the day before. I don’t stretch enough. I have to load and unload our gear truck all over again next week.

So annoying. My sheets are coming off the corner of my bed.

Did I prepare enough for the test shoot? I need to get better about writing what I want for it down.

I am frustrated by an email sent to me by my camera operator. I hired him a couple of weeks ago for the independent project I am Director of Photography on. We are less than a week from the shoot. He emailed me to ask if I had a first and second assistant camera. Of course I do. It’s a film shoot. I am a competent DP. Why would he ask me that less than a week before? I felt like my competency was put into question. It felt disrespectful. I hate that I have to think about how our work relationship going into set. That it may start off with low expectations of me. I know that I have even shot more than he has. You don’t know me.
Will we work together well? Will he take my direction? I can’t be late.

I have to put together notes and lighting overheads for my Gaffer tonight.
They can’t know my doubts or concerns. That I might be nervous. Will someone be able to tell?

I am still excited to be able to shoot over Spring Break on this project. But, I can’t remember the last Spring Break where I wasn’t shooting. I never really get a break. I like working though." 

Photography by  Felton Kizer

Photography by Felton Kizer

Paris Fresh

8:00am: "I have so many things to do today. I want more sleep, but I have to get my day started. I don't have to go to every event. Which one can I cancel to get some homework done? Aye!!! Charlene followed me on Instagram! I really hope people come to the info session. I can't wait to kick it with the squad tonight. Low key this is a squad day all day, I hope they don't get on my nerve and vice versa.

I need to write Mariame a note for her going away party. She and I aren't that close but she means a lot to me. I need to clean my house so bad, but I don't have time to do it. I feel better today than I did yesterday. I need to go change my tampon. I probably should do some crunches or sit-ups, but nah.

High key the fish and chicken at this info session is about to be sooo good. I need to respond to the media and panel request emails and send them out to my squad. 

I spent so much money last night on my nails. This self care thing is getting expensive. I need to start on my mommy's Mother's Day gift. Also I need to check in on Grandma Marcia, Jojo and Ta. I need to create a homework to do list. I want to be done with it all them by the end of spring break. Speaking of spring break I need to plan for some fun stuff to do. I also need to start my total system cleanse. Okay, for real, let me get out of this bed and change my tampon and pick out a cute outfit for my long day."

Photography by  Felton Kizer

Photography by Felton Kizer

Director's Note:

Something that has always intrigued me is the intricate thoughts of women and how some people have yet to realize the depths of what lie within them. The reason why I wanted to capture morning thoughts is because I believe that they are some of the purest and rawest reflections of our inward states of being.

My goal was to make these woman stop and reflect. Instead of reaching for their phones first thing in the morning and focusing on the busyness around them, I felt like challenging their inward conversation. Exchanging their daily dose of social chaos for self evaluation and inner awareness.  Each woman was given the task of writing down her thoughts before getting out of bed. I loved the diversity shown between each woman's mind process and I believe that it goes to show that women are bountiful. Full of to-do lists, projects, faith, concerns for equality in our work places, and self preservation methods. Ladies, we are more than our extensive make-up routines and hair care regimens. Let us not forget that all of our mornings are numbered and each one should be unwrapped as though it were a precious gift. Bask in those five to ten minutes of solitude before your feet hit the ground and ready your heart and soul for the journey.

The Morning Collective is the beginning of a series of creative projects that will be released on the behalf of For this project, I partnered with the super talented photographer Felton Kizer who did a phenomenal job in capturing the real emotion behind each woman's words. Check out his work, here

Mauree SullivanComment