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019 | Q+A with Me

Hey, hey, hey. Welcome to Souls Undressed. I’m your host, Tori Rankovich + you’re listening to episode 19. Today we are having a q+a with yours truly + these questions came from the Instagram community + Facebook page. As well as past clients, some members of my team, + then a couple of people close to me just to kind of give that inside look at questions that would come from somebody who knows me well.

So I will start with our quote + then we are going to dive right in because I have a bunch of questions so you guys are in for a treat. Today’s quote is,

“As children, we’re taught to use our inside voices, but girls who become women are still told to be quiet. Not to rise higher than a man's chest, still treated like toys. The ones who have lungs to say what they mean are just seen as bad girls who don't follow the rules.” - Rical Franko

I chose that quote for a few reasons. I was really drawn to it + I almost didn't write it down a couple of different times but, because I was so drawn to it I was like no. I have to. I wasn't quite sure if it would watch the episode because these question topics cover so much. It's really the last bit of that quote that resonates so deeply with me I was like no I have to include it here. “The ones who have lungs to say what they mean are just seen as bad girls who don’t follow the rules.”

I would write that all over my mirror. If I could give one piece of advice it would be to never sacrifice what you know is right just for the sake of maintaining a label or avoiding a label. That’s all I’m really going to get into for that because we’re going to dive into so much of my thoughts + my experiences in this episode so let’s do it.

Question #1: Do you have any tips + tricks for budgeting?

This one made me kind of giggle because we don’t truly budget in my home but I am a former consumer education teacher. We had to teach budgeting to our students + my biggest piece of advice for budgeting would be to look at your monthly income. Which is super easy to do. Most of us only get paid once or twice a month. If you get paid 4 or 5 times a month that’s fine. Just write it down when it comes in.

It’s not like you have to set it aside + not spend it but write the amount down when it comes in. If you have a wage that changes from month to month, I would recommend doing this for a couple of months in a row to get an average if you’re being super serious about budgeting because you don’t want to lowball yourself + not make sure that you have enough money set aside. Say you made a lot of money one month + it was a really good month at the restaurant or whatever. You don't want to expect that high income every month.

That's why you should average it out so you’ve got a good idea of what you’re truly ideally going to bring in. One thing that Andrew + I do in our home any time we’re talking about spending big money. We always overestimate the expense + underestimate what we have. We round down the amount of money we are saying we have in our mind + we will round up what we’re thinking about spending. That helps us not cut it too close if that makes sense.

As far as adding up your income for the month after you know that I would just take a quick browse at your bill. I know that budgeting sounds so extreme + extravagant + hard but it's not at all. Just look into your bills + any money that you have. Think about roughly if you drive quite a ways to work I would also recommend noting for a month how much money you put in your gas tank. Then after you get an idea for how much you’re putting out + bringing in its really easy math to just figure out what you need to stay in a spending window to be comfortable.

In my opinion, budgeting is about having the money to spend it on or what you need to set it aside for. Another thing we always talked about in consumer ed was making sure every month you had money to put away into your savings. Say you blow a tire or your transmission blows. Those are pricey fixes that are pretty important for you to get from point a to point b when you’re trying to go to work + continue making income so having some money set aside like that. If you get hurt + break your arm you need to be able to pay for your doctor bills.

Just little stuff like that to where it gives a purpose to save. Your savings should truly be there for a true shitty rainy day. That way it's there if you don't have a rainy day + you and your lover have the opportunity to go on a quick trip. Cool, you can spend half of that + keep the other half. I’m someone personally where I will make sure I have a big chunk set aside in case anything happens. If Andrew + I stumble across the perfect home for us. We’re not sure if we want to buy it. We’ve gone back + forward so many times.

If we stumble across the perfect home we’re going to want to have a downpayment to put down. I always like to make sure I have a good chunk set aside. At the same time, 22 to 26 has taught me that my savings is there to catch me if I need it but it’s also there to allow me to live. One thing I want to make sure to say if you are listening to for the sake of saving. I want you to remember that you don't get to do anything with this money when you die.

So yes you need to be responsible + yes you need to have enough savings to be able to keep yourself above water if the time or need comes. You also have to realize if you have secured yourself in a job that's going to continue to bring you income that money will replace itself + you have to allow yourself to live + enjoy this time on this rock. What is the point if you’re not enjoying it? That is my budgeting advice. If you want me to talk more about that from the teacher’s perspective + life’s perspective let me know. I can maybe make an episode about it.

Question 2: How are you planning or preparing to get through this likely emotionally tough winter?

This was a two-part question on my DMS + I brought it into one. She was saying she expected this to be a pretty tough winter. Obviously, the pandemic has been tough as is. Some people are thinking the pandemic will get worse before it gets better with flu season. In general, I think people have just been so isolated so much more than usual this year that cabin fever is going to feel even heavier.

How am I planning to get through this through winter? This is the first year in winter that I'm trying to be ultra responsible as far as personal self + business self go. I've already decided to limit my November sessions for the first time. There is a bunch that has gone into that decision. I'm moving towards making some big moves. Some really big emotionally tough decisions as is.

At any time of year let alone in the winter when my seasonal depression hits normally anyway. I’m cutting down my workload to an appropriate + manageable level. I also said to Andrew I know I'll probably take on a few sessions for family + friends here + there. I think though that's the first thing I did this year to really prepare for the weight that's going to be felt on my shoulders this fall.

Just trying to be mindful of how much time I’m going to have for me. I think too that knowing when you start to dip + knowing what it is that brings you joy are two huge factors for me in prepping for the lows of the winter. I know as soon as we start losing sunny days my emotions get heavy. My motivation drops. I already struggle with motivation + failure to thrive ideals as it is. I really like Ohavelly brand vitamins. I have the vitamin d ones. I don't love the flavor so I don't take them year-round but I do keep them for winter + those fall months so I can continue to lift myself up as needed.

I also try to make it a point to find a way of some sort in the winter months to just give myself a change of scenery. Usually, we will be super crazy busy around the holidays so I never try to travel too far at that time. In the past, we’ve gone to Seattle to visit friends. I had a workshop in Seattle as well. I did that for 5 days + then I had a destination wedding in February.

This year we are planning a trip in February. We’re going on a road trip + take the dogs. Travel south to avoid bad weather + play it by ear as to where we can visit. That’s another thing I always try to give myself is just the awareness that there's going to be a change of scenery, a change of pace, a little bit of sunshine thrown in there. The last thing for prepping for the long winter is just knowing your support system.

I think that knowing the people you can rely on I hope isn't underrated but it is. I think that we get so used to filling our time + we don't think of filling our need for value. Pre thinking ahead of time of who I can rely on this winter. Just a little side note don't be a shitty friend. If you’re going to be somebody who wants to rely on someone for their warmth + their energy in the winter, maybe consider why they're just coming to mind for winter.

If there is a friend that feels good on the soul in those long winter months they are a friend who feels good on the soul all the time. Chances are you’re being kind of selfish if you’re only thinking of them for the winter + you won't spend your time with them for the rest of the year. Maybe marinate on that.

Question 3: What are the ways you process heavy emotion?

Hot baths. Smoking cannabis. I cry into my pillow alone. There's a time where I want to cry with Andrew + have him hold me. Then there are times where I need to fully let it out exorcism style. There are times where I’ll have to be like, “I just need to be alone.” I’ll go back to our bed + I just heave into the pillow + I cry. That is like step one. Sometimes it’s not step one because I don't make myself cry.

Sometimes it builds before then. I think that feeling emotion is so important. That's something that so many people don't do enough. They say I have to be happy. I can't feel the feeling that I have to move on. That shit ain’t going anywhere until you feel it. That is always big for me to just sit + really feel it out. Like I said, a bath. If I’m feeling heavy but I know that it's best for me to get moving or I have something that's moving me along that day that I know that I have to kind of pick myself up for, a dance party. Always.

You can't turn on old jams that you used to sing to your 15-year-old soul + dance around + be in a bad mood. You just can't. Also, I will talk about it. I am a verbal processor. I think it’s so important to know how it is that you process. If you’re a writer + you need to write stuff out then you should journal. Or you should type.

If you’re a talker then you need to talk it out. Like, I don’t care if people have told you your whole life you talk too much. You need to find somebody who doesn’t tell you you talk too much. You need to talk it out. For me, if I don’t verbally process something that I need to, my anxiety just freaking skyrockets because I have nothing to do with the thought + energy. Also, I eat. It’s not something that's recommended I hear. I am most definitely a feelings eater for sure.

Question 4: What brings you pure joy?

Pure joy is when I am face snuggling my dogs. I don't care how weird that sounds. Dogs have such a calming smell about them. A dog is not going to smell like doggy shampoo all the time. There is something about pushing my face into my dogs’ faces with their soft fur. They just know to give me the love back so we just sit + rest our little faces on each other. Or if they aren’t in the mood to rest their face on me I’ll lay my head on them. There's nothing like that. There is no sort of purer fulfilling energy. Resting your head on your animal + breathing with them. Pure joy. That’s it. Other than that. Very first thing in the morning + very last thing at night laying my head on Andrew’s chest. You just forget how great it is to not have to be anywhere. Having those moments of just laying in bed or not having to rush to sleep or not having to rush to bed to do something.

Question 5: What’s your favorite place in the world + why?

I think I have a couple. I know you’re not supposed to have more than one favorite. That defeats the purpose but I have my favorite place locally + then I have my favorite place that I want to visit again. I also have a place stateside + foreign. I would say within driving distance my favorite place is the area club. It’s like a strip mine club that we have out here where I live. It’s just a bunch of lakes + ponds. Not big lakes. People go boating + camping. You can have a picnic. Play sand volleyball. Stuff like that.

It’s just big + it does get busy sometimes during the summer when camping is going on. But there's so much ground that there's so many places you can go + feel like the only person in the world. Being able to escape there is huge for me. Now, I don't have as much now of a, “I just need to go + sit + process quietly by myself.” I would go sit there like every day after school + just cry. Not always just crying. The sunsets right there over the lake that's just like the most serene place that I have at my fingertips.

My favorite place in the United States is definitely the pacific northwest. I can not get enough of the forest, mountains, streams, + rapids. It's all so fucking stunning out there. I could spend all of my time there. I’ve never been to Oregon or Northern California but I just want to do all of it. I want to road trip all of it. Which is exactly why I want to live on a bus. I just want to see it all.

Outside of the United States, my favorite place I've ever visited that I can not wait to go back to is the Dominican republic. When my wedding client was booking my flight to go there, it was when the United States was saucy with the Dominican republic. There was some tabloid drama going on. There were a couple of people who had died from unexplained deaths + they were not sure if it was from the water or what was going on. I was terrified because of the way the media was blowing it up.

My couple was like we have been there before. It is amazing you’re going to love it. Wasn't concerned. Got there. It was amazing. The people are so kind. I have never met a whole group island native group of people who were so kind + welcoming + so warm always. It was great. I loved it. I can’t wait to go back. I came home + I told Andrew. We don't like leaving the dogs ever so we don't really travel together far. But I told him we have to come back here. It is absolutely amazing. The beaches are amazing, the water is amazing. The people are amazing. The culture is just all stunning.

Question 6: How do you know when someone is worthy of being in your tribe?

I can feel it in my body when you think you've known someone in another life. You don't bhav to know their life story. You don't have to know all the things about them but you already feel close to them or you can already tell that you trust them. Last night when I was thinking on this question trust is really what was sticking out to me.

I think that I know if someone is worthy of being in my “tribe” when I can feel the emotional trust that I already have in them + that they have in me. I think that it's really hard to have an unspoken + close bond with someone when one of you feels that you have to prove how you feel or you have to prove your worthiness or prove your interest level or disinterest level. I know when someone will effortlessly mesh with my tribe when I can feel their heart on their sleeve + their soul space just so open. Just that emotional trust so present.

Question 7: When do you feel the most tranquillity?

Most definitely when I'm sitting in a hot bath. That is usually the time I'm most at peace. It takes away all of my pain. I can just rest. Close my eyes. Feel the water brush over me. I usually just hang out in the bath until I'm sweating + uncomfortable. My massage therapist back in the day would tell me, “Whenever you’re having pain like that just run the bathwater + sit in as hot of water as you can handle.” It helps your body reset. You breathe deeper. You can come out + feel more aligned + loosened up.

Question 8: If you could know the absolute truth to one question what would you ask?

When I first read this question I thought I would ask my mom something. Which would not be a fun podcast episode answer but it is the truth + we’re talking about true q + a’s. I would probably ask what it would take to help her balance out the worthiness between her chosen past times + the things that her family wishes were important to her.

Question 9: Which one of your personality traits have been more useful for you?

I love this question. When I read this question I literally squealed. Who asks that? That’s such an amazing question. I would say my openness to being a fucking goofball + the fact that I’m a people person. Those have been more useful to me as far as in my chosen career path. This business is so connection-driven + communication driven + transparency is so necessary.

Me being my weird normal awkward self that helps a+ lends itself to the transparency so much. I think that being able to communicate well + connect well makes me able to help people feel comfortable. That’s why I choose career paths that include human interaction + connection. They play right into each other. I can tell you which of my personality traits have been the least helpful.

Which is not a question that I was asked but my desire to people please + take on everything at once has not been helpful. That usually causes my idea to take a year or two to accomplish instead of 6 months. Hey, as long as we do it with heart + we don’t half-ass it to me it still counts.

Question 10: When you have at least 30 minutes of free time how do you pass the time?

I was actually embarrassed by this question. I'm embarrassed to answer because I don't do anything special or cool when I have 30 minutes of free time. I just sit. I used to think of myself as an extrovert but when I think of how much time I need to truly recharge my social energy + social meter I'm like damn girl I don't think you’re really an extravert at all. It takes you a lot of time alone to deal with more people. Usually, when I have 30 minutes of free time I just lay on the couch or I eat. Truly.

Usually, I would smoke a little bit, go grab a snack, chill on the couch + turn on New Girl. Or I will come in + grab a snack + edit. Just to squeeze in some editing. I feel like I’m always editing. When I do have the free time + the energy for it that’s what I do in all my free time. I also try to nap but usually if I only had 30 minutes I would not nap. That would give me so much anxiety.

Question 11: What’s your biggest goal in life?

My biggest goal in life is to get to what feels like the last 10 to 15 years of it + truly having an inner knowing that I served humans + myself. That I did what it took to live my life + live those days I was given in pure happiness. Even when it’s not happiness + pure wholesomeness. I think if I got to the end of my life + I could feel that I would be distraught.

I want to know that while I will feel tired + exhausted + run down by that time that I left a little piece of me with each person I crossed paths with that felt like they had room for part of my energy + heart with them. The biggest goal for sure. I also want to see all the things I want to see because I feel like what good are these eyeballs for + all this camera equipment if I don't get to see what I love.

Question 12: In four years what do you think you’ll be the most nostalgic about?

Another killer question. These days with my puppies + my husband. That just made me sad + nostalgic now. My 20s + finding myself with no hold bar. The connection with my inner knowing that I feel in this phase of my life that everything is happening as it should. Having this youthfulness with my husband + our dogs. This rental house that we’ve loved + hated all at once. Me trying to be a plant mom + failing miserably. The freshness of really figuring life out for us + deciding what it means for us.

Question 13: What makes a person beautiful to you?

First + foremost their realness. I want to know that someone can be real with themselves. Even real is rougher around the edges + kind of sassy or kind of an asshole. I want to know people can be real with themselves + honest with themselves. There are some sassy people that are being honest with themselves. A lot of sassy people are doing it to put on a show + they are not being honest with themselves.

But they do exist. Honest, raw, sassy, people. It’s beautiful to me when people can embrace themselves. All of themselves + what makes a person beautiful is when they smile about a compliment that you've given them. When they actually can take on some of it + believe it.

Question 14: In your opinion, what separates a friend from an acquaintance?

I'm going to go back to that emotional trust piece. I'm a pretty open book so I share a lot of deeper stuff with a lot of people. My circle that knows the nitty-gritty + the details of the really rough shit that I’ve trucked through. The people who show that they value being here to support me while those things happen. I think that is what separates a friend from an acquaintance.

A lot of us grow up wanting quantity over quality because it makes us feel more loved at the lunch table when we have 15 people around us instead of none. As we get older we have to be able to recognize an acquaintance is someone who while they are here for you + they may show up for you when it's convenient they are not the same as the people who show up when it's inconvenient. Who cares enough to stick around long enough to hear the stories + see the damage + still value you enough to pick you back up.

Question 15: What keeps you interested in photography?

I combined this question with, “When did you first know that photography was your passion” because I think they go really well together. My passion for photography started when I was young. I got a Kodak point + shoot camera when they were new + special + fancy. I thought I was the shit. You turn it on + the little lense would pop out from the front. I used one of those in middle school. I would bring it to cheer competitions. I would bring it on the bus. I would bring it to parties.

Then, I got another camera. I got a Pixar, something that was a little smaller. It was teal blue + it was my favorite. I would take photos of my eye all sorts of goofy shit. I would say my passion was born in late middle school/early high school for taking photos of the moments + really capturing those memories.

I knew that I wanted to do it professionally when I started seeing other people from my town really able to do what they loved + be making money from it. I was like, “Wait a second.” I was always told I would never be able to support myself on that. So to be able to see somebody literally supporting themselves while they were taking other classes doing that. I was like, “I'm in.” Then I bought my camera at the end of college + from there I knew. I knew before I bought the camera that I wanted to do it professionally. I’ve always had this weird go-getter-ness in me where after I’ve overthought something for so long I just go for it. At that point, there was no changing my mind on it. I was pretty committed. From there it budded.

Question 16: How did you get your business started?

First things first I had to buy the camera. Then I just knew that I wanted to practice shooting before I even thought about the full business piece. I still remember thinking back saying, “When somebody needs a family photo done it’s so weird that they’re going to think of me”. That I could do that.

That was cool just to navigate that in the beginning of realizing that people trusted me. That was huge. So I started shooting with people + friends shooting sessions for free. Then I started charging really low. I charged $50 for a half-hour + $75 for a full hour. I did some backyard weddings + some vow renewals. Family sessions + 8th-grade sessions. All sorts of stuff.

Whoever would get in front of my camera, I took their pictures. From there I started making an album so that people could see my work. You have to create a portfolio like your own little storefront. Then it started slowly from there. 4 years after I started teaching I was able to quit teaching + go full time which was crazy. It’s just grown ever since.

Question 17: How did you meet your husband?

I met my husband at a party. One night + I actually wasn't interested in him at all. I was super distracted. I had just broken up with my boyfriend that day. My boyfriend + I hadn't known each other for a super long time. He was getting ready to leave for the military + was in such a craze.

I was like, “What do I do? What’s right + what’s wrong?” There was this girl that wanted to fight me. That was just a hot mess. I just remember I had a friend who I had known off + on from having mutual friends in the community. He came up + said, “Hey Tori, this is my friend Ranko” + introduced us. I said, “Hey” + went on to figure out where the girl that wanted to beat me up was so that I didn't get jumped at this party. Super distracted.

Then we became Facebook friends. I don't know if he added me or I added him. We go back + forward. Then it was a full year later that I had posted a Facebook status after having a freshmen orientation at the college that I was getting ready to go to + Andrew went to that college. I didn't know that. He commented on my status saying, “Wait, you’re going to ISU?” Me being me, I messaged him because I was not about to have this conversation with this cute older boy on my status. I messaged him. Hello, got to slide into those DMs. I messaged him + said, “Hey. Yea, I am going to ISU in the fall. Is that going to be okay with you Mr. Rankovich?” Being all funny + flirty.

We really hit it off. We talked over messenger for a little bit. I asked him to talk on the phone one night. He made a big deal about how he doesn’t talk on the phone. We talked for an hour. The rest was pretty much history. We texted a little bit just to kind of feel it out. I could tell really early on that this was not something that I had ever experienced as far as feelings go.

I knew that I wasn't just some random thing to him if he would sit on the phone with me for that long. We were having as legit of conversations as we were having. That's not just some surface-level stuff. Kinda allowed myself to be trusting in that. We hung out a couple of times privately. Didn't really share that we were hanging out yet.

Then we actually both went to Unofficial. Which is a college drinking day down at U of I. It’s like an unofficial Halloween. I went up with one of my friends. Andrew was there with a bunch of his friends. I played him in beer pong with another girl that was there + we beat him. I couldn't believe it. He kissed me in front of all of his friends. From there I was like, “Oh shit. We’re in this. Now everybody knows.” It was weird.