TahJah Harmony + Chocolate Orange Scones
On January 18th, we met with Tahjah Harmony of Quaint + Whim. She is a photographer and calligrapher living in Baton Rouge. Over the course of the morning we got to know her a little better. Her laugh was contagious and her drive is inspiring. We were smitten with her from the moment we sat down together to enjoy our breakfast of coffee and chocolate orange scones!
1) What is something you're looking forward to right now?
"In August I'll be going to North Carolina to be a panelist speaker at the Creative At Heart conference that I used to attend. I'll be speaking about Small business's getting started. I love teaching small business owners, that's always been kind of a thing for me."
2) What's something true about your life you would have never guessed when you were younger?
"I trained to play the Violin my entire life, I wanted to play and everyone in my family knew that's what I wanted to do. When I got to school though and spent the first week in classes for music, I changed my mind. I decided I didn't want to do that anymore."
"It was a big shock to my family because I had trained so long for that. And now I do photography full time!"
3) If you could work one job for the rest of your life, what would you do?
"I wish that I had my own studio with my own chemicals, and a large format camera that I could fix up, really take it apart and understand how it works. Develop my own film and just go shoot things, and not have to worry about selling it, people judging it, just being in my own bubble. Making things because I want to make it."
"I've always liked photography, I've always liked to photograph life as it happened."
"When I was in college and able to do old processes to stuff, using my hands, the smell of the chemicals, being in the dark room, really pulling something out of it. The high and ambition part comes from the process of creating something."
4) What's one major conflict you remember from your childhood?
"School in general for me was always a conflict. I hated school. I can't explain how much I hated it. It was depressing to me, I didn't have friends. Every school I went to always had an amazing Music & Arts program, and if I didn't have that it would have been so hard for me."
"I would find every excuse to not go to class; I stayed in the music room. I became really good friends with the music teacher and he would let me just stay and file/organize music or practice, because thats what I wanted to go to school for."
"I got picked on a lot as a kid, because I was mixed, so I didn't fit into either side I was into things that most kids my age weren't into. I didn't understand, my thought process at 5 years old was just "I'm so great. Why don't people want me? They are really missing out."
(Our thought: Don't we all wish we could have had that kind of confidence when we were young? It's beautiful!)
"My parents instilled so much confidence in me when I was little, so when I would get home I would just think "Well Mom really likes me, and Dad really likes me; anytime I go anywhere adults love me, but these kids are really missing out."
(Since we were so interested in her confidence, we asked further about her parents and the influence they had on her...)
"My parents always talked to me like an adult; if I ever had a question about something my mom always explained it. She never hid stuff from me. She always treated me like I deserved the right to know something."
"If I told them I wanted to have a garden on Mars, my mom would say "Ok, well how are you going to do that?" Then we would think it out, and make a plan; it was never like 'Oh that's a dumb idea. ' They didn't just entertain my ideas though, they would talk them out with me."
5) What is one place in life where you feel torn in different directions?
"Just in general, I still have a hard time connecting with people. Mostly because I don't do shallow; I'm a deep person. I'm the kind of person who wants to sit and watch a film with you and then talk about it. Lets talk about the angles and the director, I could spend 8 hours talking about one scene. So when it comes to being around people and trying to connect, I do better when it's one on one. I've realized I need to work on my small talk."
Bonus: What 3 things are you loving right now?
"I'm reading this book called Awe, it's in my bag right now. It's challenging me in my faith and development; it's intense but i love it!"
"I have a small business group that I started online, we have been doing it for 2 years now. I could never find business owners that were Christians, it was always one or the other. I love being able to talk with others about "What does Jesus want you to do with your business, what's the greater purpose in your business". It's been great to have those people to talk with!"
"I've been doing a lot more calligraphy work, I love being able to have another creative outlet to do things with my hands. My mom taught me when I was 8; her grandfather taught her."
Getting to know TahJah was similar to losing oneself in a great novel and wishing it would never end. Her vulnerability during the interview was refreshing. Throughout the our time together I found myself just in awe of her drive, confidence and self-awareness -- traits I wish I had more of. TahJah, you have a beautiful soul and a beautiful story. So so glad you were able to come for breakfast!