When I met with Kat for her interview, it was at a crowded, popular pizzeria with a bar.
She had arrived early and already put our names in, and she had a drink. Kat waved me over to the bar with a huge, friendly smile on her face. I told her I'd order a drink and then we can start talking. And we sat, waiting for the bartender to greet me for about 25 minutes.
The entire time, I felt unsure as to whether I should say anything. I was about two months postpartum and not in the most confident frame of mind, so I sat and stewed. Kat, on the other hand, became more and more visibly annoyed.
"Were this me a long time ago," she said, "I'd have just reached over the bar and poured the drink myself."
I believed her. Without meaning to, Kat exudes an even control that communicates quite clearly that if she feels you can't do something right, she will do it on her own. She walks with an obvious confidence that is both intimidating and impressive; it's hard to imagine that a bartender -- or anyone for that matter -- would ignore her when she doesn't want to be ignored.
After a few more minutes, right before she looked ready to make a move for old times' sake, the bartender came around and I made my order just in time for us to sit down.
In that moment, it became clear why Kat is successful in many of the things she does (she's a well-known photographer in our area, and a busy-yet-attentive mother of three children, including two-year-old twins): she doesn't really believe in obstacles. When something gets in her way, she figures out a way to get to the finish line regardless. It's how she was able to finish college and nursing school while working. It's how she was able to live tirelessly and still make modeling look effortless. She moved to Austin years ago and made a name for herself through sheer work ethic and willpower. None of it was easy, and yet she did all of it. Not through luck or kismet, but purely because she left herself no option besides success, and while moments of it weren't exactly pretty, she always knew how to look great doing it.
When asked how motherhood has changed her, Kat took a minute to answer. Finally, she said, very simply, "I think it's softened me a lot."
This is something you can see most apparently when watching her work, or when listening to her talk about her own children. She smiles and her eyes light up during photo sessions. She proudly celebrates her own children's milestones and birthdays without hesitation, rarely focusing on herself.
Every time I see her taking a break from her work to take her children to Disney or on picturesque outings, I think of how many people talk about how important it is to "choose" once you become a mother. They talk about how you can't "have it all," or laugh in the faces of women who try, or --worse -- judge those women as people who don't and can't care for their children, because no one can possibly have the energy to do so much at once.
I dare you to tell Kat this. Let me know how that goes.