A Phoenix of Sorts

There is a very common theme around this time of year. The theme is newness – fresh starts…a chance to rise again.  For those that follow along on my personal page and see some more insights into my personal life, you know that 2016 was a difficult year for me personally.  Alot of internal struggles, hitting rock bottom with my self confidence, and having to find my inner voice again to coach me to start to climbing back out of it.  

I think that is the hardest thing for us as women.  Especially women in the industry I am in.  We spend all of our days and nights reminding other women the importance of loving themselves that often times we forget to take our own advice.  We forget that we matter too.  We forget that we also have to listen to our own voices that say YOU CAN DO THIS.  YOU CAN RISE UP. YOU ARE EVERYTHING YOU WANT TO BE IF YOU LET YOURSELF BE IT. 

Flash forward to my 30th Birthday party in NYC…Yes it was my birthday, and it was still one of the most difficult weekends for me of 2016.  Here I was, a woman who lives her life preaching self love and confidence, and all I felt inside was a self-loathing.  I was surrounded by some of my most gorgeous friends and instead of being able to look at myself in the mirror and see my accomplishments and triumphs over the past year, all I could feel was a raging jealousy. 

Jealous that everyone wanted to photograph my thinner friends, jealous that everyone but me could share clothes, jealous of how easy it was for them to walk around in their lingerie in a room full of insanely talented people. I even left my own party early two nights in a row because I just didn’t have the confidence to be out with my friends.  This is true life people. I came up with a bunch of excuses about how I don’t like bars and hated the music, but the truth was, it wasn’t the bars or music that I hated…it was myself. 

If you really know me, you know that when I talk about self love, I talk about it like a journey, not a tangible easily reachable entity.  I can say as someone who has accomplished all of her non-physical goals in life, that your accomplishments don’t always breed within you the confidence they deserve.  I don’t always look in the mirror at my body and have the ability to say, “this body is amazing, this body accomplished all of her goals, this body made the worlds most beautiful baby, this body teaches other women to love themselves.”  I know this is the truth, but that doesn’t mean I always have the ability to do that.

In walks this amazing woman.  The fiance of my talented friend who had flown in from England to be a part of my birthday celebration.  I don’t know what it is about her, but she inspired me the moment I saw her face.  I knew that she would be the woman that would allow me to express myself through art.  There was this strong vulnerability about her.  I didn’t know her, aside from her name and the few (amazing) things her fiance said about her, but I just KNEW there was something insanely special about this woman.  A depth to her.  I knew that she would be my creative outlet.  The one who could show the torture I was feeling inside, and then the strength I wanted to feel.  

I didn’t know exactly how right I was until she emailed me what she wanted to share in her blog.  The woman I wanted to represent my fall and rise had fallen and risen herself. She is a Phoenix of sorts….but then again…aren’t we all.

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“I had my first boudoir shoot almost five years ago. I was at a low point in my life. I had just turned 30 and instead of feeling excited about a new chapter in my life, I was getting divorced and my closest family member as well as my best friend had both just died. My confidence was at an all time low. I was already self-conscious of the big scars on my leg from a car accident a few years before and I felt ugly and unloved. Luckily, I’m not one for self pity and threw myself into things that would help bring me back up. I physically threw myself out of a plane for a charity sky dive and I booked a boudoir shoot with a photographer friend. Each step I took brought me back to life. Life can be cruel and it helps to try and take ownership of it. Fast forward five years and life is so much better. I’m engaged to an amazing boudoir photographer who makes me feel empowered and beautiful with his words, actions and images. So when we went to New York recently to meet up with some of his photographer friends from around the world, I knew I had to tag along. As soon as I met Lindsay I was blown away by her passion for photography and her need to create beautiful images for herself, in her personal work. Being shot by another woman is such an amazing experience. Lindsay understands how women feel about themselves (“we’re so hard on ourselves so I teach my daughter affirmations every day”) and how to transform that into something positive. Lying on the bed in a fetal position, I felt vulnerable but at peace. I’m blown away by the results; the shapes and curves of my body and how vulnerability can be a positive thing. I left the shoot to meet a friend in Manhattan, amazed at how far I had come.”

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