Rachel G.

I originally scheduled my shoot with Lindsay for one purpose – to get some, hopefully, kick ass gifts for my fiancé. His first duty station for the Air Force is in Southern GA, causing us to be long distance for some time, and I thought this would be the perfect gift! What I didn’t realize was that this shoot would be so much more…

Several years ago, before meeting Eric (my fiancé), I got myself into a truly terrible relationship. This guy tore me completely apart. I once considered myself a strong, independent, confident woman…but he no longer allowed that. To him, everything I was and everything I did was a disappointment. I wasn’t tan or skinny or sexual enough. When I didn’t wash the dishes after going to school full-time and working five nights a week, I was lazy. Going to the grocery store in sweats was apparently not allowed, as he didn’t want to be seen with me unless I was looking my absolute best. He wouldn’t allow me to do anything without him. I seriously remember going to a girlfriend’s house to do Zumba one night and when I came back he yelled at me for basically having other friends. Anyway, to say the least, the relationship was toxic. By the end of it, I don’t think we could speak to each other without fighting. I remember being in a fight and getting a coffee table thrown towards me and saying to myself “This is insane. You can’t do this anymore.” But even then I was terrified to leave him because I didn’t want to deal with the repercussions. His anger and hate was too much to deal with. I’d try to end it and then go back, and end it, and go back…you know the story.

Finally one day I was able to leave him for good. But that was only because he had stripped me of all emotions and I couldn’t feel anymore. And there I was on my own with a new life ahead of me. Except the sad part was, I couldn’t be excited about it. I had become a robot, incapable of letting myself experience any type of emotion. To feel nothing was better than to face the dark that laid within. I had lost all respect for myself and when I looked in the mirror I didn’t recognize the girl looking back. She was weak and self conscious.

Thankfully, I was able to eventually pull myself out of it and decided to try to be the strong, independent woman I once was. Slowly, but surely it started coming back, but I would be lying if I said I’m not still struggling with the repercussions of that time in my life.

Once I met Eric I knew it was going to be a different kind of relationship. I knew he was going to be the one to encourage me to be better, and he does, everyday.  He is the most loving, supportive man I could ever imagine. The way he shows his love for me every day is seriously amazing, and I know that I am blessed to have him in my life. When he says I’m beautiful, I believe him. When he says he loves me, I believe him. But I’ve never been able to see myself the way he does…until this shoot.

I am truly thankful for being able to experience this self love experience with Lindsay. Looking at these photos have allowed me to find a confidence and strength in myself that have been missing for  a very long time. Now when Eric says I’m beautiful or sexy I not only believe him, but I agree…and that is something I never thought would happen.