Last week a client of mine had to cancel her boudoir session but her spot was already paid for at the studio + rental from the location Something Old Dayton - Vintage Event Rentals / Set + Styling by Hei.Jacked Productions (Heidi) and Misfit Co. Creative Studios (Brittney).
With the rental still available, I decided to do an extensive search for the right person to take the spot. This search required a bit of an interview process. I chose this person based off of what they shared with me. When I was down to the top 8 choices it became a very tough decision as each one of these girls were every bit deserving of this opportunity.
Boudoir sessions can be so raw and vulnerable so I wanted to choose not only the person I felt would appreciate and be comfortable through this opportunity but could also benefit from it greatly. Someone I knew wouldn’t take the experience for granted, and even possibly learn something from it and grow from it.
As I spoke with Leslie, I realized unlike many of the others who reached out, she was still going through her battle. As a strong young woman who came from a very hard marriage which led to a very hard divorce, she rarely does anything for herself because she has someone else to take care of. And that someone else is her sweet 5 year old daughter who takes priority over anything else. My heart instantly went out to her seeing that she is trying to do it all on her own right now. Aside from that, she had never had an opportunity like this!
Leslie is the best example that no matter how hard life may get, you can get through it! You can press forward and find the rainbow at the end of the storm. She is also a great example that if you’re currently in a bad relationship, one that is not going to lead you closer to God. One that you are constantly put down for who you are. One that does not lift you up or bring you happiness. Then find the strength to know your worth and demand the respect you deserve. Find a way to go to counseling, or become more active in your church. If that isn’t options for you then surround yourself with people that are going to help your marriage get stronger, not lead you down a path it shouldn’t go. And, in the end of all the trying if that other person just isn’t meeting you halfway then you have the satisfaction of knowing you’ve tried everything and it isn’t you. You have done nothing wrong! Mental and emotional abuse can be just as traumatizing as physical abuse. Don’t let anyone put you down or make you feel inferior. As human beings, we need people. We need relationships, and if you’re in a toxic one, it can bring your image of yourself down. You could be the most beautiful person in the world and if someone you truly care about is bringing you down, and you start to believe them - it can lead you down a very dark and lonely path. Please know you are NOT alone. There are so many other women who I guarantee have gone through your same struggle and have come out on the other side stronger and happier.
As a matter of fact, I, too have gone through a toxic relationship. I was around 20 years old when the relationship began. I thought I had someone super special because I knew other friends liked him and he chose me over all the other girls. Little did I know he was cheating on me with all the other girls that liked him too. I was nothing special and of course that messed with my mind a little bit. He made me feel that despite how he was treating me, I still had the special title of being his girlfriend…so that was something right? Wrong! I was just young and naive. He continuously disrespected me and I somehow started to believe that was what I deserved. That I wasn’t worth much and to just have someone like him was giving me just enough purpose in life. Wrong again! I didn’t need him to be happy. I didn’t need anyone to be happy. I just needed to turn to the Lord and pray and listen. Truly listen. If you do not believe in God or are not a Christian, I am not saying you will never find happiness but this is what has helped me and I believe in the power of prayer. Find what helps you. Whether it’s spending time with a grandma, and picking up a hobby like crocheting, knitting, or sewing with her. Or spending time with your best girlfriends and just finding joy together in a popcorn and movie kind of Friday night. Or going with your kids to fun local events like shop hop or craftapalooza and making those happy memories with them that they will treasure forever. The point is your story isn’t over. Don’t give up that fairytale thinking. It’s not overrated. All relationships take work, and commitment, but you can find someone who will truly love you unconditionally and want nothing but your happiness. Don’t settle for anything less than what you deserve. Be someone who can look in the mirror and be proud of the reflection looking back. Hold your head high and know that you are strong and beautiful and can do it on your own if need be.
It was such a joy taking these photos for Leslie knowing that these would boost her confidence again and remind her what a beautiful person she is inside and out. I am so thankful she shared her story with me. Looking at what an inspiration she is, it reminds me to never regret anything in my life. It could not have been easy walking away and going toward the unknown but she did. It is those experiences that bring us to who we are today. We learn from it! We move on from it! We forgive it! What a great testimony she has and what a great mom she is.
If you have ever thought about a boudoir session but have been too afraid to do it, go for it!! Love yourself! Do something for yourself for once!