Once upon a time, there was a young girl who wholeheartedly believed everything she was ever told. Some would call this blind faith, some would call it naivety. Whatever you’d call it, it took her walking away from the community that shaped who she was for her to understand just how twisted and deep the entanglement went. It wouldn’t be until later that she discovered how knotted this mess of beliefs was.
Research shows that our subconscious mind lacks the ability to recognize truth from untruth. Its job is to make you function as you’ve been programmed to. That process begins the day you’re born. When it is told something repeatedly, it believes it without question. However, with age, our conscious mind recognizes fallacies and starts seeing patterns differently.
She was taught all through her childhood, that purity was the making of a woman. Without her purity, she would be dirty and unworthy. When she was about fourteen years old, she went to a ladies retreat. During this time, there was a speaker. Just one phrase stuck with her amongst everything else. It embedded itself so deep into her mind that it affected every single relationship she had from that moment on. Not only romantically, but in friendships and relationships with family members, as well. “If you aren’t ready and willing for your husband’s needs at any given time, he has every right to go elsewhere.” The girl sat in stunned silence at this information. Could it really be that relationships were this shallow? This can’t be right. Right? Of course, looking back, she knows just how twisted and wrong this ideology truly is. Though her conscious mind dismissed it almost immediately as bullshit, her subconscious mind took it as face value and tucked it away for future use.
Skepticism was planted in her heart that day.
Once upon a time, a young woman was sought after by a man far too old for her. When she was nineteen years old, she experienced what it was like to have someone appreciate her body. Her insecurity was silenced. Maybe she wasn’t too fat. Maybe she wasn’t too naive. Maybe she wasn’t an ugly duckling. She chose to spend time with this man, because why wouldn’t she? Someone was paying attention to her. Unfortunately, what she didn’t know was that the man paid attention to her because she seemed an easy target. The man stole much from her. Her first kiss was a forced one. It confused her on multiple levels. Her purity was on the line. If she allowed this to continue, she wouldn’t be clean any longer. But if she didn’t make herself available to him, he would go elsewhere. What if no one else took a chance on her? What if no one else could see her the way he did? The shame of it overwhelmed her, but she let it go. Until one night, when he tried to go too far. Her struggle with remaining pure, but also remaining available finally came to a head. He had her pinned and she was helpless. But she was lucky. Something spooked him, maybe a dog barking, maybe fear of getting caught, but all it took was a split second for her to be able to run away.
Out of fear that something worse would happen, she ran off to a different state to a VERY conservative, fundamental, independent Baptist college. There, she was taught many things. There, she was taught that a woman could only be certain things. Her options were limited. She could be a wife, a mother, a teacher…anything that didn’t rock the boat. Anything that allowed her to be a submissive, well-behaved, respectable, well-contributing member of the church. She was also taught there that her body was not her own. She was taught that she had a responsibility to wear modest clothing that didn’t invite a man to look at her. It was important that her clothes be loose, so as not to draw the eye to her figure. Lace was not ever to be worn, as it might give a man ideas about what she might be wearing underneath her clothes. Her hair must never be wet, for it might invite a man to think of her showering. Her neckline was to never be too low or her hemline too short (for pants would draw attention where it shouldn’t be).
Her skepticism grew.
Once upon a time, a scandal happened in the church where the young woman had grown up. The people involved were people she considered family. The church leadership decided to try and sweep it under the rug and pretend it didn’t happen. The young woman knew in her heart that the way it was being handled by the church was wrong and decided that she needed to walk away. Three strikes and you’re out, they say. She could no longer defend this life. Because she stood up for what she believed in and what she knew to be right, the church family abandoned her. These people that had played such a huge role in what had shaped this girl turned their backs on her. She placed everything that she had been taught into a box and put that box into another box, then hid that box in a storage unit full of boxes – all in hopes that she could move on from a life that had caged her.
Her hurt turned to bitterness. Her skepticism turned to cynicism.
During this difficult time, the young woman was pursued by a young man with a heart of gold. He dug those boxes out and smashed them open in an attempt to try and help her forget these awful things. He told her that she could be anything she wanted and that he would support her in whatever endeavors would bring her happiness. Try as he might, though, the roots were just too deep. After many years of repeating himself, they thought that together they had buried the remains of that programming. Every once in a while, the confusion would work its way back up to the surface, leaving the young woman devastated and crushed under the weight of it. The young man would hold her and tell her that everything would be alright.
Her bitterness and resentment turned to grief, but there was a tiny glimmer of hope under the rubble.
Once upon a time, a young woman took a workshop with a photographer named Denise who saw the world differently. Denise didn’t focus on the basics of using your camera or how to pose your clients, but instead focused on pulling emotion out of your subject. During this workshop, Denise stressed the importance of owning your sexuality, your happiness, your destiny – all while understanding your vulnerability and finding the power therein. At first, the young woman scoffed. It sounded crazy. Strength in weakness? Being powerful as a woman? Slowly, though, she kind of started to believe the words.
Soon thereafter, the young woman went to Las Vegas for a large conference. At this conference, she met the photographer she had been learning from. When they met each other, the photographer looked her in the eye and said, “You need to let go.” Somehow, Denise could instantly tell that the young woman was still imprisoned by her upbringing. The photographer didn’t know her. How could she possibly know what the young woman needed?
“Just trust me,” she said. “Breathe with me.” The young woman laughed nervously and agreed, just to make the awkward encounter move forward. The photographer locked eyes with the young woman, took a deep breath in and slowly released it. She took the her by the shoulders and said, “Let it go. Whatever it is that’s holding you back, let it go. Follow my lead.” Deep breath in. Slow breath out. After a few moments, all of the tension and fear and insecurity just quieted. She couldn’t explain it, but it was as if an anvil had been lifted off her back.
Throughout the conference, the young woman heard from various speakers. During those classes, she found her place. She was given permission to give herself permission. The things her husband had been telling her over and over were being validated. She was finally able to hear them. Finally able to comprehend them. Own them. SHE was in charge. In every way, over every thing.
Her bitterness and resentment evaporated. Her skepticism relinquished its hold over her spirit. She was free.
Once upon a time, a young woman let go of all the things that were holding her hostage.
She was set free by a photographer who dedicated her life to touching the lives of the people that crossed her path.
She found a renewed passion for photography though boudoir and changing lives the way her life had been changed. She found healing in helping other women unchain themselves from the same misconceptions and the different misconceptions that hold them back from living their life to the fullest.
She became a better photographer so that she could help you tell your story.
Once upon a time, it became your turn to have your story told. Are you ready? It’s time for you to shed the constraints of expectation and grab hold of freedom. Be who and what you want to be. You don’t need permission to be confident, sexy, happy – just as you are right now. Not 10lbs from now, not when your stomach is a little more toned, not when someone else tells you that you’re looking good. NOW. Contact me and let me help you find that same freedom.