An abusive marriage that lasted almost 15 years

My journey to self love… hmmmmm … still on that journey but I think I may finally be on the right road. I am three years out of an abusive marriage that lasted almost 15 years. I look back now and I am so sad that I stayed so long; that I allowed my daughters to be around that. So, now I am here… I am trying to show them what love looks like; what strength looks like. What being a healthy, happy woman looks like.  Not so easy when in your mind you have so many negative things swimming around. I spent 2 years just trying to become human again. To try and figure out who we were when we weren’t reacting or defending.

Fast forward, to this year…, 6 months ago I met a man who made me want to love again. I thought that I would book a session to help myself feel worthy of that love, to feel beautiful, and to be able to feel deserving. It turned out that this man was not who he presented himself to be, We parted ways a few weeks before my session. I almost cancelled but decided that this was the ultimate test of self caring. So my daughters and I continued to look for lingerie and I kept my appointment. I was tempted to show up with a bottle of tequila but didn’t want anyone to come with me so I had to go in sober and be able to drive myself home. So, silly…I didn’t have any idea what I was in for. (Tequila not necessary)

I have never worn much makeup and don’t know how to do my hair very well, so I just promised myself I would trust in the process. When Char looked at me and said,  “there you are”, I knew it was going to be ok. I knew that she could see what I could not. Now onto the photo shoot.

I was nervous, oh so nervous. I had read the blog entries religiously and everyone said that Kristen was amazing. What did I have to lose right? The first few shoots, I was literally shaking. I mean, she is telling me to hold the shirt and I can feel my whole body shaking. I just kept doing what Kristen said and before you know it, like everyone said… there I was, just about naked, laughing and hanging out. I don’t know how that works, I am not an easy person to warm up…

I guess it’s because at that point she thought I was beautiful, and it began to rub off on me…. just a little.

At the end, I left, still not convinced that I would like the final product (but totally in love with fake eyelashes. lol).

A week later, I went back and saw my photos. I chose the ones I wanted, went home and looked at them again and burst into tears. I looked amazing. Here I was, 50 and single, the day before my birthday and beautiful!  I’m still not sure if the tears were tears of relief, sadness that I had amazing pictures and no one to share them with, or just an emotional release…no matter, over the next few days, something sunk in. I was whole.

For the first time in a long time, I feel confident.

Someday, I hope to have someone to share these with but in the meantime, I am turning my favorite into an ornament for the tree and my daughters and I all think that I look amazing (although the 13 year old is not happy about the ornament idea). There is something so powerful about looking at yourself through a different lens; seeing something new. It’s almost like glimpsing your potential. Not that my potential is tied up in feeling beautiful but, if I can finally see it, then I can surely project it.

I now have a self image that says I am strong, I am gloriously female, I am sexy, and I am looking forward to the next chapter.

I was told by some dear friends that this was a life changing experience when done by the right person. Thank you Kristen for leading me to this place and doing it with love. laughter, and support. I didn’t ask for much along the way, being too embarrassed most times, but you were consistently available and supportive throughout. I feel like you were exactly the person I needed to usher me into this next chapter. Much love and gratitude.