I saw something yesterday that said, “Write your own story”. How can those 4 words evoke so much inside of me? About an hour before reading those words, I discovered something I wrote when I was in the middle of my darkest year (2017). I had lost my dog, my grandfather, my uncle and my grandmother, all within a few months. I then asked my husband for a divorce. I was spiraling, but maintaining (it was only from having support from those around me). What I wrote on the pages of my journal was why it was so important for me to write my own story.
I sat down and free-wrote what I was feeling. What I wasn’t willing to accept or give-up through this dark time.
“Feeling invisible in my most important relationship has reflected in my work. I want a platform for broken women to scream, cry, laugh, heal, fight and win. It heals both of us. It makes us both vulnerable and open to really feeling what we are too scared to face. Then, it allows us to push through it and start to heal.
Non-negotiable for me is doing this solely for money. If I ever get to that point then I will find another path. I want women to get all of me so that they can give all of themselves. In order for my soul to be completely happy, I have to give back. I’m not okay being one to constantly take. I want to be the one to refuel a person’s passion and growth.
I’ve always loved to serve and support others. But, I’m trying to work more on not letting that consume me. I want to serve and support myself and my needs and desires. I can’t give to others if I’m not giving to myself.
If I couldn’t show anyone my work, I would continue to do exactly what I’m doing. This isn’t about me. Who cares if I’m not being seen, as long as she is.”
I really used to believe that my work was at it’s best when I was in the midst of my darkest. What I discovered, when I came out of all of that, was that it is at it’s best when I just stop and listen. This work has so little to do about me and so much to do with the women I photograph. It’s incredible that by telling YOUR story, I re-write my own. It’s incredible that you’ve let me into your darkest corners and allowed me to shine some light on them. It’s incredible that by doing just that, you’ve also pulled me from my cavernous hole.
Hannah Gadsby put it’s so beautifully in her Netflix special, Nanette. She talks about how there is this lie that artists need to live in their depression to create meaningful art. How it’s actually important that we get out of that headspace and get help if we need it. I used to make excuses of not wanting to improve my life or mental state because I truly thought that’s what was pushing my boudoir work. I told several friends, “I’m just so afraid that my work is going to be affected negatively when I work on my happiness.” How sad is that concept.
Thank you to all of the women who have allowed me to photograph you at your most vulnerable. Thank you for showing me that I can be happy and still create beautiful and meaningful art with you. Thank you for letting me tell your story over the last few years so that I could write my own.