Loving Herself | Gwen's Boudoir Experience
I get emotional every time I open my computer to write this story. I have to stop and take a step back because I refuse to mess it up. It's no secret, God has given me a unique gift to reach the soul of women through boudoir photography and has challenged me to tell their stories to empower others. As with the majority of the boudoir sessions I've photographed before, at the end of the day when it's all said and done, I end up with a response like:
"Thank you so much for today. I feel so uplifted. I have never felt beautiful like I did today." - Gwen
Meet Gwen. I've known her my entire life, our moms are best friends, so by default we began that way. Thirty 33+ years later we are closer than we've ever been. I want to thank her for allowing me to photographer her and share her story.
"I going to be on that wall. I'm going to do it. I want to be on your wall!!!" - Gwen
For years she's been building the courage to do a boudoir session, but like most it's far to much outside of the box. What will people think of me? How will they respond? Let me lose some weight first? I don't have the courage to do that. We as women come up so many excuses not to find freedom in ourselves, until we are forced to.
Gwen, eloped and married her high school sweetheart on senior skip day, May 4, 2001. A day, I'm sure she will never forget. Fast forward 13 years later, July, 4th 2014, her sweetheart, her husband, and the father of her two beautiful children was tragically killed in a car accident. The reality of life and death changed her life completely that day. It's been two years, 1 month, and 11 days since the day Gwen instantly became a widow, her life partner was gone. I myself still have a hard time wrapping my mind around it, so I can only imagine how she feels. I've witness this woman hold it together for herself, her children, his family, and her family when it seemed everything was falling apart. Some days are good, she's taking baby steps to move on with life. However, some days are bad, in her mind, no one understands. The load of missing him, helping her children through the tragedy, and adjusting to being a single parent and widow becomes very overwhelming. She screams, she cries, in the car away from the kids is where it happens the most. She has to be strong for them though. Women, we're the strong ones right?
Sometimes even I don't have the words... Gwen, you ok?
"I'll be strong." - Gwen
Inside, on a bad day, her heart is hurting from the pain. However, the strong women I know she is, the woman I've witnessed her be, she wipes those tears, pulls it together, goes inside and resumes mommy duty as usually. Her kids are her life, her love, her everything and nothing will come between that. But sometimes she feels she can't do it alone, she constantly going non-stop.
Like Gwen, we all have a story of life and life changing situations that remind us of the importance of not taking anything for granted and loving who we are to the fullest.
Her entire life, Gwen, struggled with loving who she is until now! She was forced to recognize that life is to short to worry about the trivial things. She's reached a point in her life where nothing is held back. Not her feelings and emotions, spirituality, her physical appearance, or even her confidence. She learning to accept the things she cannot change, embracing it, and truly loving herself for the first time ever.
Her fancy experience was a moment of relaxation and release. If you know Gwen, like I know her, she's always had a hard time relaxing and releasing. On that day, she did it! She LET GO and began to learn to LOVE HERSELF! Despite everything she's dealing with, in that moment it happened. We laughed, we cried, she sang "Like a Virgin" by Madonna. Touched for the very first time... she felt beautiful.
"Show 'em to everybody. I don't care." - Gwen
"I'm so excited about seeing all these photos and sharing them with everyone." - Gwen
Loving herself and encouraging someone else with her story is the first step of healing.
I love you GWEN!
Now watch her dab! -xoxo