And so, with much excitement, here is the so awaited blog post. This project has been on my heart for the past few years now. Truth to be told, I didn't really know how on earth it would ever be possible for me to transition from doing all sorts of different shoots to just photographing what makes my heart beat extra fast: "to photograph women/people who struggle loving themselves and couples that have been married for longer than just a few seconds". Incredible things took place this year which enabled me to take this massive step of faith. I am forever grateful. I am now walking away from photographing weddings so please, do not be offended if I turn yours down. I will only photograph 3 weddings max/year.
I hope and pray that you will be touched by Charlotte's story. This project comes from a place of brokenness and self-hatred that I, many years ago, walked through. I am forever humbled by God's grace and for His never ending love that pursues us no matter what. He truly took my ashes and turned them into beauty in ways I never ever thought would be possible.
Many young girls, women and men struggle to love themselves. A pain that is so very often kept in secret and never revealed. I wish this was talked about a lot more. Perhaps, this is a step forward in the right direction and hope to photograph you if you have been on this journey too. I know that these sessions can impact your life and help you see yourself in a way you have never done before. It can truly be a tool to show you how truly beautiful you are.
I would like to honour Charlotte for having been so incredibly courageous and brave as she came to me, opened up and made herself completely vulnerable to me, but also now, to you. This shoot was so powerful and we were both in tears during the session. There was such a sweet moment of embrace and freedom that was present the whole time. Something that is incredibly hard to explain... something that can only be experienced.
“Suddenly, everything was beautiful. The way she viewed the world was nothing more but a reflection of herself. The moment she let go, she soared over the stillness like the star she was born to be.” R M Drake
Looking back in my journals I can see the lies that I have always believed about myself. After a while I started to notice that they were lies and decided to turn to believe the truth.
I am loved. I am wanted. I am beautiful.
I can’t remember a time when I really loved myself, my personality and looks. I was called names, as a joke, when I was younger and being a lover of words, they always stuck with me. I even ended up believing them. But I kept this a secret. I decided that I had to do something about it to change the way I felt about myself through controlling what I ate. I would do everything I could to get my weight lower, to a place I felt skinny enough, but that point never came.
Overtime, this issue led to high anxiety, with my emotions all over the place and having awful, negative thoughts which I masked with a fake smile. To relieve myself from the hatred I felt within, I self-harmed. It was a release of pain in a moment of feeling completely numb from having such high emotions. And it got worse and worse each time I did it. Until I felt extreme shame from it because it left me with scars. Which added to the self-hatred.
I remember crying my eyes out for so many hours for countless nights. I thought no one would discover the ‘true me’. Throughout all this, God continued to love me and guided me, to prevent me from going too far. I could never hide from Him. He knew my thoughts. I wasn’t only hurting myself but the people around me who watched this process. As well as God - He cried when He watched me starve and damage myself because I am His precious daughter.
By no means does this mean I love myself at 100% and don’t have flashbacks to what I used to feel like, but I now have a coping mechanism to help me through the thoughts. I pray and ask for God to comfort me, to show me His love and I thank him for how far I have come since, even if I don’t always feel it in that moment. I have now come to accept the scars, they show what I have overcome, and that God heals broken hearts.
“For you created my inmost being: you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”