There is a story behind this dress.
It is the dress I wore on the night of July 1, 2017 when my life as I knew it began to implode.
That night of July 1, 2017 was the first and last time I wore this dress and the first night of a series of events that month that would lead me to leave a toxic relationship and a dysfunctional chapter of ten years.
When I took these portraits last night, I did not realize at first, that today, July 1, 2019, and this dress, mark the two year anniversary of a new life unfolding.
As a survivor of abuse, I am extra sensitive to the energy of the garments I wear. Many pieces of my wardrobe carry stories with them, and some are difficult to let go of because that might mean I am also letting go pieces of my past and/or own self -- pieces that were once joyful or helped me survive spiritually during difficult times.
What do we do with the things we own and the parts of ourselves that are linked to trauma and pain but that we also love?
How do we acknowledge and heal the painful parts of our stories -- because those parts ARE a part of the whole story-- and move forward with parts that empower us?
We practice gentleness with ourselves. We practice patience with ourselves. We practice witnessing ourselves through methods like writing, selfies and self-portraiture, art making, telling our stories, and practicing ritual and ceremony that feels sacred to us. And, we meet with the parts of the self that want to come through now.
Earlier today, I was on a call with a beautiful author, poet and songwriter who also happens to abusive experiences in her past. We talked a lot about how survivors of abuse are labeled as...just that...survivors.
But what about the rest of our identities? the rest of our stories?
We are survivors but we are also thrivers and creators, leaders, business owners, executives, moms, sisters, daughters, and, and, and so much more than the trauma we have been through.
In all of the work I offer, my mission is to help women use their voices to tell their stories in a way that embraces and shares the whole of who they are and the powerful person they see themselves becoming - not just what they have been through. We don't need to be victims of our stories again.
I see something similar come up in my conversations with creatives too. We hold onto past criticism and 'guidance' from others that was deeply harmful to us and that holds hostage our creativity today.
How can we express our souls fully if we don't give our whole selves the room to come through? We can't.
The good thing?
Permission starts with you.
How do you want to tell your story?
*In addition to Make Your Mark this summer, I am also offering one-on-one creative coaching in 3-4 month commitments. If there is one thing I am an expert at creatively -- it's VOICE. Locating it. Unearthing it. Using it. And I'm here to help you find yours and express it with confidence. Our work together will help you develop your unique voice and style, find a subject matter that makes your heart skip a beat, and unearth your core WHY so that you feel a sense of purpose and excitement about the work you are making. Find out more on one-to-one creative coaching here.
Portrait Calendar Updates:
Mini sessions and full day media kit sessions available.
Santa Fe, NM July 20-21st
San Francisco, CA / September 21-22nd
Moab + Salt Lake, UT / September 28-29th
Denver/Boulder available now through September
Paris, France / October 12-13th
San Francisco/Monterey / April
Santa Fe / May