Every picture I have is either of my children or with my children.
Until now, I barely owned a professional photo of just myself, but that never bothered me in the least. Why would it? My family was my life and devoting every part of myself to them was something I thought should and would complete me forever.
Until now, what I wanted was always last on the list. I can't say that I only thought about my children and their needs, I was always thinking about the needs of the whole. What was good for everyone else was good for me because ruffling feathers just wasn't my style, nor did I think it would be tolerated. Sacrifice was my middle name because that's what mothers and wives and good natured people did. I was easy going and agreeable, well in most cases, at least.
Until I decided that's actually not who I was at all. I was not just a wife and a mother. I was a woman who had never actually realized her potential, her dreams or even acknowledged her intuition in a very, very long time. The woman I had become, she rolled with the punches in life when she should have been throwing punches in the face of conformity and social norms. I was hiding inside someone else's perception of me. I became a creation of someone else's desires, and that was no one's fault but mine.
I made the biggest transformation of my life at 34 by walking away from a relationship that was yes, built on love, but not the kind I ultimately yearned to share. It was a decision that didn't come lightly and is still hard to believe to this day.
I have spent the last year continuing to be a mother, but also working on myself harder than I ever knew I could. I found my faith and became spiritual in a way my soul yearned for. I went to therapy every week for 5 months, read a dozen self-help books and I began asking myself what I wanted before anyone else.
It's an awkward place to be, putting your needs first and waking up for the first time in your life. It's scary. The unknowns are endless and the fear can be paralyzing. But what I realized this year was that I can only live for today. Just today. What will come tomorrow may never actually come, so I will live for today.
I became Love. Not just giving it to everyone and in turn depleting myself in the process, but actually being Love. It's a completely different notion. When I exist as Love, I'm actually fueling myself with Self-Love and able to give it to others just by being Me. I'm not giving it all away and feeling empty at the end of the day. Sure, I still have my days, a lot, but I'm able to stop and redirect myself into Self-Love.
It's so hard, but worth it.
I have spent a year going through old pictures in boxes, and on my social media channels. The photos went on and on of my children, with friends, with family. And every time, I realized how few photos I had celebrating Me. The Me underneath everyone else's perception. Where was I? I know I was there somewhere, but that woman didn't even resemble the woman I am today or the woman that laid dormant inside me.
But she's here now. She has arrived and is wide awake. She's still scared at times, and her fear can still debilitate her, but it happens less and less every day. She has tried more things for the first time in the past year. She has put herself first and kept love in her heart. She became the strength that she read about as a child. She became her own Hero and decided it was time to document the occasion.
My spirituality was the driving force leading to the idea of a photo shoot. I knew it was time to stop time and capture the warrior I had become. I became this woman for no one else but myself and I hope it encourages my children to pay attention to their own happiness, to know it matters, and that even at 35, their mom can stand tall in humility, live in universal love, be full of life, and soak in the magic that has transcended her soul.
I am so proud to share some of the amazing photos by the unbelievably talented Erin Brant of The Leo Loves . Thank you to all who were involved in the magic of this past year and this beautiful day that was so eloquently captured on film. I am forever grateful and I will never forget it.
I encourage every mother and woman to celebrate her inner warrior in whatever way that means. It's important to acknowledge ourselves, and choose happiness.