“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection”
Sometimes life tells you that you have to share something and tonight was one of those nights. Bear with me as this is my first blog post and I’m about to lay it out there for you because I feel like I have been spending too much time walking towards my dream without being truly present and grounded in my WHY and it’s important to remind myself and to tell all of you the why of what I do.
I felt like with the first blog post I should be writing something fluttery and fun and bright and it took me a while because I couldn’t figure out what to write about but then I realized that I needed to tell you why I do what I do, what makes me passionate about my dream, and why I spend every waking moment committed to body positivity, self-love, boudoir photography, instilling confidence and empowerment in women in the body they were born with, and most of all reaching for my dreams.
This is super hard to write so I’m gonna do the best I can to keep it short and still lay it all out there for you because you need to know.
I am here today doing what I love and living my life because with a lot of help I fought tooth and nail, cheated death and came out on the other side. I am here because someone else gave me the gift of a second chance at life by donating their organs and I am here because someone out there at the hardest time in their life thought of me and how they could save me when they had just lost everything. I am here because someone thought I was worth it….. even at the darkest time in my life when I had given up on myself and wanted nothing more than to give in to the illness destroying my life, my family, my body and my mind someone else decided…
…I was worth saving, I was worth keeping, and I was worth more than I gave myself credit for.
I will be honest and say I am sitting up awake at 3 am sobbing over my computer wishing I had a happy wonderful empowering story to tell of how I got here and how I found my dream but the truth is that everyone walks a path of pain and struggle and fights to get where they are and at the end of the day no one can find joy without pain.
My pain path really starts in 2012. The year my old life ended and my new life began. That was the year a piece of me died with my best friend. My daddy. I’ll save all the medical details but let’s just keep it short and sweet by saying that just when I had lost everything life decided to kick me while I was down. At 20 years old 4 days after my birthday my dad passed away due to complications from kidney disease. He wasn’t like your regular dad he was a one of a kind dad and losing him was at the time the worst thing that I ever thought would happen in my life. Then six months later…. yes six months you read that right… I found out my own life was in danger too from the same disease and I was only 20.
Me and my Daddy
“…….Renal Failure. Dialysis. Transplant. ”
Those words have changed my life more than one time and more often than not, they weren’t changing it for the better.
From the moment I heard those words directed at me in 2012 and onward, I felt those words and their effects and consequences rip away every dream I ever had. I felt my body change from a fun loving healthy average girl into a useless vessel I loathed and fought against and existed in because I had no other choice. I watched my years of studying, learning and working towards a career that would save the lives of others flushed down the toilet when the words autoimmune disease became the words you will never be able to work in the medical field. I felt myself change from an outgoing social butterfly who loved everyone and everything to a girl who existed in bed with no social interaction and no desire to do anything.
Illness changes everything about you and takes everything out of you physically, mentally, and emotionally and you can do nothing to stop it. You begin to hate yourself and everyone around you and just want to give up. You don’t know your purpose for living anymore and you just shuffle through doctors appointments, hospital visits, needle pricks, and meds because those are the only things keeping the useless piece of junk you call a body alive.
After about 2 years of struggling, fighting, hoping, and praying that a kidney would come, that I could get off dialysis, and that I would have a real life again, I gave up hope. I gave up on loving myself. I gave up on caring about what happened to me. And I gave up the belief that I could ever beat this. I felt alone, worthless, and tired of running an endless race towards an invisible goal.
I was done. Done with the treatments, Done with myself and done with life. But here I was continuing on because even though I hated myself more than words could ever express I loved my family and my friends, and my boyfriend enough to push through it. I existed for them and completely gave up on myself. I kept it as quiet as I could but there would be nights I would skip treatment because I was so overwhelmed with carrying the burden of my useless life on my shoulders that I couldn’t bear it one more night.
It was then in that lowest period of my life that my miracle finally came. Just when I was ready to throw in the towel and just when I was ready to quit someone else decided that wasn’t an option. Someone else decided that my life was worth saving and that I was important. In making that selfless decision my donor family saved my life and gave me a second chance.
I knew my second chance had to be used for good and I knew my second chance had to be worthwhile and I knew I had to live a life big enough for both me and my donor Joey.
Me after transplant in 2015
Me with my donor family in 2017
So all of that brings us to my purpose for posting today and that is to tell you why I do what I do.
The reason I do what I do is that at the worst time in my life when I hated myself and I knew deep down I wasn’t worth anything because my body was useless and ugly and broken, someone else disagreed.
Someone else said no. You are worth it. I don’t know you but you are worth it. A stranger in another state knew from that far away that
I was good enough, I was important and I was worth saving.
That is why I do what I do. Because there are so many amazing beautiful powerful and wonderful women out there looking in the mirror every single day saying to themselves
…..you are useless
…….you are ugly
…….you will never be good enough
…….you are too fat, too skinny, too ugly
And I am here to be the person who says.
You are worth it. You are beautiful.
You are good enough and you are so deserving of love from yourself.
Sometimes when we are at our absolute worst we need someone else to show us what we can’t see. We need someone to reach out and say
You are enough.
After everything I have been through and all the hate I carried for myself for so long I am here to spend every day making sure that no woman who walks into my studio, joins my group, sees my page, or even talks to me on the street thinks that she isn’t worthy of all the self-love in the world.
You are beautiful.
You are important.
You are powerful.
You are Worthy.
And You are enough.
If you never learn anything from me, read nothing I write and we never get the chance to meet I hope that you will please read and believe those words up there
…..because without someone else showing me I may have died never knowing.
That is why Boudoir. That is why body positivity. That is why self-love. That is why I chase my dreams. Because I am worth it and so are you.
******Image credit: Sage and Sol photography*****