Outside of all the labels

My mom killed herself when I was 19, actually the day after I turned 19. My dad found her in the garage… and I won’t go into any more details. My mom was always loving and caring and my sister and I were her world along with my dad. I don’t say that in an arrogant way, but in a deep painful truth way. My mom’s life revolved around the three of us. She gave every ounce of her soul to that task. She did a great job at it, but when we were gone, she had nothing left. Somewhere in the years of raising us she lost her own self. She lost her own identity.

I loved and continue to love and appreciate my mother. My empathy and compassion for others comes directly from her, but I also learned from her to have my own identity. I learned from her, even though I married a remarkable man, he cannot be my everything. I learned from her, that even though becoming a mother is one of the greatest adventures in life, it cannot be my soul mission. 

My friend Hope (Who I completely adore, admire, appreciate. We work together and she keeps me sane most days. She is a mother of two, with a successful husband and we often discuss how we make life “work” and how we pursue our passion while raising our children. We both deeply care about public education.) nominated me to win a photo shoot including hair and makeup with Felicia Reed Photography. Hope knows Felicia because they went to school together. Felicia wanted to highlight a working mom, a woman trying to keep it together while giving back, a woman searching for a way to keep her own identity while being a wife, mother, philanthropist. I was shocked and honored when Felicia picked me!

As I started to look at Felicia’s website, I quickly realized she does amazing work. Her photos are glamorous, editorial, filled with beautiful and confident women. All I could think was, how am I going to do this?! I am a normal working mom married to a college coach trying my best to survive each day…. How is she going to get me to look so stunning? It is not that I look hideous, but I have never seen myself like those in her photos.

After I talked to Felicia, I was drawn to her passion of bringing out women’s confidence… her desire is to help each woman find their own story through her pictures. I started to understand this was much more than about one photo shoot; this was about me embracing me.

It is not my goal to look “gorgeous”, “beautiful”, “stunning,” or even “sexy” in these photos. This is about me showing my heart, my soul through these photographs. It is an opportunity for me to stop, reflect, and embrace the depth I am outside of all the labels.

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