It started like this:
“I saw the work that you did because my hair stylist works at Bella Christine Salon and had one of your shoots on her FB page. I’ve never had intimate portraits done, and I’m not even sure if my husband would want to see them. But I’ve been through a lot of health issues in the last 5 years and I would really like to celebrate the growth of my spirit and the health of my body by having portraits done. So my question would be how much are the packages for a photo shoot? I am sometimes very shy about my body because of the surgeries and the scars that I have. I think that this might be an opportunity to rejoice in those and completely accept my body as is. I think from the examples I’ve seen that you could bring out something in me that even I might not be seeing. Thanks so much for your time and any info. Take care and I hope to talk soon. :)”
So of course I had to get in touch with her immediately.
“Thanks so much for contacting me. 🙂 Let me just say that I think it’s incredibly powerful and brave for you to want to celebrate the healing of what I can only imagine was a very difficult time for you in your life. Whatever you have gone thru you have obviously come thru to the other side of it and to want to cap it off with an experience that will produce beautiful photographs to show proof of your victory is simply magnificent. Taking ownership of your body is a way to strengthen the soul and feed the spirit. So as shy as you think you may be, you contacted me. 😉 This means the warrior in you wants to be let out for a while. Good for you.
I would be thrilled to document this for you. I think the experience of it all and the photos to go along with it would be equally as fulfilling for you as it would be for me. I am not sure what your husband’s reaction would be to the photos but whatever it may be, remember, this is for you. This is your time to celebrate your survival.”
And thus began the process of getting to know K. I am so glad I did. Turns out K has suffered with diabetes, resulting in a double organ transplant and lots and lots of sickness, leading to lots and lots of healing….inside and out. The fact that K wanted to memorialize a part of this triumph with me was so incredibly humbling. I was honored.
During her shoot we laughed so hard. K just so happens to be filled to the brim with life, love and laughter. She is madly in love with her husband (who happens to also be quite ga-ga for her….and let me tell you folks….he absolutely wanted to see those photos. Every. Single. One) and you can’t be around her for me than a few minutes that she’s not making some kind of joke, raising her chin, crinkling her eyes and laughing hard with you. She lit up my studio like a beacon. Her energy was vibrant, warm and that of a survivor.
One last email I have to share with you from K. After responding to her initial email I didn’t hear back from her for a few days. So I contacted her again, apologizing for stalking her but wanting to know if she had a chance to read over the info I had sent to her. I was, again and again and again, touched by her response:
LOL. I didn’t think you were stalking me. 🙂 I would really like to do either package but I will need to save the money to do it. This is totally something that I would love to do for myself.
To give you more information about my situation. I had a double organ transplant in January of 2010 (kidney and pancreas). I had just gotten engaged the previous month to my now husband. 2010 was a big year in that we got married that year and bought a home too.
I was shocked at how sick I was (silly me, I thought I would recover faster) and I went from weighing 160 before surgery to 128…..you would think that was good but not really. I taught yoga and I was all muscle. It took me a full year to feel like myself again, even though I went back to work after 4 months off.
I am a big believer that beauty is an inward thing that shows how strong it is through love, smiles, and the sharing of a life. My heart is to encourage chronically ill women to see the beauty in the scars that allowed them to grow into who they are lucky enough to have become from their experiences. Not just transplant patients but cancer survivors, people with lupus, ms, etc.
I’m not the most beautiful woman ever on the outside (not bad for almost 42 though) 🙂 But I think that what I have been through has allowed my heart to grow immensely.
So thank you for stalking me. 🙂 “
We worked it all out and I’m happy to say that K was able to give herself a whatooziewoo of a 42nd birthday gift to herself.
So thank you K. Thanks for showing other women what brave looks like and how much fun it can be. Thanks for spending the day with me and bringing all that sunshine with you. Looking forward to that cup of coffee with you soon.
And just one last photo for you. Below is quintessential K. 🙂 Big smile, eyes up and crinkled with giggles. This is what I got to spend the day with. Not a bad way to fill a day, right??
Beautiful hair and makeup by the fabulous Justine Lynn of Beauty Justified.