"If I don't do this now, I won't do it," Allyson said from the comfort of her home in Elmira New York, as we talked via FaceTime.
This wasn't the first time Allyson and I have jumped face first into deep conversations- when you go the gym with someone in the midst of the whole world going nuts you tend to cut right to the chase with those who are of a smilier mind as you (shoutout to Journey Fitness in Elmira NY and Journey Fitness in Sayre PA). That's one of the things I appreciate about Allyson- she shows up in conversations as herself, not a version she thinks you want to see.
As Allyson talked it became so brilliantly clear that this was a woman on a mission.
"I've never had a positive body image. I was the target of the high school bully as a teenager. I have had four children, 2 by c-section. I've worked and struggled to be positive about my body," Allyson said as she told me about her history. "And the mom guilt is so real. I don't want any of this to get passed on to my kids. I don't want them to have this."
Mom guilt- the ugly voice that lives in every good mothers head telling her that no matter how hard she tries she is never good enough. A dark voice that tells you you're greedy when you take the time to do something to help yourself. A voice that is the constant destructive companion of every mother who's just trying to be the best she can be, just like Allyson.
"I don't want to have a negative self image. I want to tell myself 'Stop it! You're worth doing this!'" Allyson said, her voice braking just a little.
"You are," I said as I nodded my head.
Allyson smiled, "I just want to find more confidence. I want to look at these pictures and think 'Yes! I look so confidant there!' I want to push myself into a new comfort zone . . . so I gotta do this."
"You're gonna do so good, Allyson." I said, grinning. "I just know it!"
And wouldn't you guess it, I was right.
Allyson was every bit the woman she wants to be. She showed up with all 6ft2in of hight, red hair, and a smile that warms my heart. Yes, Allyson was a little nervous but you'd never know it. She moved like a woman who was on a mission, not one who was hiding . . . actually, Allyson moved like a woman who was DONE hiding! She moved like a woman who was on a mission to discover who she was and nothing, no past, no accusatory voice, no limiting belief was going to stand in her way. Allyson acted like a woman who was ready.
And it's not that this photoshoot changed her.
She was beautiful before she came to see me.
She was valuable before she walked through my door.
She was sassy and playful before she ever got in front of my camera.
It was like she woke up and realized that she was everything she wanted. She already had it, all of it, she just needed to see it.
And she did.
This process shined the light on Allyson and all her newly discovered confidence and self-worth. This experience held up a mirror and showed Allyson what every person who loves her sees:
A woman of strength
A woman of beauty
A woman of adventure
A woman of beauty
A woman of charm
A woman of dignity
Being with Allyson and watching her through this process has taught me that there is no limit, no age, no size, no qualifying checkmark on the tab of life that gives you permission to do anything. No one gives you permission to be confidant.
So you have to do what Allyson did . . .
You slap on a grin, have a joke up your sleeve, and you take it!
You are a champion in all the things you show up to, Allyson- A CHAMPION! I salute you, my friend!
Beautiful hair and makeup thanks to the always outstanding Shea Hollister.
Photography Studio in Athens PA.
If you have tips or concerns about human trafficking happening in your area call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) at 1-888-373-7888. NHTRC is a national, toll-free hotline, with specialists available to answer calls from anywhere in the country, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Fox Photography by Melinda Fox,Photographers in Athens PA, Photographers in Sayre PA, Photographers in Waverly NY, Photographers in Elmira NY, Photographers in Towanda PA, Photographers in Corning NY, Photographers in Ithaca NY, Photographers in Twin Tiers Area.