"I've changed since I became a mom and I don't think it's for the better..."
This broke my heart when I read it and yet, I completely understood.
And it implores me to explain why I do what I do, why I create the art that I do...
I create a lot of beautiful images, of all different kinds of people, of all ages, shapes and sizes. As an Artist, I am commissioned for many different reasons, which aren't always public.
But more importantly, I'm a single co-parent to a wonderful three year old. Most of my waking hours are spent with my son, when I am not working; one-on-one, tackling one challenge after another. I'm giving all that I have to make him better than I ever was, and I know his dad does the same.
Everyday is difficult, for both of us, because we are both growing.
Becoming a mother is jolting, and after talking to so many women, I'm not so sure the shock ever goes away. No preparation prepares you for the reality of what life becomes.
My son's father and I split up after loving one another ever so deeply, in my first trimester of pregnancy. No doubt, I lost myself. I lost our plans, our hopes, our dreams and our support. I lost my best friend and a huge part of who I was and I've yet to see that wound repair itself. All for this child that we created.
But in the process of all the struggles, I found my truest self. I finally saw myself so clearly. I removed makeup, luxuries, nice clothes, spa days, a reliable corporate paycheck I worked hard for, freedom and the need to grant my selfish self it's every need. And it hurt so bad, and still does from time to time. In the process of losing myself, I found the woman I really am and I didn't need any of the things I thought I did.
I need my photography, I needed that outlet, and I will until the day I die, for various reasons. But I didn't have time for that. I didn't even have time for a shower or a hot meal, let alone a creative outlet.
And one night, I decided, enough was enough...
So I flipped on my studio lights, with nasty hair and no makeup, in a random spot in my home and decided to let myself go. All the emotions that had been pent up came out; good, bad, honest. I took self portraits, of myself, for ten minutes, before my baby woke up needing to be fed.
And I didn't get to see the images until a few days later, but when I did, I wept-hard.
"Who is that woman? That is not me!"
I could barely grasp what I had captured. It was art. But I was just playing around, or so I thought... It was not how I felt I looked, but it was my truest self. I had never created art for myself before this point and I finally understood how my clients felt. It made so much sense to me to do this. Since then, I have shown every "ugly" scar that would be frowned upon by society, with more to reveal. I have peace and love in myself and my life.
I'm dedicated to my work. I'm driven to show people a side of themselves they've yet to see.
Every mother deserves to see her own growth, because we have all grown so much.
We are still so beautiful, more beautiful, in my opinion.
And I've made it my goal to show you who you are again.... to empower all women!
Let's stop looking back on regret and start looking forward to all the goodness in our lives. We owe that to our kids, because life has become so much better now that they exist.
Realize that for yourself, like I did.
Let me remind you who you are....
"The voices of shame and rejection can come at you, but they don't have to reside in you."
You are deeply loved.
Below is a Self Portrait of myself, taken by myself. Click the image to learn more about Boudoir Portraits in San Diego, California with Rebekka Payne Portrait Artist.