Words are failing me as I sit to type this blog... I just received Elisabeth's answers to my Survivor Blog Questions and I am totally blown away. This woman is taking a wildly brave, impressively giving leap for us all in having the courage to share this here with us. I am honored beyond measure and just completely in awe.
Without further ado, Elisabeth's powerful story:
What inside you pulled you toward a session with IRB?
My mother and I have a very close relationship. She bought me the photo shoot for my 24th birthday. To show her support of my personal growth and healing.
Were you afraid?
Initially I was very afraid... But after having met Erika I felt very safe.
Nervous still... But safe. :)
At what point if any did you feel unafraid?
My nerves started to melt away while Erika did my hair and makeup... I felt heard and seen authentically.
When it came time for the shoot to start my nerves definitely came out again.. I found myself laughing to get the nerves away... And that really helped and made for some beautiful pictures.
At what point if any did you feel relaxed, calm or at home in your skin?
I felt very relaxed and calm after the first outfit was finished.
Towards the end of the shoot I decided to do nude photos...
My feelings shifted And I felt very vulnerable... Safe...and empowered... But still not 100% pleased with my naked body. It's something I'm still working through...
What do you think changed inside of you after you shifted from feelings of fear to feelings of calm?
After the photo shoot I noticed that I was being a bit more intimate with people. I felt myself slowing down and taking the time to enjoy intimate moments with another person.
I think I released a lot of stuck energy by teaching myself to be calm during something as intimate as a boudoir photo shoot.
Did you share your story with Erika?
Yes, I did
Are there any parts of your story you feel comfortable sharing here with all of us?
I had a very traumatic relationship with an ex boyfriend who was very violent sexually...
While healing from that experience I uncovered repressed memories that mirrored that Same situation...memories that I had somehow forced myself to ignore.
On three separate occasions I had been taken advantage of sexually.
Once by an ex boyfriend, once by a "friend" at a party, and the first time was molestation by a peer when I was a young girl.
I had never been validated by those around me that the situations I had experienced were actually considered rape/molestation...I had never validated myself that "no" was enough. I had never felt worth
I pushed my emotions down and avoided dealing with my pain surrounding what had happened.
The past 2 years have helped me grow so much... I've validated my pain and allowed myself to be vulnerable. I feel better then I ever have before.... You have to feel your pain in order to heal your pain.
What has taken you to a place where you now feel strong enough to share your images and/or story in a public place?
I'm no longer hiding from myself... And I'm proud of that... So I no longer want to hide from others either.
I'm inspired by people who are vulnerable... Who aren't afraid to shout themselves out loud. And i know deep inside of me that's who I am too... And I'm ready to allow myself to be seen and heard.
What was your favorite moment from your shoot?
I really enjoyed the pampering process before the shoot.
I felt like royalty... I allowed myself to receive pampering and care without feeling guilty.... And that was a good thing to practice for me.
What was your most challenging moment from your shoot?
I allowed myself to be photographed up close and personal on one of my least favorite parts of my body... My butt! I have scars and marks all over my butt that I'm very self conscious about... I felt very embarrassed and exposed initially... But those feelings faded and it really showed me how hard I am on myself.
How did you feel when you first saw the slideshow video of your photographs?
Overwhelmed... I wanted to giggle and cry at the same time.
I wished that I could afford to have copy's of all of them!
How have you felt about your sexuality and sensual relationship with yourself and/or partner since your shoot and seeing your photographs?
I have actually met someone new since the photo shoot...
Someone who I felt an instant connection with... He's patient with me and understanding...
I've been open to being genuinely intimate... And being with him sexually has become an "experience" rather then feeling like a task I'm expected to do. I'm feeling a new sense of awareness while being intimate with him that I've never experienced before.
I feel fully present and I'm genuinely enjoying myself.
What would you say to a fellow survivor wanting to take the leap into boudoir? Any advice or words of encouragement?
Just go for it! Doing things that you're afraid or nervous to do is empowering and healing.
Erika will make you feel so comfortable and beautiful.
It's life changing.
Glassy eyed after reading the above, once again, I must say how proud I am of Elisabeth for who she is, what she has survived and conquered, and what here and I created together the day of her shoot. The immense joy I feel for being a part of this step in her healing journey is immeasurable, and I feel without a doubt she has reached a place of being that extends beyond survival...
If you are a Survivor of Sexual Abuse looking to extend your plane of existence beyond survival as well, and feel your life would be touched by a boudoir shoot, please contact me...it would be my sincere pleasure to work with you. Please look out for my yearly special for Survivor's as well, every April, Sexual Abuse Awareness Month.
Thank you again Elisabeth for your remarkably radiant and brilliant presence, and for baring it all for the betterment of your self and all of us....I will never forget the experience of working with you and am just so happy our paths crossed to share this experience of transformation. You are a GODDESS beyond reason and I ADORE you!!!!!!! Love forever and always....