We all have stories we were told as children: stories that affected our sense of self-worth.
Growing up, I was told that I should strive to be smart, not pretty. I was taught that good girls shouldn’t seek the spotlight. It’s no wonder that in my teen years I fought to get straight A’s and rarely wore makeup.
I still remember the look of disapproval I received when I returned home with a new red dress for my college formal. The wordless judgment was deafening.
That was the last red dress I ever owned.
Like so many of us raised in similar households, I fell straight into a marriage that reinforced my childhood stories. I never felt beautiful. I certainly never felt desireable. But motherhood transformed my existence, and my happiness seemed inconsequential in comparison.
More than a decade ticked by as I played a supporting role in my own life. Until one day, something shifted. Like awakening from a deep sleep, I saw my surroundings with new eyes. And once you see behind the curtain, the fairy tale ceases to exist.
Years later, I am a different woman in a very different relationship. Yet, I still fight my childhood demons when he asks me to step in front of the camera. Each click of the shutter reminds me to take a deep breath…
and tear another page from the storybook of my youth.