Kelly, 33

On June 21, 2016 I opened my own women’s clothing store and on that same day I came home to a half empty house. My husband had taken a half day vacation, made a long list and moved all “his” stuff into a storage unit. He left me for another woman and completely shattered my world. Left with a 3 year old to care for, a brand new business and a broken world I really had no idea what was next. My divorce was long and brutal, I had to close my store because I just wasn’t mentally able to do it all and found myself trying to make ends meet with a part time job. Eviction notices and my car being repossessed were only part of the last two years. BUT I never ever gave up, when I really really wanted to I looked at my amazing blonde hair blue eyed full of life daughter and knew giving up was not an option. I was given the opportunity to start a full time job selling jewelry, or as my ex-husband told our daughter, ‘mommy got a new job selling pretty things.’

Well, selling pretty things has been an enormous blessing. I have thrived in my new career, smashing goal after goal am now moving into management and growing my career even more. I look back and I honestly don’t know how we survived at times, but we did!

I was with my ex-husband for ten years and when I met him I was an extremely independent woman with big dreams. Fast forward ten years and that woman was gone. She was buried behind being a mom, a step mom, a wife, making sure everyone else was taken care of before myself. When I decided to take a leap of faith and open my own store my husband left me. I wasn’t sure if I was really this strong independent woman anymore. I questioned if I had made a mistake opening my store? Should I have listened to my husband when he told me standing in the kitchen “you’ve already failed too many times.” Then a friend looked at me and said he would have found another reason to leave. You followed a dream. Your daughter saw you try. Get back you and be the sassy, fierce, strong, independent woman we all know you are. And I did.

This shoot reminded me of who I am. The person inside me. At first I was terrified of being photographed without makeup on. But once we started shooting I quickly forgot I wasn’t wearing any and Trish made me feel extremely comfortable. Trish is amazing and even though some of the poses were a little awkward, you’d never know looking at the pics. You can’t help but laugh when she yells at you to smile!

When I first saw the pictures I was completely blown away! I couldn’t believe they were actually me. With no makeup on. Wind in my hair. Looking badass. That was ME! The pictures showed me in a whole new light, whole new perspective. I was shocked, they were incredible.

I have learned we can’t control what is going to happen next in life and that we as woman try so hard to be so many things. And, we feel like failures when we can’t meet everyone’s expectations. Whether it’s our family, friends, or society’s expectations we are not superhuman. We are only human. We need to be nicer to ourselves and to each other. This shoot shows the beauty within. Each one of us has a story. Each of our stories are just as life changing and important.