Beauty Is...Why this? Why now?

I can still remember the moment that it all sank in. I was looking at my beautiful little girl as I realized how she really felt. She felt unworthy. She felt ugly. She worried about saying or doing the wrong thing. She worried that others didn’t like her. She felt worthless. She felt a burden to others. Whatever happened, if it was in the least bit negative in her mind it was in some way her fault and if it was positive, it was in spite of her not because of her.

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My heart broke in that moment. How could such a loving, kind, beautiful, and smart young woman not see her many gifts? How could she not see how loved and cherished she was? How could she think and say such horrible things about my beautiful little girl? Was this my fault?

I knew I needed to do something. If she could feel this way and faily to see her own strength and beauty, how many other women felt this way? How could I help my daughter? How could I help other women like her, like me, that felt this way?

As I looked at the amazing women around me, from 8 to 80 years old, I quickly noticed a pattern. They were so busy trying to be and do more. When did they take time to love who they were right now?

I started with my daughter, my goal was simple. I created a session based on what she told me. I wanted to take her dreams and make them real. We picked out wardrobe. We did her hair and makeup. We photographed her beautifully. We created an afternoon all about her.I wanted her to feel beautiful, loved, and valued. I wanted her to see the beauty and strength I see every day. I wanted to quiet the voices in her head that said she wasn’t enough even just for a few minutes so she could recognize the amazing person she is. Today and every single day.

From that moment on, I knew this was what my heart wanted to do. To create an amazing experience for every woman. To create a space for her to reclaim her own strength and beauty. To help her to love and value herself.

This morning, some wise words from Rumi

 

 

We are going to take it down a notch and get serious today.

 

Yesterday I stepped out of my comfort zone and on to the stage at the Mothers Advocating Mental Health (MAMA) Project Conference. I shared the struggles I have faced, and for the first time publicly shared and named the struggles my daughter has faced this last year. Anxiety. Depression. Eating Disorders. Suicidal thoughts.

I was there to talk about art as a form of expression and coping, and I did, but I was also there to reach out and let others know they are not alone.

 

As I finished up my talk, I shared this poem from Rumi that I was first introduced to by my mentor Sue Bryce.

 

This poem hit me right from the start. My initial reaction was something like "What? You want me to invite all those crappy feelings in? Are you nuts?!?!?" but as I walked away from the video it was shared in, I began to remember others things I have been taught that gave me the same gut reaction but have changed the way I think. I gave the poem another chance.

 

In life, we are going to be confronted with good times and bad. Emotions we enjoy, and emotions we don't. We have an instinct to run away from or avoid those things we don't enjoy. To do everything we can to avoid pain, sorrow, sadness.

 

We need to recognize that the good comes with the bad. That we can look at those moments and say 'oh, I know you, come on in' instead of fighting it (which just causes us more stress, pain, and anxiety). Every emotion is a house guest, they will not stay forever. Appreciate them while they are there - they are teaching you something, and wish them a fond farewell when they leave, knowing they will return.

Giving Back in 2017 - Why Mental Health?

I am so excited to be taking steps to get back to my childhood of serving and supporting the community I live in.The last few years I have struggled with how I could give back in a way that mattered when I couldn't commit time in the amount and with the consistency I really wanted to.  Then, as 2016 came to a close and I was spending time focusing on reflection in my business and personal life the pieces just seemed to fall into place. There was a way I could share my successes, that I could get involved with a cause that means so much to me, and that just felt right. (If you missed the announcement go check out the post) I am a little overwhelmed with the supportive response I have received already since the announcement but some questions keep coming up...

 

1) Why did you choose to support mental health?

2) Which organizations in particular are you supporting?

  So, if you are curious too let's dive in!

 

1) Why did you choose to support mental health organizations in London & beyond?

Not long after my daughter was born I was diagnosed with an Anxiety Disorder. There was no major event leading up to the diagnosis. No massive panic attacks, no episodes of hiding from the world crying...it was just life as usual as far as I knew but someone recognized things might be the norm for me but there might be something more to it. I will never be able to thank Kay, my college program coordinator, enough for recommending I go for learning disability testing.

I went through what seemed like a million hours of testing (I think it was actually only 8 hours) and came out thinking “I’m going to look stupid, what was I thinking - there’s nothing wrong with me I’m just a lazy procrastinator and too sensitive to everything”

I still remember sitting in the office waiting for the results a few weeks later. There was a huge lump in my throat, I couldn’t sit still, I felt like I was on fire from the inside. One of the people who had tested me walked in, a smile on her face, and told me we had some things to discuss. I wasn’t just silly for thinking I didn’t do things or learn like other people - I had a reason. I have learning difficulties and a general anxiety disorder.

At first I didn’t know how to react. What does this mean? Am I going to be able to finish college? Does this mean I’m going to fail? Do I have to go to a special school?

I cannot even begin to express the sense of relief that washed over me in the next few minutes. The woman came around the desk, sat down next to me and said ‘don’t worry - we have a plan to help’. We spent the next few minutes going over exactly where my learning difficulties and anxiety were, what they meant, and what could be done to support me so I could continue on in my program just like everyone else. 

2) Which organizations are you supporting?

Canadian Mental Health Association

The CMHA is a great resource for information and has been working to reduce the stigma around mental health while increasing the availability of services for all ages throughout Canada.

Current stats suggest 1 in every 5 people struggle with mental illness. Look at you facebook friends list - how many of your friends and family may be struggling but too afraid of being judged to speak up and ask for the support they need? Vanier Family Services

This is one of the first places that was able to respond and to offer support when my daughter began to struggle with her self image an more.

It wasn't until we were there talking to a member of the team that I really realized the range of mental health services they offered to children and families.

Giving back in the Month of January (and all year long)

Some of my earliest memories are of time spent with my family supporting our community. I remember days spent outside the Sobey's in our small town helping to sell car draw tickets. I remember Easter mornings helping set up the Easter Egg Hunt in our town. I remember riding on the float or, when I was a little older, handing out Hot Chocolate in the Santa Claus Parade. I remember being a Kin Kid.  

My parents were dedicated members of the Kinsmen and Kinette Clubs of Grimsby. We raised money for Cystic Fibrosis in every way we could to give back and held local events that supported our community too. Community service was just part of what our family did, of who we were.

 

I am excited get back to those routes and to spend 2017 focusing on celebrating beauty while supporting amazing people and local organizations. 

 

How?

 

Rebecca Nash Photography will donate 10% of all sales in 2017 to mental health agencies serving London, Ontario and beyond.

 

In the month of January, for each wedding or portrait session booked (doesn’t have to occur in January) Rebecca Nash Photography will donate one gift certificate to a non-profit organization focused on mental health to be used to in their fundraising events.

 

 

Want to be a part of it?

 

Are you ready to feel your best? Join me in studio for your personalized Contemporary Elegance Portrait experience and support local mental health organizations!

Book now by calling 226-973-7115 or emailing info@rebeccanashphotography.com