Souls On Fire Feature: Terra

Terra is one amazing woman that I’ve had the pleasure of knowing for years now.  Like most of the women in this self love photo shoot, I met Terra when she came to me for a boudoir session almost 5 years ago.  I never forget my clients – EVER!  So, when she applied for the group shoot, I knew she’d make a great fit.  Terra came to me all those years ago for a boudoir as a wedding gift, but many years later that marriage broke apart as she found the courage to move on from something that wasn’t healthy.  I applaud women who can do that – it takes strength and gusto to stand up and walk away from something that you’ve been conditioned to accept as love.  As I’ve shared my own story of emotional abuse on the blog, I know that the scars and pain from that situation is silent.  You don’t have a physical representation of the hurt that is being done to you – it’s all internal, which makes it hard to deal with.  I’m glad that she stands up for herself now, believes in who she is, and knows that there is no limit to her potential!  I love this woman to pieces.

Here is her Souls On Fire Story:

The theme “Souls on Fire” could not fit my life more perfectly. The past few years of my life have been a whirlwind of emotion, pain, change, and growth. It hasn’t always been easy or pretty, but every single piece has sculpted who I am today.

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I spent two and a half years in an emotionally abusive marriage. It took me a long time to feel comfortable calling it abusive, probably because so many people close to me didn’t believe me. Everything was subtle and gradual. Every demand, every accusation. Everytime I spoke up about it to family and friends, it was blown off. I started to think that I deserved it. I started to genuinely hate myself and who I was becoming. If you have a jar of marbles and someone steals one at a time, who would ever notice? But eventually, if this continues, the jar will be empty. I think that’s the best way to describe what happened to me. By the time I decided to leave, the jar was empty. I was completely lost. There was nothing left of who I was.

Nonetheless, I dusted myself off and started over. Less than a month later, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. I had almost lost her to mental health problems a few years before, so it completely rocked my world. (After a partial mastectomy and multiple radiation treatments, I am fortunate enough to say that she is now cancer free.)

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I also met an amazing man, and not long after, we decided to start a family. Pregnancy was another rough part of my journey. I suffered through terrible depression both during pregnancy and postpartum. Childbirth also didn’t go as planned. After 26 hours of labor and refusing an epidural, I ended up needing an emergency C-Section. I planned to breastfeed my son through his first year, but the combination of having mastitis twice, severe lack of sleep, and suffering from debilitating depression proved to be too much for me. I struggled so much the first few months because I felt like I was failing at everything a mother should be able to do.

Fast forward to now. Life has finally afforded me the time to process all of the things that I’ve gone through over the past five years. I’m able to look back and see strength and resilience instead of pain and weakness. I’ve learned that you cannot let your failures define your self worth. Today, I am genuinely happy. Today, I am proud of how far I’ve come. I can finally say that I am confident in who I am and the decisions I make. A phoenix rises from the ashes, but you can’t be afraid to light the match.

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