It’s been a while since I’ve done a #TransformationTuesday so I thought this before and after would only be fitting since my modeling career is blooming right along with me. A lot has changed since the pictures on the left so let’s take it back a couple years to 2017 and I’ll paint the context. I was fresh in my #BloomingUnapologetically journey. I filed for divorce that January, which for me was the key that released me to fully pursue me. It set the tone for me to step outside my box or better stated, crawl from under my rock. Modeling was a childhood dream of mine that I buried because I was told being plus sized wasn’t something I should celebrate or acknowledge. Due to that belief, most of my life I battled with my weight and hid behind clothes that would downplay my curves and plus size figure. Modeling didn’t even cross my mind again until I chose to pursue my dreams and conquer my fears as I began this healing journey. The end of my marriage served as the catalyst that I needed to propel me to be the best me. I decided that I would face my biggest battles with my fluctuating weight and address the root of my lack of confidence.
I get a lot of questions on what I did to lose weight, how I started and how I stay motivated. My first answer is weight loss was much more than numbers and measurements for me. It was all about me reclaiming my life and finding me after my ex husband left me. I knew I needed to make drastic changes to pull myself out of deep debilitating depression and it had to begin with learning to love me. My goals seemed impossible to reach. My reflection, I didn’t even recognize. I had literally lost my identity. Who you see today is a product of no short cuts, hard work, discipline and healing from the inside out. Thank you for tuning in to me #BloomingUnapologetically.
So the gate is open and the chains have been broken, but where does that leave me? Honestly, I'm in the doorway looking out at my freedom and its vast possibilities but stuck between dreams and reality. It’s been a week since my divorce has been final but I can't say that it has really hit me yet. I am still a bit numb. Like it is officially over? Like really over? Like I'm really done!? I know I did a good job of concealing the depth of the troubles in my marriage. I know that God's grace made it look like what I went through wasn't a big deal and maybe didn't even warrant a divorce but the truth is the depth of my marriage woes were ugly and painful. I never thought I would leave. I never thought that I would stop trying. I never thought that I would move on and at a point in time I couldn't even fathom what that looked like or how I would even take the first step. I was under the impression that all that I was going through was what I deserved and it ultimately became my normal. I began to think that I didn't deserve love and that I would never know what love from a significant other felt like. At my breaking point, I remember asking God this can't be all that you have for me. This can't be all that I deserve and this definitely can’t be a reflection of your love. I felt unloved, I felt neglected, I felt worthless and I was emotionally tapped out. I had poured out all that I could to save our marriage the first time and he still hadn't changed, he still hadn't forgiven me and he no longer wanted to try. Despite my unbreakable demeanor, I was sick and tired of being sick and tired and being on the receiving end of his bitterness. The little hope left in me led me to believe that I deserved more and the truth set in that I wasn't going to get it from him. He tapped out long before I did but I had finally mustered up enough courage to throw my towel in too. I didn't care that it made me look like a failure. I didn't care that people to this day would be saying I told you so. I was dying inside and desperate to live.
The day I found out that I was finally assigned a court date to finalize my divorce, I immediately reached out to my photographer to schedule a photo shoot. I wanted to do a divorce photo shoot unlike any of the other divorce photo shoots I saw on my google and Pinterest search. Most of those images were fueled by bitterness, rage and revenge. Depicted with burning wedding dresses, destroying property they once shared, or even downing liquor in provocative clothes. None of those photos inspired me and wasn't how I wanted to capture this final chapter of my marriage. I was not bitter. I was not angry. I was not unforgiving. I was not the newly single who wanted to mingle and downing alcohol in lingerie was definitely not an option. Instead I wanted to capture the peace in my release. I wanted to show that it is possible to heal from a divorce and to move forward in full wholeness. I wanted to show that divorce doesn't have to be a sad or angry thing. And most of all I wanted to shift the focus from my emotions for my former spouse to me and my healing journey and show that all this could be done with grace, dignity and class. For those of you who are new to my blog or Instagram you have some catching up to do! I separated from my husband in August of 2016, decided to divorce in October of 2016, filed for Divorce in January of 2017 and have been waiting patiently for this day to come. I've shared this journey of mine throughout my Instagram and via my blog and have self titled this season #BloomingUnapologetically. This divorce was honestly the best decision I've ever made. It took me a while to make the decision and even longer to actually act on it but today was the day. I am divorced and I am ecstatic! Today marked the end to a significant chapter in my life and turned the page to my rebirth.
So after having a conversation with a few of my girlfriends over lunch this past weekend I realized that I'm a little weird. I'm that person who enjoys meeting strangers without apprehension and traveling alone. They asked me about the recent traveling I've been doing, specifically my birthday trip to New York. They commended me for being brave enough to travel on my own but stated they were too scared to try it themselves. I explained that I enjoy going places where I know no one and traveling alone allows me to do this but I usually don't remain alone. I end up meeting strangers and making connections along the way. Sounds a little reckless but the way my life is set up, I only go where I'm led so I know I'll be protected wherever I go. I go without expectation except to be used somewhere along the way. I shared with them the story of the stranger I encountered on my recent birthday trip to New York. I'd like to share that story with you too as encouragement to step outside your comfort zone. You never know who you may meet and encourage if you strike up a conversation with a complete stranger. You may find out they they were never really a stranger to begin with, just a kindred spirit you hadn’t met yet.
What do you do when what God calls you to do sounds crazy? Are you willing to walk away from the life you have created for yourself and live a life surrendered for His glory? My 2016 was just that. In November/ December of 2015 I remember being at my lowest emotionally and physically. I was unhappy in my marriage, receiving less than I deserved. I felt depleted in my friendships, pouring out more than what I was getting in and I was at a point where I could not get myself out of my depression. I had hit rock bottom despite what it looked like on the outside. I remember vividly praying to God asking Him to send a friend who can pour into me.