Burn the whole thing down and start over

If ever there were a perfect time to tell y’all my own story, it would be now. While literally everything feels like it is upside down and nothing except total vulnerability and transparency is called for.

Where the fuck do I even start with this?

There are some things that, once they haven’t been spoken about for a while, start to feel weird to bring up. I haven’t always thought my own story was very relevant to tell to the world or, more specifically, to the people who potentially wanted to be my clients. But the more I grow into my mission of helping women own their sexy and live their greatest truth and the deeper that I get into becoming not “just a photographer” but a female empowerment coach who happens to use photography as one of my tools, I am realizing the power of owning my story. I am understanding the power of being incredibly open and vulnerable with people.

And I know that one person’s story can profoundly impact someone else. It is not lost on me that it would have been incredibly healing for me to read a story like mine 9 years ago when I was in the thick of it.

We are in a moment of RIPENESS in the world. There is so much potential for all of us to tap into. Amidst all of the trauma and loss and stress and heartache… amidst all of that, we have the privilege of shaping who we want to be when we come out of this. Who do you want to be? How do you want to show up? What dreams are you holding yourself back from that this crisis has given you a new perspective on? Can you see now that the little shit does not matter? That everything does not have to be aligned in some magical way for you to take action on making your dreams come true? Those dreams 100% will NOT come true if you do not start SOMEWHERE.

I am ahead of myself.

“What the HELL is she talking about?” wonders the reader.

What I am trying to tell you is that I have never publicly told the story of how I was married to a lovely guy for 14 years and then blew up my entire life in order to be true to the fact that I figured out that I am a lesbian.

I have never told you publicly how much fear of rejection as a boudoir photographer I have had over this.

And I have never told you how conflicted I have felt, as a person who tells women to be confident and to own their sexy, that I have just been sitting on this amazing story of confidence and owning my fucking sexy and yet holding myself back from sharing freely because… why? Fear of rejection. If someone in 2020 in New York City doesn’t want to shoot boudoir photos with me because I am married to a woman, do I actually care? I certainly do not. (Anymore.)

The thing is, I am not in the closet. From the moment I came out, I have not hidden it from anyone. Even at work, if you were in my studio and you saw my ring and asked me what my husband does, I would not hesitate to say, “Oh, my wife actually!” (And then I would carefully watch for a flinch or any sign that you were about to snatch up the bedsheets and run screaming out of the studio. Spoiler: literally no one ever did.)

But I didn’t share it publicly.

Am I obligated to tell my personal life on my professional website? Definitely not.

But I am telling you that it has FELT weird for me not to. All of these years, I have felt like it was an omission. Because my job, my CALLING, is to help other women live confidently and love themselves. To own their sexy. To be true to themselves.

So it feels like telling you my own personal truth is important because I want to be REAL with you and because if there is even one person reading this who is struggling with the same thing, I want them to read this and not feel alone. No matter what you are struggling with, I want you to know that you are not alone.

I got married at 19. We were freaking kids but we loved each other deeply. We moved to NYC together in 2004. We finally felt like we had “made it” – he had a fancy legal job, we had a washer and dryer in our apartment (if you live in NYC you understand the magnitude of this amenity), I started my own business, we took dream vacations a few times a year, life was fucking good. Really really good.

Loooong story short, I blew it all up. It was the hardest and scariest thing I have ever done.

We are still friends. (I mean, we don’t hang out but we are friends. We text each other happy birthday. I designed his wedding album when he got remarried. I met his new baby. He has met my wife. Stuff like that.)

And in between that husband and this wife, I was in a brief and emotionally abusive marriage with a woman who turned out to be a pathological liar.

Lessons have been learned is what I am saying.

And now I am sitting here in 2020 in what was until recently the very epicenter of a global pandemic with my photo studio shut down for months, knowing that people are stressed the fuck out and an ungodly amount of people have actually DIED, feeling that the entire world has changed, and I just wanted to say:

YOU HAVE GOT THIS.

YOU CAN BURN IT ALL DOWN AND START AGAIN.

IF I CAN DO IT, SO CAN YOU.

Whatever you might be struggling with right now, know that it will not end you.

Whatever truth you might not have told yet, know that you are strong and worthy and you will tell it when you are ready.

Whatever dream you are dreaming up in your big old heart, know that you can (at least start to) make it come true, EVEN in the middle of the end of the world.

If you are ready to step into your own story or if you need support around your self-love, confidence or pussy power, I am here for you.

xo laura

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