Connie

Last month, this article came across my newsfeed, and like the rest of you, I was totally horrified. A company that serves plus-sized women should, by rights, be totally supportive of their employees using the vernacular of their choice, especially on personal social media sites. I think most of us are in agreement about that.

I read the article and thought to myself, I bet this woman would ROCK a photo shoot. So I decided to contact her.

Meeting Connie was awesome. We met at the U of A campus (which REALLY brought me back about 15 years – wow!!) on a sunny April morning. I had Hobbes with me in his stroller, along with some distractions, and he didn’t make a peep.

Connie and I got along really well! As a work-at-home-mom who interacts almost exclusively with other moms, I suppose that surprised me a bit. She is smart and funny and a breath of fresh air. I had so much fun on our shoot! Here are the photos.

Love Your Body | Sheena

I had still been thinking about this project at least once a week, wondering how I could revive it, when I heard from Sheena out of nowhere.  And I’m so glad she decided to do it. It seems to me that the relevance of it pops up somewhere in my life daily.

Meet Sheena. She messaged me through Facebook on a Thursday night and said that she’d been reading the application for the project and was wondering when I was going to run it again. What better time than now! Sheena, it was nice to meet you – thank you for getting this started again.

The thing I love most about Sheena’s story is her realization that there is a lot to love about her body. I think that’s a huge turning-point for most women, and something that I wish happened sooner rather than later. Being a role model and an inspiration for our children is so important if we want this to change.

Tell me about you: My name is Sheena. I am a 31 year old mother, wife, sister, daughter…and soon to be Aunty! 

I had my son at the tender age of 20 (a few days shy of turning 21) a couple years later, I married the love of my life, my rock, and my soul mate, then had my daughter a year after! While other people that age would be going to university, travelling, and finding themselves…I was a parent and a wife. I immersed myself into this role whole-heartedly. My kids are my greatest accomplishments! I have always had body image issues….since a young girl. I had posted in a local Facebook group where I can get help with it, and the response was overwhelming! And I noticed so many people feel the same. This is a cycle I wanted to break for my daughter, I never want her to think what I have thought about myself. I never want her to feel like she has to hide herself. 
I am told I am beautiful by complete strangers,  but I refuse to accept it, because I don’t see it. I want to see what others see in me….because my vision of myself is clouded by self doubt, and even self hate. Time to change it!

Think about your incredible body and tell me why you love it.: When I first saw this question I thought….”Nothing”. Then I took a few days and really thought of what my physical body has done for me, not the image of my body. 

I then realized how much I have put my body through. 

My body has endured abandonement, physical abuse, psychological abuse, foster care, group homes, homelessness, self harm, and a bad bout of self hate. It has healed its self from a degnerative disease, and has fought FOR me every day of my life. 

I thank my body for pushing past all these adversities, and life lessons, and fighting for me and my soul. 

More recently by body has been a temple for healing, and energy work. My body has been loved and cared for by the one person who has been my rock, and my one true love, even when I didnt love my self, my darling husband Jake. My body has created two beautiful humans, and nurished them into toddlers. My body is so much more then the image of my outter body. I have treated it so unfairly for how far it has taken me in this life. And for how much I have put it down, and told my body it is not good enough. My body and my soul deserve much more then that, so as I look in the mirror I will remind my self…..to thank my amazing body and to remember that this body, the one body I was given, has done so much for me! From now on, I choose to LOVE my body! 

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Meet Nic

 

Last summer I got this crazy message from my friend and client, Connie, asking whether I was available to shoot her friend Melissa’s last-minute wedding less than two months later. Strangely, when the message appeared on my screen, I’d been sitting there, rearranging some things in my August schedule as we’d been planning a trip and had changed the date…an hour earlier, I had not been available for the date Connie was asking about. But suddenly, I was. Kismet.

I met Melissa and Joe and their kids, Keighdance and Nic at a Starbucks in SE Edmonton on a hot July day. Their wedding was getting close, but coming together beautifully. Everything was just working out – the venue, the date, me. Melissa and Joe had tried a few times over the years to plan this wedding, but life frequently got in the way, as it does, and it had to be postponed. But this time, everything was just falling into place. Kismet.

It was a fantastic day, full of love and beauty. Here’s one of my favourite photos from their wedding formals.

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That’s not why we’re here though.

Melissa and I really connected, and I found myself thinking about her – and about Nic – for months afterward. Nic stole my heart. He flashed me flirty smiles throughout the ceremony. I was smitten. I’d told Melissa about my experiences with volunteering with the Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation and about my own son’s stay at the hospital last spring. “We were there EIGHT DAYS!!” I said. She said “eight months. That was our longest stay”. I’m humbled. I’m such an idiot.

So, I’d been thinking about Nic for a while. Melissa and I both sort of had the idea to document Nic’s life – and his family’s. Melissa has this incredible memory, and she’s so succinct and determined. Nic has the right parents. But life got in the way for a while – mostly because my kids or I were sick and we couldn’t risk infecting anyone else – and things got postponed again and again.

But a couple of weeks ago, things all came together and I was able to spend a couple of hours in Nic’s life one morning. Here are the photos.

 

 

I’m looking forward to hanging out with them again in a couple of weeks.

 

XOXO – Jen