Samantha | Red Shoe Makeovers

This is Samantha....this is a girl who's story I saw just through her eyes, her vulnerability and raw beauty all in one...and I cried...tears for what she has been through, and tears of the new open free life that is ahead. 

Grab a cuppa, a hankie and a open heart for Sam......

ps...dear Sam....please now see what the world sees' are worth so much X

"I’ll start by saying that my day with Sarah and Mandy was one I will cherish always. You are both amazingly wonderful women and have helped me in so many ways and at such an important time in my life. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to thank you both enough for giving me the opportunity to try and see myself in a more positive way. I can’t quite believe it’s me in these images – Me! And I look ok – no, sorry, I look AMAZING! Thank you so much, both of you.

I turned 30 this year, on my own, wondering around book shops and museums in London. But I loved it, I needed it and it was going to be the start of a brand new me (which I needed even more) I’d say my life has been loosely based on a really bad version of Bridget Jones. I, unfortunately, am a magnet for disaster. And I’ve spent a good long while now sitting there trying to figure out what I’ve done or why I deserve for people to think it’s ok to treat me like they have. Why it’s ok that I spent hours in tears, that I doubted everything that I stood for, that somebody else’s life and problems then became my own – my struggle, my lies, my nightmares and my undoing. Why I spent nights sleeping on a settee crying myself to sleep, why I couldn’t even look in a mirror without completely hating myself. And why I didn’t pick up the courage to just TELL someone what was going on. I so desperately wanted to explain what was happening at home, what the reason was that I was late every morning for work and why I was always so emotional.

I spent the last 6 years of my life, from the age of 23, with somebody who I knew from the beginning wasn’t right for me. I was warned against him, but somewhere in my mind I obviously felt I had to prove that I was right and everybody else was wrong – but I was wrong, I knew that. In March this year I found the courage to leave – it was as simple as being stood in the card aisle of the supermarket and it hitting me. I’m going home now to get my life back, to say ‘that’s it, I can’t do this anymore’, to finally FINALLY put myself first. And I did, not that it was easy – I had married this person 10 months before after all. I married this person on the promise that he’d stopped what he was doing and was willing to change for me, and for us, once and for all, that he had 100% understood how horrendous the last 6 years had been and that somehow I was still there, thinking I could save him.

It turned out I couldn’t.

And my whole life literally came crashing down just days into my honeymoon, with the realisation that he in fact had no intention of changing at all. I was stuck with this person and his horrific issues. I was stuck in an abusive relationship. I was stuck and there was absolutely no way out. I’m not going to go into the ins and outs of what happened and what his problems were, there isn’t enough time believe me. When I’ve described the situation to someone new the reaction is always the same – and then it hits me all over again the sheer enormity of what I’d been through.

I can’t even begin to describe the guilt I felt when I had to tell my family, how embarrassed I was that I’d let myself stay in this situation, the pain that I went through just trying to sort my own head out and the huge feeling of regret that I just didn’t ask for help on so so so many occasions. I spent far too long ‘coping’ and saying ‘I’m fine’ over the last few months. I thought I should have been over it quickly and moving on, I felt like that was what everyone wanted me to do and so I couldn’t admit to anyone that in fact I was a complete mess.

Until a few weeks ago when it finally hit me and I needed to take some time to sort myself out and get myself back on my feet.

I’m getting there.

I have the most amazing people around me, I’m extremely lucky. I know that aside from my mistakes and awfully bad decisions I’m a good person, I can’t cope with confrontation and I will always be there for others. I’m always too nice, that’s my downfall; I’m working on that. I know I’m not the most beautiful person in the world, I’ve certainly had enough people making sure that I know that too; but if I can just start to love myself, just a little bit, I think I deserve that at least.

These wonderful images, of me at my most vulnerable and lost, well I just love them.

I actually had a complete wobble when I saw them because I worried what other people would think, I didn’t want people to look at them and be judgmental – and yes I know how ridiculous that is now.

But that’s me; I worry far too much about what other people think, when in fact, if people can’t be nice and supportive then their opinions really don’t matter at all. Do they?

All I’ve ever wanted to be is a photographer, that’s me inside and out and I’m at my happiest camera in hand. I’ve put my life on hold for so long, but now I’m going to be the Me that’s been dying and screaming to get out, not the Me that was paralysed with fear and regret. I know the BEST people in the business; I have a wonderful group of photographers that I call friends and recently – thanks to my amazing parents – I was able to join them all in Italy on my first workshop. That trip changed my life; I got some of my confidence back and came home with such determination to carry on doing what I love with absolutely no apologies.

So what now?

A life filled with happiness and adventures I hope. I’ve always felt like I wasn’t good enough, that being me was just so bloody awful, everything I did was wrong and that nobody was ever going to just love me for me, you know? I’ve had to kiss a fair few frogs (or toads in my case – I’d love to say this was my first bad relationship experience but unfortunately I can’t) but now I’d like to be able to say that somebody was looking over me and has shown me that there is definitely a perfect beginning to the next chapter of my life.

Is it possible that the girl who was completely lost could be lucky enough to find somebody who is willing to stand there in front of her and say… “I like you very much. Just as you are”

Yes, I am xx"