I am in absolute tears here...big fat tears.....
My dear beautiful friend Karen....
"So, here is my story……….
When I first saw Sarah’s work, I was in Awe, I always thought “oh I would love a session like that, some images to make me feel special” but being 40, not exactly a size 10 it was just a pipe dream, I would never be able to do that, to have enough confidence to do it… then one day, I thought fuck it! messaged Sarah and that was it, I was booked in….
Along came the day, whilst driving to the studio I honestly almost stopped that car and turned around, I mean come on, I was too old for this, too fat for this, too ugly for this, there is no way I could do this, but I couldn't pick up the phone and cancel, for one I knew Sarah and Mandy would hunt me down.
Confidence has always been an issue for me, when I was 19 I broke my spine, I was given the news that I may never walk again and I guess from then on I became a bit of a wall flower, having spent a long time in a wheelchair, I just tried to blend into the background. my late teens were spent in and out of hospital, physio sessions and learning to adapt to my new way of life when I should have been travelling or out clubbing with the girls… slowly but surely the movement came back into my left foot, then my legs grew stronger, I was able to walk with the aid of leg callipers then without… I was then classed as an incomplete paraplegic, my left foot is paralysed completely, but with the aid of a foot brace I am able to walk.(albeit I look like I am pissed half the time) pretty much all of my legs are numb, my balance is totally non existent, and I am constantly falling over… some may say I am strong, but in the inside I really never feel it, when my husband and kids tell me I am beautiful I shy away from answering them, or looking at them… because I don't believe what they are telling me. ever.
I have always done my best to never let my disability get in my way, I have three beautiful daughters who are my world, A husband who truly is amazing, I went to university and completed a degree in Community Development after spending years working in factories, I have an amazing job working in the local community, I also started up my own photography business which is something I thought I would never be able to do, I mean who would want someone with a limp rocking up to take their photos, but I tried and thankfully succeeded. I am always telling my clients the importance of printing and preserving their images, and that their children will look back on them in years to come… yet I am in very few images with my children, which is sad really, I wanted them to see their mumin years to come and smile the biggest of smiles, not cry because they have no images with me.
So I arrived at the studio, armed with a ruck of clothes and Cakes and my heart going ten to the dozen, I was met by the incredible Mandy, who I have met a few times at weddings, we sat down and I instantly relaxed, she worker her, what can only been described as magic on me, it was a pamper of the most wonderful variety… then in came Sarah, like a magnificent Whirlwind, a bouncing tigger, a huge ball of energy… and we just hit it off straight away, all the worries of wondering what they will think of me soon vanished, they really are the most incredible team you will ever come across..
The sessions were a dream, Sarah made me feel super chilled, the shots are all natural, I cant believe I shed away from doing something like this for so long. I was treated like a star, hair and make up touch ups, whilst I relaxed and drank cups of tea. I drove home on cloud nine, I haven’t felt amazing in such a long, long time, probably since my wedding day.
I have just viewed the images, I had to look at them a few times, because I wasn't sure that it was me.. frumpy, old, Karen doesn't look that good does she?? My daughter was say with me telling me how beautiful they are, her words were “mum, you really are beautiful, you are perfect” cue the tears… I can't wait for my husband to see these, I know he will love them.... and my mum, who has listened to me moan, groan, wiped my tears away and consoled me throughout my life..
Sarah & Mandy, if I could bottle you both up and carry you around I would, I really can’t thank you enough, I bloody love you and have found two amazing friends in you both, I will never, ever forget my day with you both… you are amazing
And to you ladies who lack confidence, who aren't the perfect size, who have a disability, feel old, feel frumpy… … fuck it, you only live once, and once in your life you really do have to be a Red Shoe Girl, go on I dare you…