Raw. Vulnerable. True. Here.

I did something truly terrifying yesterday. I walked into a photo session with zero make-up on, sat down, and proceeded to let Kriea Arie capture me, the real me. My last artist photo shoot was in 2011, and I had my first baby in 2012. My promo photos needed significantly more than a refresher, but I've been paralyzed by fear. The post-baby me isn't sexy, thin, or remotely put together. The stress from the past few years has left me feeling aged and frazzled, not current or cool or pretty. Most days I feel successful if I get to shower, wear something besides my go to mom wear, and my hair isn't in a messy bun.

Despite all this external insecurity, there's a revolution going on in my insides. In my personal life, I am standing in my story and claiming it more than ever before. I feel things shifting, for the good, and I can hear my brave, truest self rising in song. In my most triumphant moments, I know I belong here, that I matter, and that it's okay for me to take up space. These tiny glimpses are big, big shifts for me.

For years I've wanted to be brave enough to do a photo shoot like this one. But I never felt like I could let the mask come off. The make-up, the editing, the killer dress, the cool location, the striving for perfection. What if you actually saw me? Wouldn't you run away? Even worse, wouldn't you stare and laugh and tease? If you've spent anytime around me, online or otherwise, I hope it's clear I am on a path toward vulnerability and kindness. Believe it or not, it's easier for me to be vulnerable in words than it is in pictures.

I finally got the guts to book the session with Kriea. I was really, really scared. But unless my life is in danger, fear is simply not a good enough reason for me to hide anymore. So I went for it, and my dear friend and fabulous photographer came along for the ride wth me. When it came time for all the standard editing, Kriea left me as I am: flaws, wrinkles, pores, stray hairs, and all. This is me. Raw. Vulnerable. True. Here.