….Glow, Shimmer, Glimmer, Radiate….

I’m just putting this out into the universe because it’s been weighing a lot on my heart. I think perhaps it’s fresh on my mind because my newsfeed these past few months have included statuses of women reaching out for help-for lack of a better word-desperate, to find a resolution to bullying that is continuing to occur. They have exhausted all avenues and they feel stuck. Their hearts hurt for their children who are being told lies that they are worthless, ugly, or unwanted by their peers.

You guys know that many years ago, an article of mine went viral that talked about me turning down several photo sessions with girls who were being “ugly”. The short version: Four high school girls were bullying other girls on social media. When it was brought to my attention and I realized that they were all scheduled in the upcoming months to have their senior photos with me, I cancelled the shoots, returned the money and blogged about it.  At the time, I had worked REALLY hard to go full time with my photography business and because they would have been essentially representing my business, I didn’t want any part of it. 

 

As women, I think we can all relate that the pre-teen and teenage years are the most impressionable and hardest to navigate. I remember that time of my life. I had low self-esteem because I was dealing with issues in my home life, my body was changing and I always felt so self-conscious. I was trying to juggle my feelings while dealing with hormones. I measured my worth by how other people felt about me. Did this person think I’m funny? Does she think I’m cool? Does he think I’m cute? It was the most impressionable time of my life. That time shapes us….or at least it did for me.

Imagine dealing with ALL of that THEN having unsolicited messages thrown at you from social media, you’re “friends”, and sometimes even family. They imply that you aren’t “enough”; pretty enough, skinny enough, smart enough, rich enough, <insert a million other things>. Heard enough times, those messages can become the own mantra that you say to yourself. It becomes the message that becomes programed in your mind and you begin to believe them…….but it’s all lies.

I’m not an expert in this field, I never intended on being one. I don’t have a physiology background, I’m not trained in the area of anti-bullying, self-esteem or life coaching but I do have a skill that I would be honored to put to use. 

I have the ability to take any women, put her in front of my camera and produce beautiful images. I get to show her how gorgeous she truly is on the inside AND on the outside and give her physical proof of how she’s viewed in the eyes of someone who sees her real worth. So…..why can’t I do that for these young girls? I want to show them how they shine!

Instead of turning away people because they are mean and hurtful, I want to attract people who are kind and inclusive, who may just need a little glimmer in their lives. I want to be the light that helps them shine and I want to use my talent to make it happen. I feel like it’s the least I could do. I just completed a new studio space and I’m eager to put it to good use.

We can’t control what others say or feel about us, but we can control the mantra in which we tell ourselves. You are beautiful. You are valuable. You are amazing. I want to SHOW YOU all of those things. Photography can be powerful. I want to be part of that!

If you want to sponsor a shoot, get in touch, it can absolutely be anonymous.

 

Sincerely,

Jen McKen, the mother of a teenage girl.