WARNING: This blog post is the rawest and most vulnerable post to date. The images in this post are also the most raw and very vulnerable. This is a part of my story I have not shared very much about and is in relation to taking back my purity and the healing it’s required to heal from the sexual abuse in my marriage. These photos are not intended to bring about any sexual exploitation, rather, this is me taking back all the lies I was told about me from my ex-husband and replacing them with truth but also being set free from my past. I have stayed away from modelling lingerie because of the other things I do – speaking in schools and such so this is likely the only time you will see my in lingerie but I felt this was an important part in my healing journey and I am sharing it with you today and asking you to bear with me as I close this chapter in my life for good and walk forth into another layer of my value, worth, beauty and confidence. This post is long and may be difficult to read at times but my hope is to continue to help women see how worthy and valuable they are. So with that said, let’s get started …
I was raised in a Christian home and was a woman who’s values were important to her. I was saving myself for marriage and my purity was something I wore proudly. I wore rings that said ‘True Love Waits’ with pride until the night that I lost my virginity, before I was married. I never intended on having sex before marriage and although I realize some think it is old school thinking, it was my choice to wait.
The day I lost my virginity was a day that brought much pain into my life. After ‘giving it up’ my now ex-husband joked about how my virginity only cost him $8….a box of condoms. Now imagine being that girl who had saved this for someone special and was told that. My first time was not enjoyable at all – he was really aggressive, insensitive and I felt more empty than I had ever felt. And after he was finished he made comments about how I wasn’t any good and how he was disappointed. This is where my ‘performance’ mentality was taken up another notch and took over my life, constantly feeling like I needed to perform to make him happy in every area of life and that I was never enough.
Throughout our relationship our experiences were constantly ranked in comparison to the other plethora of women he had been with. The only thing was, I was never his best experience. I was typically ranked second or third. In the bedroom it was all about him and making him happy, and was made to feel bad when I initiated sex or wanted to be satisfied.
One of the most painful nights was our wedding night. I had spent hours going to different stores to find a super sexy white outfit for underneath my princess-like wedding dress. Back then I had no idea where to shop for all thing plus size (and I hated my body back then) which added to how long it took to find something. But then I finally did – I was so excited to wear this sexy number I had found (corset, garter belt, stockings and all). And on our wedding night I got, ‘Why are you wearing that, why are you trying to be sexy?’ This was something I was constantly told while we were together. ‘Stop trying to be sexy, you aren’t, that’s not you, you don’t know how to be sensual, you just aren’t sexy. Why are you wearing lingerie, why are you trying?’ Truth be told when I did this shoot, it was the first time I’ve worn lingerie since I was married. On top of being told he didn’t like my trying to be sexy for our wedding night, he also didn’t like my wedding dress and told me he would have picked something way different. So on a night that I should have felt the most beautiful, I felt the most rejected and unwanted. This certainly set the tone for the remainder of our short marriage.
Just like all the other things that happened leading up to our wedding, I felt unwanted, unloved and my identity was lost. I tried so hard to make this man happy but it seems that nothing I did would make him happy. It’s taken years of working through all of the pain to realize that the problem was with him and not with me. Had I known my value and worth, I would have just walked away and stayed away the many times I tried – we were engaged 3 times before we got married – yes, there were lots of signs leading up to our wedding that screamed that I should run, far, far away. My greatest heart’s desire was to be a Proverbs 31 woman and he told me I would never been that kind of woman, but that I was more like the woman who was a constant dripping and nag. If you notice my right forearm – I had my favourite portion of Proverbs 31 tattooed on me, because I am that kind of woman.
I constantly found this man on dating sites, talking to ex-girlfriends, taking girls from work or new girls he had met out for dinner and he made me feel like I was the crazy one for thinking it was wrong. That I needed to get counselling to deal with my trust issues or my ‘daddy’ issues as he harassed me about daily. And in the same token, I was not allowed to have any male friends in my life – even guys I had just been friends with for years!
Nothing in the bedroom was enjoyable and for years it just brought pain at the thought of being with anyone else – I have pretty much remained single since our split aside from a few dates here or there. My experience in the bedroom was nothing short of traumatising. From being whipped with a belt to being grabbed so hard I couldn’t move my neck for a week to the constant insults I was left feeling that I was undesirable and would never be enough. When we would have sex I was always wondering who he was thinking about. None of this is OK in a relationship.
Fast forward to today and being divorced for almost 5 years, this shoot was signifying me taking me back. All of me. Being perfect in my flaws, imperfections and my beauty through it all. Interestingly enough something amazing (and slightly unbelievable) also happened on this day that only seems fitting to share. I received a Facebook message from a woman whose name was all too familiar.
She is the woman who caused the most pain in our relationship as I was often compared to her and I found him talking with her many times through the course of our relationship. They had dated years before and for some reason they both still kept gravitating towards each other and I knew there was something inappropriate about their relationship and he just made me feel crazy for thinking so. He even stood me up on my birthday (a month before our wedding) to go out with her. And of all days she could have messaged me, she messaged me on this day that I was taking back my purity. It has been almost 5 years since I have been with him. Now that’s some next level business…
Well, on this day she sent me a message saying she wasn’t sure if I knew who she was but if I did she was sure I wouldn’t want to hear from her but that she was at a place in her life that she needed to get some things off her chest and confront some skeletons in her closet and asked if it was OK for her to continue. I told her she could continue and what unravelled was actually something beautiful. She apologized for her role in what was one of the most painful things in my relationship with him (although she did not know the full extent of the pain). She shared with me the truth about what actually happened because at this point I was still told a bunch of lies and didn’t know the full truth. I was able to forgive her for her role in what happened because I am healed and have moved on. If I had not dealt with things as they came up over the years, I’m sure I would have just been angry at her but I have no anger in my heart towards her what so ever. Rather, I have great compassion on a woman who sees that she is worth more and wants to take her life into her own hands and no longer be defined by the same man who hurt me. I also have agreed to meet with her and talk.
Since talking with her over the last couple of weeks we have discovered that this man was abusive towards both of us (and I’m sure countless more women). She watched an emotional video of me sharing about the sexual abuse just a couple months ago and was able to open up about what happened to her in their relationship. Had I not shared what I shared, maybe she wouldn’t be as open and this is exactly why I share what I do….
Because you are worthy of true love. You are worthy of seeing your own value, worth and immense beauty. You do not deserve to be belittled, made to feel like you are not enough or abused emotionally, mentally, sexually or physically. Often times when talking about abuse the first question people have is, did he hit you? Well let me tell you, abuse is not just someone hitting you, abuse comes in many forms and all are forms that one must heal from and it is hella painful to heal from them. But, let me assure you that if you choose to go there and work through the pain, you will walk forward in life free. Free from pain, free from torment, free from the negativity and you can walk forward into a full life. I am proof of that.
If my story sounds at all like yours and whether you are currently in a situation like this or are out of it but are still hurting, let me urge you to get help to walk through the healing. Find someone you trust, see a counsellor, find a community service in your area to assist you, whatever you need to do to walk through the healing of it. It will be hard and you will have to go to painful places but I can assure you it will be worth dealing with. I always say that through my healing journey I don’t want to leave any stone un-turned. It is because of that motto that I walk forward into pure freedom. I am no longer defined by my past or what this man had to say about me or what he did to me. As a result of dealing with it all, talking about it and sharing it with other women, I’ve been able to walk into my destiny – as I say….out of my deepest pain my destiny was birthed.
This is my pure redemption ….
I chose 2 outfits for this shoot. An all-white outfit for this shoot as a sign of my pure redemption and replacing my old, traumatic memory of all white with something new, beautiful and pure. My purity has been redeemed, my story has been redeemed and I am redeemed. The white set is from dream collection from Addition-elle by Ashley Graham. The black outfit was a little more of me taking back my sensual side and being comfortable in my own skin to wear it. It is from SexyPlus Clothing. Thank you to Samantha of Crave Boudoir for making my vision come to life but for also helping me see this side of me. Thank you for being tender about my situation and what I was hoping to accomplish with this shoot. The first time I saw the proofs I was in tears. Tears that this really is me, good tears knowing I am valuable, worthy and deserving of true love. Tears because I saw my beauty in a new light.
No turning back, just looking forward to what life has in store for me as a free, whole woman and purely redeemed woman.
White Dream Glamour Corset from Addition Elle by Ashley Graham
Black Rhinestone Lace Halter from SexyPlus Clothing
Photos by Crave Boudoir