This is harder than it seems. My first post. The first post of my new chapter.
It’s hard to be this vulnerable, which is exactly what I plan to be. I wonder, will I sound nuts? Will I sound cocky? Will people hate it? What if people really like it then I’m that lady who gets out of bed in the middle of the night to check her blog comments ‘cuz all of a sudden that’s where I get my self validation. Clearly I’m overthinking this. Whatever, here I go….
I am driven on vision. Actually seeing how things could be in mind’s eye. If you know anything about my past (this link will lead you to over 1000 blog posts circa 2009-2012 chronicaling the adventures of owning The Boudoir Divas) you know that I have a bold idea of what the future holds for myself and for those around me. I felt it was quite a gift, but a little bit ago it faded.
Three years ago I began the divorce process and I was sad. I can’t call it depression, because I felt just, well legitimately saaaaaad. My bones hurt, my smile felt forced. And while I felt grateful, all I saw for the future was gray. Let me clarify though, not like a sad gray. I mean I was sad, but my future wasn’t, it was just completely unclear. As if it didn’t exist. Like there was a huge fog and I had to fight through to understand where I was so I could know where I was going. Ever heard the song by CCR, “have you ever seen the rain, coming down on a sunny day?” That was me for most of those three years straight. I had this foundation of love around me, and I felt so loved, but something I couldn’t control was raining all upon it, hurting my precious foundation, and messing with my identity.
So there was this season of fog, then it just, um, lifted.
I wish I could tell you what the miracle was, I wish I could say that it’s gone forever, but all I know is I’m so relieved and grateful. Like get on my knees thankful for the millions of things that pushed me into this oh so clear direction and place that I can now stand at the helm at and navigate myself into. It won’t be easy, but I’ve never minded that.
I’ve been trying to analyze the why and how of that breakthrough. ‘Cuz really what’s the point of a “my life sucked for a chapter then it didn’t” testimony if you can’t pinpoint how you were able to move through it. Isn’t that what all of us want? Solutions?
The fog started to clear a few months back. (And I’m intentionally going to be a little vague about this as I have big plans to reveal each new little twist and turn of my intentions for my future right here on this blog). I kept hearing and seeing the word “Rise.” I mean everywhere. The synchronicity was apparent in songs, from conversations, in writings, in the bible, in my head, on the label of a pair of sassy thrift store heels my mom bought me for the studio. Everywhere. This word would whisper at me. In the back of my head, down a dark corridor of my mind I’d hear the word. Haunting me. Like just pick your ‘effing ass up. I was scared of it. The idea of figuring out exactly what the word meant felt like standing up with a thousand bricks on my shoulders. Just do it Marissa. Rise. You never been this lost at sea. You’re sitting still. Worse yet you’re floundering and you know it. So stand up. STAND UP.
But it didn’t really happen from that haunting voice. I needed more. And, see, I could have muscled through it. But I had no direction to muscle to. Why stand up when there is no reason? Or all the reasons seem unfathomable.
Until after a couple of months, the ideas in my head that were just flirting with me, that I could just barely see, like BAM, became a full in color vision of what my future held; both personal and professional. The spark I had known so well returned and I had a joyful reason to get to work to make a plan. To serve wholeheartedly again. It was magic. It was God. And also maaaybee had something to do, possibly coincidentally, with the super moon. I’d like to think it a combo of all those, mostly God.
And he did create the moon- so all God then.
I started to move forward with a new vision for my life. And all of the sudden the fear I had, started to disintegrate. Not quickly, not slowly, but once again like old times, I returned to who I used to be and who I so easily was, a person to whom risk seemed safer than the same. Rise started to feel not like standing up fighting crushing weight, but like standing outside of myself, able to see a more accurate picture of who I am.
I opened my journal to an entry from Jan 2016. Here is what it said, this time I believed it. I didn’t when I wrote it. I was just trying to spill thoughts on a page to motivate myself.
“Ever since I was younger people have always told me I see the beauty in people. I really immediately hone in on it. And I absorb it and then try to make something of it. The other day a respected client, who I’d had the honor of photographing, but didn’t know so so well, authored a gorgeous childrens’ book and I took her photo for it. As she was leaving my studio she gave me a signed copy of her book. She said something to me- and I continue to be in awe of the kindness and generosity people show me. Especially when I feel like I’m not putting my best self forward. Perhaps even my worst. I’m humbled that this broken spirit can still give enough to be gifted these words…..
I opened one of the most beautifully written and illustrated books I’ve held in my hands, and the inscription said, “To Marissa, who always sees the beauty.”
I think my breath caught in my chest a little. These past few years I’ve known extreme heartache that goes far beyond my divorce. And yet, it somehow also landed me in hot crippling anger, that I inwardly lash out at myself with unreasonable self frustration for not feeling grateful for all the blessings in my life. So many blessings. So much to be joyful about.
But this is a reminder (the beginning of the rise). One thing is true, even at my darkest. I always, always, see beauty. I latch on to it. Behold it. And want desperately for the world to see what I see.
Again, I said I didn’t know exactly where in the process of grieving, I was able to move forward and change up my life drastically. But I have some ideas and I wanted to share them:
- I allowed my imagination to run free. I had bottled it up, out of fear of getting my hopes up that it would all come crashing down.
- I stopped waiting until I felt strong enough or ‘put together’ enough to move forward, and just started putting one foot in front of the other. I wished I hadn’t waited until I had an exact plan to just start moving.
- I stopped beating myself up for not being as productive as I used to be. Actually I stopped beating myself up in general.
- I finally allowed myself to grieve. I stopped telling myself to suck it because I was blessed even in this season and just let myself unravel a bit.
- I had to let go of what people thought. This one is hard to admit, because I didn’t even realize I cared until I came across the incredible Brene Brown. If you don’t know her I encourage you to go buy all of her books NOW. (Daring Greatly, Rising Strong)
One of my favorite excerpts from her book…
“Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky, but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.” ~ Brené Brown from Rising Strong.
Thank you to those of you who desire to begin this journey with me. Today marks the beginning of this 30-ish days of blogging as I journal some major changes happening with my studio, business and personal life that I am SO VERY EXCITED ABOUT!! I have had the immense blessing of getting to so many people throughout the years who follow our studio, I wanted to share with you and them what’s going on.
What a privilege to read your words and be inspired not just by your visual work, but by the beautiful work of self-discovery. Blessed to know you!
I am honored to know your story as it evolves Marrisa..divorce at any point in life is a journey .
I do see you rising ….and getting stronger and to hear how it from you ..i will commit to reading it
for the next 30 days.
philomena..a past boudoir student from Canada
I can tell I’m going to love your new blogging adventure already – thanks for sharing your thoughts!
So proud of you for following your heart and vision!! You’ve got this!
Thank you Marissa for being completely raw and open. I strive for the same in my life. You have always been a mentor to me and am excited to see what is ahead for your journey. I too am going through the divorce process and starting a new chapter in my business trying to move one step in front of the other with the fear of failing and the excitement of excelling ahead.
Love your drive, honesty and passion. Can’t wait to read more and thank you again so much for being you… raw, real and beautiful. <3
Today, in the midst of many meltdowns preparing pretrial documents for divorce, your email popped up in my Inbox. My first impulse was to delete it as I am trying to stay focused in this mess. For some unknown reason, I opened the email and began to read. I thought, what kind of changes could this flourishing business have going on? Low and behold, I click on your link to your blog. Whoa! I thought is she writing about me….my life? I am certainly nowhere nearly as established a business, but on a personal level I felt as if you knew me and were telling my story. Sad, sadder, saddest…..I stopped to listen to the words “Have You Ever Seen The Rain”. I cried. I read on and felt every word you described. Everyday I put on my forced smile and walk with my head up, only to feel that every person I encounter doesn’t even know me. No one knows my life, my mind, my heart. I am not me. Reading on through your blog, it’s good to see you have found your peace, your inner-being, your self-worth, you. My throat is closed, my chest is tight, I am typing through glass eyes. This is two years now for me. It brings me hope to see I share a story of my life with someone else and there is a future. I pray it come soon as I am tired of not knowing “me” anymore. I’ve ordered four of Brene Brown’s books (including the new-to-be released 4/7/17 Rising Strong). I find reading has been helping me not to think about things so profoundly. I look forward to reading your future blogs and your rising. More so, I look forward to finding me again….the fun, loving, outgoing, dancing, smiling, embrace the moment “ME”. xo
You’ve developed the courage to tell your story. Sounds like you have awakened a new awareness and excitement in your life. I support you in the next part of your journey. oooo
You should check out http://www.aliedwards.com She is a scrapbooker, but so much more. Here and Brene are actually really good friends. Ali’s voice is positive. She has two children, one with special needs and also went through a divorce that she didn’t want. (He husband is finishing his last year as Oregon Senator.)
Check out her blog. A lot right now is marketing because she finally went out on her own and is making her own products, but if you look at her archive, there is amazing stuff in there. There is reasons to celebrate, even when there doesn’t seem to be. Oh, and her scrapbooking is based on photos and words. Not so much about the “crap” of scrapbooking. You’ll find she has her own very specific style of photography that if you follow her for a little while, you can spot a photo taken by her anywhere. Isn’t that something we all want to achieve as photographers? To have our own style and someone know it right away?
Marisa, I always admired your girls and Boudoir Fuvas work and I have been a big fan since. Just read this and learn about your divorce. It has been 2 years for me, and two little children. I know exactly what you mean. I can relate to each other you wrote. Finding yourself again, healing, grieving. It takes time. I wrote things too in my jornal, that I go back and didn’t see at the time, I was too sad. But God is wonderful and he shows us other doors, when we decide to move forward, and live the lasting the past, and overcome. I am stronger now. I am sure you are too. And you inspire other woman. Many of them. Continue in your healing path. God has a better plan for us! We are bad-ass, amazing woman, and we have a beautiful and bright path ahead! Xoxo
Love the blog! Hugs! You’re amazing!! Thank you for opening up your heart and sharing!
Thank you for sharing your story! You will help many by doing so comma including yourself. God bless!
I have never met you personally, but have followed you for years. In 2010 my family and I took a trip to California, and I knew for sure that boudoir was something that I wanted to focus on, even though everyone else said I was crazy. So I begged my then boyfriend (now husband) to drive WAY out of the way to go to your studio, and I was crestfallen when your staff said you weren’t available. No worries, I purchased your books and went about my way.
I have always looked up to you, even over the years as my business has grown to success and I am now teaching and sharing with others. I have been through a divorce, and know that fog well, and just a… BLAH. Not sad, not depressed, just a treading water kind of feeling. I know how much divorce hurts, even if you know it’s the right thing for you both. I also know how much seeing that light at the end of the tunnel can light your heart, and take you out of the notion that even though you’re blessed, life is still just BLAH.
I am excited to see what you are moving towards, the light that you shine, and feel like somehow, even though we have never met, we are kindred spirits. I have been told I am naive about the world because I see the good… and at the time I was really offended, but now I realize that is a gift. Never lose the ability to see the beauty in others, there are so many that choose to see the horrible in everything they see.
Blessings and prayers for you, I am so happy that you are excited and moving towards change!
You are an amazing woman and what a gift you are to this world…
The maze of this life troubles us all sometimes–it takes our breath away, it stops us in our tracks. It is only when we step one foot forward that we can start to see the horizon again. Don’t look back…you aren’t going that way.
God can take the things that are broken in our lives (He doesn’t piece them back together–that isn’t good enough for those who trust). He creates something new, and something so magnificent that we can actually give thanks for the difficulties.
Hi Brooke, thank you so much for your words. I am bummed too that I wasn’t around when you came by the studio! Kindred spirits, I love that!
Thank you Debi. I love that, something new and magnificent.
Thank you Kim! I will have to check her out! Always love recommendations.
Thank you so much Amy
Love it! Love your honesty, Love your branding!