2020 has been “unprecedented” to be sure, but also at the same time inspiring!
This is the second post in the “I AM STRONG” photography project featuring several local women and their 2020 stories.
Each woman selected for this project was free to choose how they wanted to be photographed. They each shared stories about what they had been doing to deal with all of it.
As expected, the women are rising to this occasion to somehow make everything “work”. A common thread I noticed was the desire not just to make it through, but to grow and improve in some way personally.
"Working Mom" Takes On New Meaning
She's a wife and mother of two preschoolers and a dog, and describes her biggest strength in one word; “resilience”
Her biggest challenge? “Working full time from home, and having my children home with me during quarantine...I had to continue to keep up with my demanding job at Amazon regardless of my home life.”
But when asked about how she was “stepping up”, Sonia admitted that it was sometimes more like just surviving...putting on a brave face for the kids’ sake. When your life is turned upside down, it’s hard not to show that stress and sadness.
Plans get cancelled and disappointment comes with it.
Well now that’s the real strength--admitting that it is HARD.
Gratitude is key. “My family is healthy... I have a career to be proud of, and can show my kids that one can persevere through many unexpected challenges in life.
I'm sure at one point when they are older, they will ask me "Mom, how did you do it? Was it hard?" She wants them to know that indeed life can sometimes challenge you.
I asked Sonia why she wanted to take part in the project. She said “I wanted to take time and feel like a woman, and not just all the other titles I hold”.
So we had hair and make up artists come to her home and headed to a nearby downtown area to photograph her in a variety of spots. “People were stopping, staring, sometimes honking or shouting positive things...So much of the world is negative and I am not one to like the spotlight, but you know what, I felt good, I looked good, and hell yeah I will take it all if only for a couple hours!"
"They say, the only constant in life is change, but the pandemic this year brought with it to an unexpected change that has transformed our lives forever. Besides balancing a marriage, raising children (6 and 7 y/o daughters and 13 y/o stepson), working full time, running a non-profit, and maintaining relationships, there’s the added push for self-improvement to learn new things and become a better version of myself.
"The changes this year have further emphasized the need for having defined contingency plans to secure a better future.” (umm yes..)
Mimi credits African heritage and upbringing to contributing greatly to creating the woman she is today. I loved how she honored that heritage with her choice of traditional handmade clothing from Africa for her photo experience in the project.
Just as important is what she considers a personal relationship with Christ that gives her strength, tenacity, resilience, never failing hope, faith, and courage.
We photographed Mimi in a variety of locations after she treated herself to professional make-up application. She looked absolutely stunning! And her strength was so obvious.
2020 has brought many challenges to Ginny’s life. She’s a teacher, which helped her have a leg-up on home learning for her 5 year-old son.
But it was the challenge of losing ground fast when it came to suspension of therapy for her three-year-old daughter who suffers from cerebral palsy that distressed her the most. “I had to be an advocate for her....watching all her progress with her strength and muscle tightness reverse from years of hard work was devastating”.
And it wasn’t easy to suddenly have to learn how to do her own high school teaching job remotely--or move during a pandemic.
Another comment Ginny made-- and seemed to be a consistent theme of most the women I interviewed-- was not to waste time complaining, but instead dig in and solve the problems. You’re capable of anything really.
To answer my question about what she considers her biggest impact in the world to be?
“I find helping others to be impactful...from helping my students or helping other women gain confidence, to inspiring other special needs families to advocate for what is best. I would advise others to listen! Stop and listen to what other people have to say and need. This simple act will have a huge impact on others.”
That’s great advice.
Of the photo shoot done in a rural location Ginny commented “I love pictures! I love to take them & be in them. All pictures are special memories of specific times. Having professional pictures is so special to me. Deb’s talent in her shooting will shine through the pictures and I’ll enjoy them for a long time. I was honored to be chosen by Deb as a woman for her campaign. It was lovely to be recognized for my hard work as a mom, wife, educator and business owner.”
I appreciated all these women and loved giving them the luxury of doing something just for them! Not just that but also to spotlight their stories and of course, their strength.