Of course I was nervous. I stopped at a coffee shop right around the corner from the studio. The intensity I felt couldn’t have had me talking any faster to the barista. I finally arrived. I walked into the room and felt like I had known her my whole life. The anxiety began to leave my body as I embraced her welcoming arms. The connection felt as though it was a deep, lasting an eternity yet I found myself telling her my story. Starting with my younger years. I spoke of a broken childhood. No place to call home, no family ties. Adopted at 16 years of age. I found it incredibly easy to share even the most painful memories to such an open heart.
In that studio I felt loved. Un-judged. Completely accepted. We continued to talk and share experiences. I told her that I wanted to be completely organic with her in this journey. So I began to share of when I was kidnapped and sexually exploited for a year and a half. I waited for the look of disgust and pity. Neither ever crossed her precious face. I began to tell her of my escape and how when I ran and ran that it was hard to think of myself for anything other than an object to be abused repeatedly. She asked questions wanting to know more. I shared more.
(All Photographs by ABBP Seattle-Based Regional Photographer Natasha Komoda)
This is what I learned about life through the most troubling experiences — I learned that we are completely resilient and can overcome so much when we choose to not allow others to have power over us and that we always have a choice in our hearts what we will take from our experiences no matter the intensity. What I still struggle with is self acceptance. Being abandoned by family and used by men allowed me to create a powerful yet torturous story in my mind–which I so easily believed. “I’m not good enough, unworthy of love.” This story became a storm that I suffered through again and again and with each moment focused on this intensified the belief.
I overexposed myself to her and didn’t look back. The music started. Camera in hand she began to guide me through this journey. I warmed my body with movement. I made goofy faces. I sang. I danced. I rolled on the floor. I continued to share as I felt so incredibly loved in that space. I wanted to be myself and truly know that was completely okay and that desire was fulfilled.
When the session was over I was shaking and crying. The energy in the room, the love and acceptance in the room had awakened my soul. I gushed over her amazing work. I felt so connected to such an amazing purpose. She takes the broken and puts them together with just a camera and a little love.
I waited for the photos to come. I was anxious. I loved the process. But, would I look good in the photos? Too flawed? I received the photos and flipped through every single one. Taking a moment to pick apart each and everything I hated about my self. I cried forever. Then I remembered the process and I began to love them, each and every one of them–with my wrinkles, with all of my imperfections. She leads you to love yourself, appreciating everything that makes you perfectly unique. She is Natasha. And the journey is absolutely beautiful!
Photography by ABBP Regional Photographer Natasha Komonda. She is based in Seattle and is as passionate as Founder Jade Beall about helping women heal and find their self-worth. To learn more about Natasha and potentially book a shoot with her, click Femmeography.com