Do you ever compare yourself to other women?
Do you ever think you’re not good enough?
That you’re not smart enough, talented enough or pretty enough?
I felt that way for a long time. I suffered from low self-esteem since I was a tween. I was a happy child, but deep down, I never thought I was as talented, as smart or as pretty as other girls. My husband always told me I was beautiful, but I never believed him. And when I became a mother, I started to feel insecure around other mothers.
Thankfully, two years ago, I discovered The Revelation Project, a professional social media and photography experience. It was so inspiring, it actually changed my life and my whole perspective. It helped me rediscover myself and claim a sense of confidence that was “missing” inside of me for way too long. Before releasing my book in 2012, I decided to “try” The Revelation Project (TRP). This single experience based in Kingston, RI that explores the inner and outer world of women through professional photography sessions, interviews and social media, rocked my world and changed my outlook forever.
When I first heard about The Revelation Project, I never knew how much it would lift me up and help me face my fears. Not long after this photograph was taken, I released my book and began a new path as an author, speaker and blogger. And I have never looked back. Being a part of something where women pull each another other up rather than put each other down inspires me every day. I stay in touch with these women through a private online board, intimate gatherings, events and a new interactive, photo-journaling workshop.
After seeing my TRP photographs online, many friends and family members across the country asked how they too could be a part of The Revelation Project. Not everyone can fly out to Rhode Island to be photographed. But for loved ones 300 to 3,000 miles away, there finally is a way for them to be a part of this amazing sisterhood. This year, The Revelation Project celebrates the launch of Reveal 365, an inspiring new digital photo-journaling collaboration with Providence, RI-based ShutterCal. This is beyond a digital photo-journaling workshop, it’s an experience for women to help them rediscover their most authentic selves.
Reveal 365 brings the inspiration of TRP to women everywhere through a 365-day digital photo journaling experience that’s unlike any workshop you’ve ever taken. Using technology created by BetaSpring company, ShutterCal, Reveal 365 guides members through a year-long digital journey of self-discovery through photographs, life-coach prompts, discussions, and revelations that challenge them to document and share their passions, inspirations, thoughts, doubts, fears and most cherished moments. A member’s journey is captured in a signature ShutterCal customized keepsake box filled with printed angel Reveal 365 photo cards. Learn how to re-discover yourself and connect with inspiring women in a private online community through Reveal365. http://www.therevelationproject.me/begin-your-digital-trp-journey-with-reveal365/
Monica Rodgers, Kim Fuller and Andrea Willets are the incredible women behind TRP. The following article is from my interview with Monica Rodgers, a Kingston, RI resident and the co-founder of The Revelation Project, for her TLC Parentables column.
I spent the better part of my childhood struggling with something that most females face at some point: low self-esteem, negativity, and criticism. I think I started comparing myself to other women the moment I noticed that Marsha Brady had long hair and I didn't (let’s just say I had a Dorothy Hamill haircut in the second grade and that it made me look more like a gawky boy than a graceful Olympic figure skater.)
I really think that this issue has far reaching negative effects and is seen in women everywhere today. It has plagued me (as stated above) and made me afraid up until now, to be the person I know I am capable of being. As women and as moms we need to stop comparing ourselves to others and simply celebrate each other. We all have talents, differences, and dreams. I'd like to see more women laugh at their mistakes instead of picking on themselves and others due to negativity, jealousy or insecurity. It is a huge waste of time, and energy. There is so much that we can learn from other women if we just let go and open our minds already.
I was attracted to The Revelation Project because I'd seen the images of someone I know on Facebook. I was curious by what I saw. You could see in her eyes that something was different and I wanted whatever it was she had! For the first time in my life I wanted to claim myself in a bigger way. I wanted to look into the eyes of the camera and say "Here I am- It may have taken me a while to get here and own who I am mistakes and all- but I'm here." So, as my 40th birthday gift to myself, I stopped adding to the bucket list and started doing the things that have really called to me. The Revelation Project was one of those experiences that I immediately resonated with, and signed myself up for. What would they capture in those cameras that I had not already seen? I was so curious, and wildly nervous, but signed myself up anyway.
The most encouraging thing I felt was complete acceptance and safe space- within the first few minutes of meeting the women behind it. In other words, here I was wheeling in a huge suitcase full of clothes (wardrobe challenges!) and as I noticed those old thoughts thinking "these women will think I'm some kind of diva!" I immediately realized that there was absolutely no judgement in any of them. I felt an immediate sense of connection and warmth. After we chatted for a little while, they suggested a meditation which had an amazing grounding effect on everyone. Then of course they started the hair and make-up- and I felt like a relaxed rock-star... is that even possible? I guess the point is that no matter how lovely and primped they made me look on the outside- I had a lovely calm on the inside, and it truly came through in the photographs.
The session was intense and amazing, and wow! It's hard to be in front of the camera for so long because there's no place to hide! When I left I was on a natural high that lasted, and continues to last and then... when the photos were uploaded a couple weeks later- I was utterly speechless.
Because a big piece of the project is social media - I really wondered how it would feel to relinquish control and how I would feel when my photos were uploaded on facebook for all to see- but, I knew based on those women who had gone before me, that I was in good hands with the women who would edit and choose the shots they thought most represented my authentic self.
The photographs really captured who I am inside. The fun loving happy me, the pensive serious me, the let's go out and have a good time me, the diva, and everything in between. The most important thing captured however, is that the woman in the photographs was 100% present and accounted for. The look in my eyes said it all.
The comments I received from friends and family was amazing, but the most amazing thing I realized is that the woman they'd always loved, supported, and complimented all these years was the woman in the photograph who I was now celebrating right along side them. I was truly allowing myself to FEEL self love, confidence, and peace. I realized that day that if I can shut out the noise and negativity and my fear of being judged that I could actually access a deeper sense of joy, self discovery, and self acceptance.
Three months after the experience I published my very first book. As a mother of two, wife, blogger and publicist- I had decided to declare myself a writer and began book development some time ago. When it hit the market I realized simultaneously that all my fears about truly putting myself out there were gone. I'd been asking permission from those around me all this time - as if they hold the key to making me feel like I am "good enough" to succeed, to excel, to shine. My biggest revelation yet was that the only one I'd ever really needed permission from all along was me.