I met Brooke through Facebook, after she put out an ad for a photographer to help her with a unique “Aphrodite” shoot. A complete stranger to me, Brooke had recently moved across the country. She was new to the Seattle area, knowing no one here except for her husband, and was searching for a way to embrace her new life. She chose me from among about 30 or so photographers who responded to her Facebook ad, mostly because she felt an immediate connection between the two of us, as did I.
Upon first meeting Brooke for our pre-shoot consult, I saw a lovely vibrant young woman.
I was surprised to discover that she was not always this way, and had a more difficult past that she was currently climbing out of and recovering from.
She told a story of an illness that sent her to bed sick for nearly two years of her young adult life. Not just mildly ill, but bed ridden and housebound, she tried to make sense of her mystery illness that no doctor could seem to cure or diagnose. When Western medicine failed to help her, Brooke turned to Eastern medicine and nutrition to experiment with new ways of healing her body. Nothing worked.
Brooke eventually came to understand that her illness was more than just physical, but was a sickness of the soul. She had just quit a high stress corporate job in South Carolina and at the same time came to the understanding that she had not been true to herself for years. She had to undergo the difficult process of releasing an oppressive past of a Christian fundamentalist’s upbringing, which was full of criticism and disrespect of the feminine nature. A fish out of water in her family, Brooke was steeped in rhetoric that defined how woman should behave in society- in relationships and at work.. It was a definition which conflicted with how Brooke defined herself. After undergoing this revelation, Brooke began to heal, both physically and emotionally.
With a chance to start over in Seattle, she disconnected from her family’s disapproval and now lives her life on her terms, in pursuit of an understanding of her newly awakened feminist tendencies. I see her strength of character growing, even in the few short months that we’ve formed a friendship. She is proud of her femininity and now celebrates it.
Brooke is bravely bringing to light the power and beauty of the sacred feminine that exists even within our patriarchal society.
While she shares her journey with some, she does not feel obliged to explain herself to others from her past. Instead Brooke focuses on the present and future and what it holds for her new life here in Seattle. Increasingly secure in her new path, she feels drawn towards modeling, ballet, and volunteer work helping a nonprofit that supports women’s and LGBTQ rights. While still searching for her place in the realm of the divine feminine, she is becoming more aware of her path and now defines herself as a writer, poet and spiritual seeker.
In her shoot, Brooke poses as an Aphrodite in the beautiful nature of the Pacific Northwest woods. She is at home here, healthy and thriving once again. Her journey continues to move forward as she strives to grow her definition and understanding of the sacred feminine in herself and her world.