Every woman that walks through the front door for the Revelation Project presents a new challenge and kicks in a spot of anxiety for me at the beginning. Each brings her own combination of anticipation, expectation, hope, and excitement along with a lifetime of experiences that have made her uniquely her. When Meredith walked in my usual pre-shoot anxiety went into overdrive because she was so clearly uncomfortable at first and out of her element, however, I also felt the clearest and purest desire coming form her that seemed to say: ”HEY, I”M READY!” In addition the pressure went deeper as it was Meredith’s birthday, and she had given herself the gift of The Revelation Project *sniff*
The challenge of photographing each individual woman is that Robyn and I do not always know *who* is walking through the door (although Meredith and Robyn were friends in high school!) or what they are carrying inside so part of the sesssion is about the un-veiling and revealing of them to US, and then part is about revealing themselves to THEMSELVES ( isn’t that cool?)
Meredith’s body language communicated that she was taking a great risk by coming to share herself with us and be willing to look at herself anew. But she was also clearly up for the challenge, and welcomed a fresh perspective. Meredith’s shoot validated for me that the more a woman seeks transformation the more she can be transformed. She did not in any way look or project the same woman who had walked in at the beginning. It was March so “In like a lion and out like a lamb”,… yeah, that was Meredith. Happy Birthday Girl!
Here is her interview:
TRP: Would you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Meredith: I am a 37-seven year old single woman. I am a compassionate human being, avid indoor gardener, cat petter, art admirer, and bug saver (not squisher). I have an open heart and cry easily.
TRP: Are you a mom?
Meredith: Yes, to the most incredible four-year old boy, who is my sunshine.
TRP: What is the biggest challenge that’s ever faced you as a woman?
Meredith: My life was progressing as I always thought it would: college, world travel, serious relationship that led to marriage, thoughts of home ownership, and a baby. In my mid thirties, everything changed and I found myself back at square one. My biggest challenge is to find the direction that I want to go in, but now as a single parent with a child to raise.
TRP: What are some of the issues that you think are important to explore as it relates to our gender?
Meredith: There is an image of perfection that many women feel they need to measure up to and feel less worthy if they can’t meet that unrealistic image. Women will sometimes judge each other on surface issues based on what they see rather than what they know, leading to isolation rather than being supportive of each other.
TRP: What’s your idea of a great “girls night?”
Meredith: Any gathering of women with no children in tow, and a great glass of wine.
TRP: Is there anything in particular that made you feel like being part of the Revelation Project was a good idea right now?
Meredith: After viewing photos of the first few women in the project, I could see the joy and happiness that was brought out from the women in their pictures. I needed help finding that joy and happiness within myself that has been buried for a good long while.
TRP: What did you think about the approach of the upcoming photo shoot (before you got there) and what were the results you were expecting?
Meredith: I was extremely excited about what I would find inside of me, but being the center of attention terrified me. I was hoping that I would be able to see the same light inside of me as I had seen in the other women.
TRP: How did you feel during the shoot and was there anything in particular that made you feel more or less relaxed or open to the process?
Meredith: Initially I was unable to relax. The utter acceptance and non-judgmental support I received from Robyn and Monica, along with their hilarious banter and down to earth approach allowed me to completely open up to the experience.
TRP: Can you describe in three words the way you felt before we shot
Meredith: Nervous, excited, anticipatory.
TRP: Three words for after
Meredith: Joy, acceptance, anticipatory
TRP: Three words for when you saw the results
Meredith: Insight, happiness, completion
TRP: After you left but before you saw the results – did you have any thoughts about the experience? What were some of the things you thought about on the drive home?
Meredith: I felt worthy of the attention and love that I received and a strong sense of connection to women as equals. I could hardly wait to see the results.
TRP: When you saw the results can you tell me your first impression?
Meredith: I saw that there was still a lot of happiness inside of me. I realized that I am not a size two, that I have developed wrinkles, that I have a much wider smile than I knew. And I felt beautiful that I am not a size two, that I have developed wrinkles, and that I have a much wider smile than I knew!
TRP: Can you talk about the feedback you received from those who saw your photographs?
Meredith: A good friend said, “Now you can see yourself as I see you”. Another said it was nice to see me smiling so much. There were also a lot of compliments and praise for the beautiful photos.
TRP: What are some words you would use to describe how you were feeling throughout the shoot?
Meredith: It was a cathartic experience that allowed deep emotion to come to the surface. I felt comfortable in my own skin, accepting myself just as I was internally and externally.
TRP: Did you learn anything new about yourself from the experience?
Meredith: I am not alone; I am not abnormal; I am not a “messed up person” for the challenges that I have faced in my life. I realize that I like myself and I have the right to what I need and want.
TRP: Did you feel empowered? Why? Why not?
Meredith: Yes. I know that I am good enough today, right now.
TRP: Since the shoot happened almost four weeks ago now can you talk about the lasting impact of the experience? Has it altered the way you view yourself or your surroundings?
Meredith: The insight I have gained about myself has not left me. What I realize is the importance of connecting with other women.
TRP: Do you think this was an important/valuable experience for yourself? Why?
Meredith: This was am important experience for me because without it, I don’t know how I would have discovered these revelations on my own.
TRP: Do you think it’s relevant for other women? Why?
Meredith: This is an incredibly important way for all women to empower themselves, accept themselves and find their own beauty, inside and out.
TRP: How would you use the photos moving forward? Professionally? Personally? As gifts?
Meredith: They will be used possibly as gifts, but mostly as reminders of my own self worth.
TRP: What is your favorite song and why?
Meredith: Lately, “Thank U” by Alannis Morrisette, now I know why…
TRP: If you could sum up the experience what would you say?
TRP: If someone were on the fence about doing it is there anything you would tell them about the experience or say to encourage them?
Meredith: I would totally tell them to do it because we all need to be reminded how beautiful we are, how strong we are, how worthy we are and that we are perfect exactly as we are. This experience illuminates these things and allows you to see this same light in the women around you.