TRP: Who are you today?
Today, I am more complete. I’ve always felt comfortable with who I am on the inside, and not at all comfortable with who I am on the outside. TRP helped me understand that I am both (inside and outside – the view that the world sees) – and it is empowering and freeing to accept both as the true me.
TRP: What are the biggest challenge’s that have faced you as a woman?
As a woman my biggest challenges have been:
- Balancing professional life with personal life, and having any time left over for me.
- Accepting that some women can love, support, and bring the beauty and strength out of others – while many women can look for vulnerabilities and wait to pounce on others.
- Being the bread winner in the family and still juggle the responsibilities of the “wife” and “mom” roles.
Working full-time and juggling two part-time jobs, plus three boys in sports – it has been tough at times to see straight. I’ve accepted that my house will normally not be clean and we may eat a lot of pizza. I understand that one day my house will be beautifully clean and too quiet.
Years ago in a job in RI and again in 2012, I witnessed women turning against other women in very ugly ways. It was disturbing to see how women can take their own insecurities or ego issues and completely try to annihilate another woman. The challenge for me has been to recognize the importance of my role as a leader, and the importance of creating a space where all women feel that they are on the same team.
My mother shared a Newsweek article with me (maybe a year or two ago) that said something like 1 in 3 professional women are juggling high level careers and have not been able to decrease the responsibilities from previous generations – women roles were to cook, clean, and be barefoot & pregnant. I know not to take it personal… Most of my friends are struggling with working and raising their children. I’ve realized even though it feels like I’m in survival mode most of the time – I need to make sure I am enjoying special life moments too.
TRP: What are some of the issues that you think are important to explore as it relates to being a woman?
Well, I hope they find that women juggling many roles in this generation don’t get Alzheimer’s because we have been forced to use every square inch of our brains…
TRP: What frightens you?
Where the world is going frightens me – screwed up teens that plot to kill kids in school, wars, pollution, global warming. I don’t know if we are going forward or backwards.
TRP: What is your “Life Purpose?”
My “Life Purpose” is just like everyone else’s life purpose: to learn who I truly am, and the depths of love I can give and receive.
TRP: How do you keep yourself inspired by life?
- Walks in nature with my dog – as often as possible
- Anything spiritual – when I do a reading with someone I don’t know and their relatives come through with strong messages for them, or I receive a message from animals, my dreams, or a person at the exact moment I need it.
- My gospel choir.
- Humanity and inspiration stories – in the news, on Facebook…
TRP: Have you ever hit rock bottom? Please tell us about it?
Yes many times – honestly I feel like I’m 90 years old with the life lessons I’ve had. As an adult I’ve had several “rock bottom” experiences:
- In 2002 my husband and I learned that my stepson was a kleptomaniac, had sexually abused both of our boys, and had made several attempts to kill my oldest son – it was a horrific and devastating time.
- Soon after we learned that the local factory was poisoning the neighborhood and most people had someone with cancer or learning disabilities in their family.
- Shortly after that incident board members from my RI job (knowing all we were going through personally) rallied behind my back (they were furious that I proposed adding a man to the all-female board), and made sure I lost/left my job.
TRP: What did it teach you?
My sons and I wrote a book about what happened to them, how to trust your instincts, understand perpetrators and how to prevent sexual abuse. With the factory situation, I learned a ton about volatile organic compounds and semi volatile organic compounds, water and air testing, and how to fight an environmental battle (the factory closed, and the state got sued). And with the RI job situation, I learned a lot about boards, how to watch for sneaky board members, and how to win personal lawsuits.
TRP: Is there anything in particular that made you feel like being part of the Revelation Project was a good idea right now?
A. I was ready! It was perfect timing for me in my life! Before, I was a little too self-conscious.
About the shoot:
TRP: What did you think about the approach of the upcoming photo shoot (before you got there) and what were the results you were hoping for?
The approach was excellent! Warm, welcoming, fun… I was really hoping I would like at least one of the pictures. I was also hoping to learn something about me…
TRP: How did you feel during the shoot, and was there anything in particular that made you feel more or less relaxed and open to the process?
During the photo shoot I was a nervous wreck. Originally the shoot was planned the week before but then we had to cancel due to snow. By the next week I was nervous my hair color had already disappeared. I also realized as I was there that my eyebrows were not plucked, my nails were not taken care of, and my hands had wrinkly dry skin… I was nervous I was ruining the process…
TRP: Use three words to describe the way you felt before we shot:
Nervous, self-conscious, doubting
TRP: Three words for after:
Relieved, peaceful, emotionally-fulfilled
TRP: Three words for when you saw the results:
Excited, happy, interested (My 3 words for now – since I saw the photos for a few months – thrilled, empowered, satisfied)
TRP: After you left, but before you saw the results, what were the thoughts you were having about your experience? What were some of the things you thought about on the drive home?
Well I had a nice ride home with Andrea – so it was great to have time with just us. I felt emotionally fulfilled – all the tension, worrying, anxiety all was gone. I was not so much worried about the photos – I just hoped something was captured.
TRP: When you saw the results what was your first impression?
I think my very first reaction was shock. There were some pictures that I thought “that is not me” or “I don’t know if I like that one”. But after a few minutes I could hear myself saying “HEY! THAT IS ME!” And I was proud to say it!
Q. What was some of the feedback you received from those who saw your photographs?
Never in my life have I heard the reactions I’ve gotten from people about my TRP photos: “beautiful”, “amazing”, “sexy momma”, “that’s my favorite picture of you”.
TODAY I picked up my son from school and two moms commented about my TRP pictures on Facebook. One of the moms was in complete awe. She has her own photography business and said she could never take pictures like that (something about capturing their spirit or emotions – can’t remember). The other mom asked questions about TRP and said she loved all the photos – her son leaned to her and whispered “Janek’s mom is a model!”
TRP: How did this feedback make you feel?
OMG! I never thought of myself as pretty or sexy, or intriguing/interesting. So to hear these words about ME was foreign – but I loved it and continue loving getting comments like that! Every few days I slip another picture in as my Facebook profile and it has been so wonderful to read the comments.
TRP: Did you learn anything new about yourself from the experience?
YES! I’ve learned a ton of new things about myself from TRP! To connect the inside me with the outside me has been a phenomenal experience! I learned to welcome pictures of me as an opportunity, and I learned I look damned good!
TRP: Do you feel empowered?
I completely feel empowered! My husband has thought I’ve lost my mind a few times because every once in a while when he pops into my home office he sees me looking at pictures of myself – and he’s made the comment a few times that I’m “in love with” myself.
TRP: Since the shoot happened, what is the lasting impact of your experience? Has it altered the way you view yourself or your surroundings?
The lasting impact I have had is – Man I was mean to myself! I’ve always had a self-destroying voice that would tell myself I was too fat, ugly, muppet looking… Now I don’t hear that voice anymore! I feel positive about myself and my looks!
TRP: Do you think this was an important and valuable experience for yourself?
TRP was a life changing experience for me! I am completely grateful to the 3 of you for your intention, vision, and work. You are helping women on so many levels!
TRP: Do you think it’s relevant for other women, and if so why?
YES! Our society constantly bombards women with bizarre and unattainable expectations. We are supposed to be perfect for everyone else but ourselves. It is awful! TRP instantly takes away those messages and helps a woman see herself as who she truly is – a beautiful human being.
TRP: How will you use the photos moving forward; professionally, personally, as gifts?
On Facebook and on my website.
TRP: What is your favorite song and why?
I can’t say I have a favorite song. Really I like anything gospel, soul music from the 70’s, Spanish, or Cape Verdean
TRP: Which was your most favorite photo out of your Revelation Shoot?
Well at first I would say I had a favorite – now weeks later I love ALL of the photos! I think I could narrow it down to my top 5. Keep in mind – this is coming from a woman who personally stuck her tongue out and crossed her eyes for every picture because I thought I usually ruined each picture with my looks – so I might as well make it funny instead!!! Awful thinking in the past!!!
TRP: If you could sum up the experience what would you say?
TRP is an invaluable opportunity to work with and trust 3 extremely talented women – who are helping each woman show the world her inner and outer beauty. TRP knows how to turn every woman into the model she already is!
I can now say I’m a model without having to starve myself or twist my ankles using tight skirts and high heeled shoes!