Meet Shawna Smith! This is a woman who has a story that will leave you changed for the better.
Shawna emailed me her story of what happened before her first paid shoot. As I read her story, I sat and cried. This is one of the most beautiful, moving testimonies I’ve ever heard. Even though her story is incredibly vulnerable, I asked if we could share it on the blog with all of you. Shawna’s response was immediate and empowering, “You’re right, it is a very personal to share that you can no longer afford your car, but how many women are having to short sell their homes right now? That is something very public, no matter how personal it feels. I think by sharing my story, women will feel less alone about the economy. I’m happy to share it.”
With that said, this is what happened the day Shawna had her first paid shoot;
“You probably don’t remember so far back, late in 2008, I wrote in for the Running on Empty contest for your Seattle workshop. Another woman couldn’t make it, so you contacted me, and although I cleared my schedule, I couldn’t leave my daughter for that many hours a day – she was exclusively nursed. I totally understood but it broke my heart to have to pass up such an opportunity. Little did I know then how empty I could get – my husband was laid off from Starbucks in Feb 2009, applied to a million places, found nothing, and decided to try his hand in insurance-the only opportunity that had responded. Eight months later and no paycheck, we realized it was not going to work. So we’re both working part time right now doing all we can to sorta make ends meet.”
Shawna went on to tell me that she had booked her first paid shoot. But found out that their car was going to be repossessed during the night. She was out in the driveway emptying the contents of her car onto the grass, and “all I could think was, “Now what are we going to do?! And then all week your family was sick with Dengue jungle fever, and all I could think was “we have it so easy. it’s just money, it’s just a car – we have our health and each other and that is plenty”. Isn’t it funny how inspired we are by one another?”
Shawna felt tempted to back out of her first paid shoot because of the car situation. I mean ladies, can you imagine all the voices she must have been dealing with!?! This is why her story makes me cry. I know what it’s like to step out and try something new, something that I’m passionate about. It takes every bit of confidence you can muster up. But then to have your car towed away, and not have a way to drive yourself to your first shoot. We all either remember how scary our first paid shoot was, or dread what those feelings will be when that day comes, let Shawna’s determination lift you up today.
“My dream seemed so very far away and impossible with financial obstacles in the way. But I sucked it up, turned to a good friend and borrowed her car (and determination) to make the shoot happen, and honestly I felt confident in her car, it even had AXA car insurance covering it. She reminded me that as I start my business, all I have is my reputation, so she wanted to make sure I got to the shoot to keep my word. And then, she lent me her car. It was a wonderful experience. And I’m so glad I got to be there.”
Look at what Shawna captured!
“I’m sure I am not the only one going through financial stress right now. And, we have to hold together. I really owe it to my friend who talked me down when I was too stressed to think clearly. I am so grateful to have friends like that here.”
If you are reading this post today and experiencing similar challenges, I hope you feel recognized, validated, comforted and a little less alone. We really do need each other when storms come our way. And even though we can’t see one another face to face on this blog, I hope you know that you have a safe, loving community here who believes in your dreams–no matter how fragile they feel or how many obstacles are in front of you.
Thank you Shawna for being so vulnerable and sharing so much today!
I invited Shawna to continue the conversation with us. Tomorrow we’ll share her thoughts to the Amazing Mom interview we did. She’s got some wonderful tips and insight to share with all of you. So come join us tomorrow.
Today, may your determination feel a little stronger, may you feel surrounded by a community who believes in you, and may you feel a little braver to try those wings out.