Tag Archives: Before

Becoming Real


Yes - that's me!
Yes – that’s me!Days and months slid by and I hit my two-year surgery anniversary date.  I’d been successfully at my goal weight for eighteen months.  I still didn’t like shopping for clothes and my feeling bristled less from weight loss compliments.  My wish of visiting Dorly’s studio still existed, yet fear continued to push making an appointment away from my conscience mind.

I followed Dorly’s work on Facebook.  Each portrait was better than the next.  I gaped at people who were already beautiful transforming into angelic creatures she captured with her camera.  I continued to avoid the camera as I struggled with my own body image.

I was revising a rough draft of a novel and posting comments about the work on Facebook.  I wrote, “I need to let these pages rest a few days before I contract a case of Edward Scissorhands.”

Dorly responded.  “I feel the same when I’m editing photos. “

I typed back.  “Editing – the work that is never completed.”

Dorly nudged me.  “You need to visit me at the studio.”

Then I realized – I was the work that didn’t feel completed.  I’d been waiting for

The Velveteen Rabbit, by Margery Williams
The Velveteen Rabbit, by Margery Williams

‘something else’ to happen.  I still felt stuck in the editing process.  I needed to find an ending so I could start at another beginning.

The Velveteen Rabbit was one of the first books I remember reading.  As an adult, I cherished my tattered and worn copy.  It was this particular quote that always brought me to tears.  I thought it was the rabbit becoming real that would get me so emotional, but after booking my consultation with Dorly, the book’s message took on an entirely new meaning.

The best line of the book is, “You can’t become Unreal again.  It lasts for always.”

I was Real before I lost the excess weight.  I loved myself back to a healthy weight with a lot of work.  Like the Rabbit, I’d taken a beating over a long time.  His fur was my weight.  His eyes falling out became my healing psyche.  I was ready to show my Real.

The Before

This is the “me” I am most familiar with.  The loud person in the room telling bawdy jokes and stories.

Jan 2016
The Before
July 2013


This is how I felt then... and even sometimes now
This is how I felt then… and even sometimes now

Back then, when I looked in the mirror…

But now, I look at the first picture and I see someone completely different.

This is a collection of stories of how it changed.


I met Dorly on a writing assignment in 2010.  Her serious photographer eyes scanned the room assessing the set up before I started the interviews.  After the introductions, we chatted for a few minutes.  “How do you want the ladies pictured?” she asked.

I answered with a non-committal shrug, “I’m not sure.  Let’s see where the story takes us.”  I could tell she was disappointed by my lack of direction, but my nature is to let the story unfold rather than pre-planning too many moves.

She chewed her lip trying to assess the situation.  “Do you want me to pose the ladies for a waist up shot?”

I tried to explain my approach.  “I typically work with picture books.  In that world, I create the words and the illustrator completes the art independent of my input.”  I motioned to the nervous ladies waiting to be interviewed.  “Find their expressions as the story unfolds and that is where the art begins.”

While I gently waded through the interviews of heartfelt stories, Dorly moved effortlessly in the background.  The two of us worked in tandem digging to the heart of the emotions without saying a word to each other.  It was a great assignment.

Over the next year, I’d find Dorly and her camera at events around town.  I’d ask “What stories are you telling?”

She’d revert to her current projects of whom, what or when or where.  Dorly’s artistic story telling through photography was evolving to a sophisticated level, so it didn’t surprise me when she told me about her new portrait studio, Goldenlight Creative.

“It’s a place where I can bring out the best in my clients and empower them through their own image,” she explained.

That day, I promised myself that I would have my portrait captured by Dorly.

I had life altering changes on the verizon and the present seemed like a nuisance – not worthy of any special consideration.  I didn’t realize that marking the transition would be so important.

May 2011
May 2011

In retrospect, I so wish I’d let Dorly capture me Before.