Theodora Portrait Design

The Power of Words: A Letting Go of the Pain

portrait photographyTerri Bleeker1 Comment

I heard myself telling Heather something to the effect of, "Oh! We could paint on you." And she was all for it. She called me with such an amazing, brave, and unique idea for a portrait session and I was hooked. We started with a list of words that had caused scars for Heather over the years. Word that, perhaps, have been hurled at you:

  • Liar
  • Bitch
  • Worthless
  • Failure
  • Stupid
  • Selfish Idiot
  • Piece of sh*!
  • Useless
  • Ungrateful
  • Foolish
  • Loser
  • Fat
  • Annoying
  • Pathetic
  • Jerk
  • Gullible
  • Naive
  • Coward
  • Moron
  • Obnoxious
  • Skank


Healing takes courage, and we all have courage, even if we have to dig a little to find it.
— Tori Amos

I was so humbled to be a part of Heather's healing and letting go. While I knew we could bring her vision to life together, I wanted her to share in her own words what these portraits mean to her.

What theses photos represent to me? Well let's start it out by saying I had a list of negative words written down so fast to use for the photo shoot. They were by far the easiest ones to write down and also the easiest ones to believe we're true about myself. You see I've spent most of my life being verbally abused and bullied that I had completely devalued myself and over time and almost lost who I was all together.

Whoever said sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me clearly has never been bullied or picked on. Words hurt and the open wounds they cause leave scars when healed. You have to be OK with looking at those scars and not see them as defeat, but just a part of your story and that you still have so much to complete.

I always wanted to make an impact on others and let people know they aren't alone. I'm hoping these reach those people and that you know you are better than this. These pictures go so deep for me. As we were getting the makeup on I sat and though about all my endless nights of crying and feeling like I never belonged or was never good enough. No one gets me and no one understands. How many good people I removed from my life in fear of being hurt again to the point I became a hermit multiple times. I see those negative words and honestly felt good in them as they had become a part of me. I was immune to them, except for those certain trigger words that could break my very being. Then all in that moment and those leading up to creating these images, I knew I had to sit with those words and then, after the shoot was done, let those words go as I AM more than that. I'm better than that.

These photos bare my heart. The pain isn't rehearsed it's me letting down my wall to see what I hide. It was the most eloquent way for me to let it all show and then release it from my life. Letting others know you are not alone. It's NEVER.....I repeat NEVER OK to look at these and think that being called or devalued by any of these words is OK. It is on the other hand more than OK if you look at these and somewhere, at some point, you can relate and know you aren't alone. I hope with you being able to relate you can also start to, or already have, seen that you are more than those negative words. You are a beautiful soul and no one should ever let you think differently.

Shine on as you were never born to be held back by others' insecurities or negativity. God made you and you were born to SHINE!