The blogs about women were long. Real long.

For the sake of none of these women’s honest, heartfelt words and loving messages from their friends and family going unseen, I’m going to be posting each in a single blog every couple of days or so until I am able to finally get the teen session executed and up to share. So that you can take just five minutes and read one woman’s “story” and maybe find comfort in the way you can relate/understand/empathize/etc.

They will be in no particular order…drawing numbers 1-18.
Tonight’s number: #14.

I give you Rachel.

rachel’s words –

“So. The word “insecurity,” to me, is a complex thing. When I think of an insecurity–because I overthink EVERYTHING (which I suppose would be my number one insecurity)–it leads me to question what the underlying fear is. As in, “I’m insecure of my stomach because it always looks like I’m five months pregnant,” leads me to, “what is it about having a big belly that scares me?” Usually, the answer is, if I don’t fit into the “ideal” body size, then it will be difficult to “look” successful: ie. be able to purchase clothes that express how sassy I really feel without looking trashy, and generally not be able to feel comfortable in my own skin when surrounded by people that I feel are judging me. Also, there are other associations with “a big-bellied girl” that maybe I internalize a bit too much. Like, it means that I drink too much, or am lazy (which both happen to be true, but I know that’s not always the case with others that might look like me). On the flip side of this, my insecurity is one of the things that led me to leave the cosmetics industry. Frankly, I was fucking sick of feeling disected every goddamn day of my life.

My second insecurity (so, the first one is belly…I hope this is making sense…) and probably my biggest, is that I will inevitably offend someone that I admire or respect (friends, aquaintences, Joe, family, etc..). Like, if someone knows me long enough, then they’re going to eventually unveil the crazy town going on in my head and they will run screaming for the hills. Usually this surfaces in my writing or just plain ol’ conversations with people.
Seriously, typing it out even feels crazy.
I’m not sure if that even counts as an insecuity..sorry. See, I told you this felt complex.

Lastly, I’m insecure about my “accomplishments.” I always have a little voice in the back of my head that is telling me that I don’t deserve (insert accomplishment: like a good grade, a promotion, or a decent marriage) and it’s really because of strange coincidences that my life has turned out the way that it has, rather than any hard work or genuine talent on my part. Maybe it’s a mechanism that keeps me from getting too attached to the good stuff…I dunno.

And there you have it. You now know more about me than 95% of anyone I know. 🙂 “

rachel’s friends and family:

“Many things make up the Rachel I know. A few traits I deeply love are: 1. Her intelligence. 
2. Her witty, yet sometimes snarky humor. 
3. (This may sound weird)… but, her awareness of herself and the world. 
4. She is steadfast. Resolute. I respect that quality immensely. 
5. Not sure if this counts, but as analytical as she is (like me) she is also a bit of a dreamer, and that combo is rare and pretty damn radical!” – brooke

“I love Rachel! She is someone who thinks deeply about life and desires meaning and truth in this crazy rat race, not only for herself, but also for other people. She challenges me to think beyond my perceptions and into places I haven’t gone. She is loyal, creative, and an amazing writer! Her voice is unique and articulate. Rachel is so beautiful too. Her facial features are stunning…. and she has a nice ass! 
Rachel has loved me and been such a faithful friend over the years. I hope she knows how much she has been a model of strength and honestly seeking something better in life. She is a loving and sacrificial mom, too. You are an inspiration, Rachel, and I love you!” – sayde

“Hey Alana, haha – as much as my sister and I make fun of each other and can be pretty bratty, she has so many positive traits. I think the biggest one has always been her ability to take care of you. When we were younger it meant being a nag or always needing to fix boyfriends, but as we have gotten older it has become much more appreciated. When I was pregnant she was so helpful. If I ever had questions or concerns she was there. If I was too tired to cook she always fed me. She is an amazing beautiful person and I am sure you will have tons of great traits to write/photograph about. Let me know if you need anything else!” 
- madeline

“Rachel is one of the strongest, most intelligent women I know. She is passionate about whatever it is she is doing and applies herself deeply into her interests; whether it was makeup artistry, anthropology, or currently – writing, the labor movement, and women’s studies. I am always excited to see her eyes light up when she gets excited about what she is doing and learning. She has an unquenchable thirst for knowledge and seeks out truths and facts in everything she does.
She is incredibly strong and doesn’t take shit from anyone. She speaks up when others are treated unjustly and is never afraid to be honest with someone, even if that honesty isn’t what that person wants to hear.
Rachel has become more beautiful as time has gone on. I don’t care what she says about her own body image. I watched her give birth to our daughter and son and NOTHING is more beautiful than that. She is the mother of our children and she is sexier than ever.” – joe

“There are so many amazing things I can say about Rachel…..
I will never ever forget the first time I ever spoke to Rachel; I was working in the hosiery department at Nordstrom, selling socks and pantyhose. We were going up the escalator at the same exact time and we had said hi to each other. I asked her if she was the MAC manager, she said yes, and I told her that it was basically my dream to work at MAC, kinda like a psycho…. she told me that she was hiring and to bring over my resume to her and the department manager. Rachel hired me, and I thought it was my dream job…. except for one thing… I thought my manager (Rachel) hated me…. Now that I know her, her telling me that I looked like I worked for Bobbi Brown and that I should cut off my hair was actually her wanting to make me step out of my comfort zone…. She then started promoting me, and pushing me to always work hard. Although work Rachel is very different from friend Rachel, I love them both the same because I have learned so much from both…
At work Rachel always worked hard, and she was always fair…. I have worked with many different managers and Rachel will always be the one that has made the biggest impact in my life. When Rachel went on maternity leave to have Henry, I was made the interim assistant and when she got back, the position at another store opened up and she immediately pushed me to go for it… she coached me through the whole interview process and was always positive. When I left, I told her that I wished I could just work under her forever. While managing I got to develop a friendship with her… and when I became pregnant…. I got terrified… and I knew I had to leave my management position and work for Rachel again… I knew that no one else would understand how hard it is to work and be pregnant…. and sure enough no questions asked, when I called her and asked her to take me back, she did…. When I was interviewing for another job, one of the questions was, name a manager whose qualities you admire, and I of course named Rachel… and still to this day, when people ask me how to do something, I start off with well Rachel taught me this way so this is the right way.
Friend Rachel is just as amazing…. she has so many qualities that I admire… As I was pregnant and event after I had my son, I’m still finding myself think of what would Rachel do… other than my mom, she is the best mom I know…. she always puts her family first… and never does anything that would make anyone think otherwise… August and Henry are so lucky to have such a strong woman as their mommy…
The most admirable quality that Rachel has is her ability to always stand up for what is right… When working for her, Rachel always had our teams back… no matter what she always stuck up for us even if she got the blame…. As a friend, Rachel will always tell me like it is and never sugarcoat anything…. She also stands up for what she believes in and is open to everyone no matter what their thoughts or beliefs are…..
Rachel is truly an inspiration to all women…. her ability to manage a household… have a happy marriage… take care of two children…go to school full time… and still work…. is mind blowing… and I can never thank her enough for believing in me and always giving me inspirational words in my time of need and I know only great things are yet to come with her and her family because she deserves everything great in life.” – vena

the original blogs (with backstory) can be found here:

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