lady loves

lady love blog series

in the work i have been doing over the last couple of years, i see women marginalizing themselves in a myriad of ways. i see women feeling intimidated and unworthy and never, ever enough. and i see that so many of us have lost touch with the very important fact that we are each unique and powerful; that those things that come so innately, so naturally to each of us are truly our gifts, blessings, and offerings.

and so my great, big, from the bottom of my heart, hope with this project is that it will create an open and honest conversation about who we are as women; not just a glossy look at the five minutes of our day that went according to plan, not just us presenting who we think the world expects to see, but a real and authentic glimpse into how hard we all work and how we don't always get it right but how unique and beautiful and perfectly imperfect we all are regardless.

most of you know that my life has been profoundly shaped by my "failures" and i want to continue to push that envelope; for all of you to be able to share and witness the honesty and authenticity of other women and know that you are not alone and that we all stumble.

and, most importantly, to all of my lady loves, your depths and your beauty shake me to my very bones. i bow in reverence to the beauty that you are and to the audacious heart that you embody.

my very first lady love is sharon covert.

i "met" sharon through an online course last January and have continued to witness her beauty through her stunning photos on instagram.

still, when i opened her reply to my questionnaire it was like being punched in the heart. i'm not even kidding. i could just feel her in her words and images; her beauty, her rawness, her her-ness. 

when it comes to sharon i just keep coming back to the word beauty. 

she creates beauty. she captures beauty. she is here to leave beauty in her wake.

i am so delighted to share a glimpse of her here today.

tell me a bit about who you are? what do you do?

i am a 39 year old mother of 2, and an artist.

no, but really, beyond the title, what do you do?

beyond the title of being a mother and photographer and doing everything that they entail, i dedicate time to myself each day to discovering who i am as a person and accepting that it’s okay to do that. i have multitasking in my own chaotic way down to a science and have come to accept that taking the time to reflect upon and answer these questions is perfectly okay. the world won’t end if i don’t answer that phone call right now or fold the clothes that have piled up on the end of my daughter’s bed.

when you look around at your life, is this what you expected? are you surprised by it? if so, by what and why?

there are many things i did not expect in life, but really when you think about it… that’s life. i’ve only recently learned to let go of the things i have no control over and to embrace the things i can do. it’s a learning process!

what would most people be surprised to find out about you? 

up until a few years ago i was a piano teacher. i was classically trained and sadly it seems more and more these days classical music is a dying art. most children prefer to learn pop and rock music now. i thoroughly enjoyed working with children and watching them grow through music. i have a love/hate relationship with my piano and music. i can leave it for months at a time and then just like that i’ll be at it every free moment i can. about a little over a year ago i had a treble clef tattooed on my right wrist, a bass clef on my left and  piano keys on my left forearm. music will always be a part of me, but it was never something i wanted to share with others. i played for myself. it has always been personal.

one more personal thing that only the smallest handful of people know about me is i've come to love classical and flamenco guitar. many early mornings you can hear paco de lucia, christopher parkening, or andrew york softly playing while i sip my morning tea. there is something so alluring and enticing about flamenco music. i'm very thankful for being introduced to it.

what has been the peak experience{s} in your life thus far? why? how did it change you?

being a mother has definitely changed me to the core. realizing the differences between my son (almost 17yrs) and daughter (8yrs) and that they each require a different set of parenting skills and techniques is challenging. what works for one does not for the other. they are completely unique and individual.

traveling to vietnam and adopting my daughter in 2007 was most definitely life altering. i’m not sure there’s anything in the world that could prepare you enough for an experience like that.

as a mother i have suffered loss in various ways over the last 11 years of my life, and it wasn’t until 2012 that i realized i had essentially lost myself in the process. 2012 was an eye opening year and i have continued on the path to my true self ever since coming to the realization that i can be both a mother and myself at the same time without having to choose one over the other.

what are you passionate about? curious about?

i am passionate about creating art to express myself and my inner most feelings. photography has become so much more than documenting life. it’s a way for me to tell you, the viewer, how i feel. it’s a way for me to show you what i see in others as well. i’ve been awakened to so much beauty in the simplest forms all around me. i see it even in the darkest of places. the shadows hold the most beautiful stories.

i’m definitely curious as to where this photography journey is taking me. i never thought it would involve art journals and painting, poems and love letters, nature and self portraits. if you asked me 7 years ago when i set out to become a photographer where i thought i would be today the answer would be taking portraits and lifestyle sessions for others. now i dream of art shows and exhibits, my images hung on walls and being published, and thoughts of acceptance that it’s okay if it ends up just being for me.

what are the qualities that truly matter to you? which ones do you fully embody? which ones are missing or needing to be more fully expressed?

being true to yourself and compassionate are qualities i value deeply. these are things i struggle with from time to time, but never want to lose sight of. i try every day to show or express these qualities to my children. my son recently joked with me that he has the curse of feeling bad for everything like i do. he doesn’t have the heart to smoosh a small bug in the house! i reminded him that although it can feel like a curse at times, it is in fact a gift and shows he is human and has a heart.

if you could sit down with a woman you greatly admire, what one question would you ask?
{bonus points if you share who the woman is}

if i had the chance to sit down with one woman and ask one question it would be my grandmother who passed away when i was pregnant with my son in 1997. my question would be very simple, but I know the answer would be very detailed. who are you as a person? as a child and young adult i didn’t have the ability to think beyond the fact that she was my grandmother and a mother. i didn’t get to know her as a person and i’d love to hear her story.

do you have a dream, a wish or a “to-do” that you are currently resisting? If yes, and you feel ready to share, what is it? why do you think the resistance is there?

i suppose i partly answered this in another question above. at this point in time i have desires of submitting my art and portfolio to various places in hopes of publication of some sort. i have multiple tabs open on my computer each day with various calls for entries. the fear of being rejected is always there. the fear of not being good enough or not being understood. i have definitely put myself out there as an artist more in 2014 than I have in all of my years doing this. my wish is to continue doing this on a much larger scale.

you are at your best when you are ___________?

i am at my best when i am alone with myself. i definitely need time each day to myself to reconnect and recharge. sometimes a lonely, quiet day can help me free my mind and become inspired to create something. i’m definitely an introvert, so alone time gives me what i need to be my best when i am with others.

when you are in that space of being your best, the exact thing you are doing, most often, is ___________? 

most often i am either reading something inspiring, writing or creating. there’s that moment, that spark that ignites and fills me with power and strength…and courage.

And, last but not least, you know i love a beautiful string of words so, please, share a quote that moves and shakes you.

oh how i love powerful quotes! the ones that make you scream “yes! that’s exactly it!”. i have pages of quotes saved to post with images of mine that help get my message across. some quotes move me so much that i paint them and journal them. i suppose to keep in line with this theme and interview i’ll leave you with this.

“the only way that we can live, is if we grow. the only way that we can grow is if we change. the only way that we can change is if we learn. the only way we can learn is if we are exposed. and the only way that we can become exposed is if we throw ourselves out into the open. do it. throw yourself.”
― c. joybell c.

this interview and these self portraits are me doing exactly that. throwing myself!

be brave.

wow, right?

if you need more of sharon's beauty in your life, and i feel like we all do, you can find her at:

instagram @thecovertlens

***the gorgeous photos above are all courtesy of sharon***