Rachel’s Story | RAW Session at Duluth Boudoir Photography

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What single word do you most identify with?


For me, this session would mean that I’m accepting who I am, as I am. And helping me to get myself back.

When my husband told me that he doesn’t love me, my world collapsed. He said it because he was sick of paying for everything and didn’t think I did enough to spend as much as I had been. That’s what he told me when he apologized. Just that he was angry and didn’t mean it and that I wasn’t doing enough. See, when I do something for someone, I do it without expecting anything in return and I thought I was doing a great job as a mother and a wife. I cleaned, I cooked, I worked out if the home during the school year and took care of our kids during the summer to save on daycare costs. I made plans, goals, fucking delicious food and lent my ear and my body when he wanted it. We went on our first weekend getaway last March, since having kids, and he didn’t think I did enough… on our vacation…and got angry and demanded I do more. We took a nap separately and when he woke up the first thing he said was, “so when are we getting that divorce?” We argued, I decided to let it go and suggested we go tubing. On our way back, he called me an “ungrateful fucking bitch” because I didn’t thank him for taking me out.

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A few weeks later after he’d got back from a boundary waters trip, he wanted sex. I didn’t. He kept asking, I kept saying no. I finally said no means no to which he replied “when you put it that way, okay I’ll stop asking” he took a shower and came back asking again… over and over. I said “fine, just don’t look at me” he pushed me on the bed and tore my pants off. A few minutes later it was over. I went to the bathroom and he asked if I was okay. I’m not okay. That wasn’t okay.
We have kids, and I want normalcy. I stayed.

He’s since said I can’t do anything about it because I need him and only stay because I can’t afford to not be with him. He’s said that it wouldn’t hold up in court because I said it was fine. He’s apologized over and over. It’s not fine.
I’m not fine.
I’m tired. I’m busy. I’m just taking it day by day.

The thing that’s hurting me today is that he took myself away from me. All I’ve ever done and my body. He’s very angry and upset because I’m not having sex with him. That’s his biggest concern right now and it makes me feel like he thinks I’m nothing but a body.

I want to take ownership of my body. I don’t always love the way it looks, but it’s mine. When he took my right for consent away, I lost who I was and I’m trying to get myself back. It’s hard.

I’ve got a therapist and she’s helped. He’s seen one and we’ve gone together. I don’t know what the future holds, except that I’m gonna continue college, graduate and become the best fucking teacher I can be. The best mom I can be and try to be myself. Not even my best self, because that’s sometimes a lot of pressure. So, whatever I need to be, each and every day.

I’m tired of this shit.

I don’t have bruises, but I’m hurt.
I’m angry, but I’ve forgiven.
I’m not over it, but It’s changing.

I’m continually looking for a reason to the why, and it’s not healthy. Sometimes the reason doesn’t excuse the harm, and though it’s my usual coping mechanism, it’s not my responsibility.

I don’t know where we’re at, and I suppose that’s okay. I don’t know where we’ll be, but I will one day.
I’m the work and the growth is my process.
Day by day, moment by moment, bare with me as I find a way.

During my session I was comfortable naked, in my skin, as myself. My words tell the story that my body doesn’t show. And my body shows the story that my mind withholds.


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