Bold Beautiful Perfect: Stacey
Bold Beautiful Perfect
“Regardless of my children’s imperfections, I want them to always feel beautiful and know their value. They will only be able to do this if they see me practice it authentically.” – Stacey
Tell us a little about yourself, Stacey!
I recently turned 41 years old and I try every day not to feel 41. I have two beautiful children, a 9 year-old girl, Parker, and a 3 year-old boy, Hudson. I have been married to my husband, a firefighter, for 10 years now and we live right outside of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. I work fulltime as a COO of an in-home care agency for seniors, Always Best Care Senior Services, and I love getting to share each workday with a wonderful group that feels more like family. While I am very much a business woman, I love taking some of my free time to show my creative side by painting, drawing, and redecorating homes that need a little extra love. I truly am blessed with a great life and support system!
How did you come to understand your inner beauty?
Growing up I constantly heard: “It’s not what you look like on the outside, but the inside that counts.” I’ve always believed that. As a matter of fact, I try to remind my kids of it all the time, too. It took many experiences of seeing others’ inner beauty (or in some cases, the lack thereof) to truly understand what this meant. Inner beauty is so much deeper than something that can be bought or acquired. It’s about who an individual is. It’s when you walk in the room and the room lights up with happiness and peace. It’s when others are so drawn to you because of the warmth of your smile and the comfort of your hug. Your looks may fade, but when people see you, all they see is joy. I decided years ago that I wanted to bring people laughter and comfort. To do that I had to truly love and accept who I was, love others unconditionally and be confident in just being me. Every day I do my very best to live my purpose in life to empower others to be confident and successful through my leadership, love and encouragement. Each day I do my best to show others my inner beauty.
What parts of your story can you share to help women to understand their own beauty?
Although it shouldn’t be, this is probably the hardest thing for me to share. It’s not that it is a sad and horrific experience; it’s far from that. As a matter of fact, it is probably something that so many of us experience. I think it is hard to share because I never want a person to realize what they took from me or how they made me feel. That gives them power and that is one thing I am not ok with giving. As I write this and each time I share my story, I realize that long ago I took my power back.
One of the essential keys in any healthy relationship is the ability to feel safe to be the real you – to be vulnerable. Like so many do, I found myself in relationships where others wanted to break me down to build themselves up. I was married to a man who loved to show me off. He portrayed me as the perfect wife. We lived in the perfect house; we had the perfect relationship.
For so long he made me feel beautiful, until the day I could no longer keep up with the “perfect” image. An illness caused rapid weight gain and despite my efforts, I could not easily get the weight off. I then found myself hiding when I wanted to eat a meal because it wasn’t the “perfect” meal. I began to notice that the man that was once very happy to show me off was annoyed that I didn’t want to wear make-up every day all day. The clothes I had always worn no longer met his standards. Every day I felt as if I weren’t good enough.
Surprisingly, it wasn’t the cheating that made me want to leave him. It was one statement he said to me that made me finally wake up one day: “Looking at you disgusts me.” When I heard those words, I realized that I allowed him to break me down and break my spirit. I no longer had confidence in myself. I allowed that to happen because I evaluated my self-worth in what he thought of me. That wasn’t his fault; it was mine and I was going to take it all back.
I began to pray that God would help me see the beauty in myself again as I saw in others. That one day, when the time was right, he would give me a man that would love and accept me for all of me. That I would have trust in that man and allow myself to feel safe with him and loved by him. Not only would that man see my beauty, but that I would see my beauty as well. I prayed God would help me heal from my hurt and help me to forgive. I now know that the man who hurt me loved me the only way he knew how. It might not have been the right way, but I forgive him for that.
I can say today that I am proud of the mom, wife, friend, daughter, sister, boss and woman that I am. I can say I am beautiful inside and out. I have my insecurities and days where I focus on the “what if’s” and what I think others see of my outer appearance, but then one of my kids walks in as I am looking in the mirror, and I think of how I want them to perceive beauty. Regardless of their imperfections, I want them to always feel beautiful and know their value. They will only be able to do this if they see me practice it authentically.
Today and every day, I am thankful for those hurtful words that were said to me and the circumstances that led me to know my beauty and self-worth.
What was your experience with the photo shoot?
I was so humbled to be selected as a part of this project. Brandi and her team are touching generations of women and girls showing them their true beauty. It was so amazing to get to be a part of that and for my little girl to be able to see it as well.
Wow is the first word that comes to mind. The team is so dedicated to making you feel special and beautiful. From the phone calls with Heather that walked me through what the day would look like, all the way through the picture selection process, it was all so amazing. Kasper has so much positive energy and a God-given talent of seeing the beauty in others. He is able to beautifully reflect all of it in the hair and makeup he does. Brandi has such a calm presence about her that makes you feel very relaxed during the photoshoot. Every image that was taken, captured so much feeling. When my husband saw them he said he was so taken back with how beautiful I looked.
Are you ready to see your beauty?
To book your own Portrait Session, contact us through the inquiry form below.
International Award-Winning Portrait Photographer
Brandi Stage is an international award-winning portrait photographer based in Bay St. Louis, MS. She creates an exceptional magazine-style photo shoot and timeless heirloom portraits for women, men, children and pets in her studio or on location.