Another instalment in our new Boudoir Series, focusing on some of the INCREDIBLE journeys our clients have faced and are facing.
We aim to share, inspire and celebrate their strength and touch on how their boudoir photoshoot with Johanna Elizabeth had a positive impact on their journey.
So, we hand over to Mikala. Mikala, you’re never far from our thoughts!
Mikala’s path to freedom…
“My name is Mikala and I am an artist, life coach and a mother.
I like to be different and challenge social norms to hopefully help people see that they don’t have to accept stuff just because someone else says so.
I’ve worked in community development for 15 years, helping people build their self-esteem, improve the community themselves and take pride in where they live.
My heart passion is seeing others succeed and become what they want and live a life they always wanted.
The last few years have been a real journey.
Challenging myself to change fear into freedom, lots of highs but lots of lows too. Three photoshoots and in the middle of that, there has been Johanna Elizabeth, her team and an amazing tribe of beautiful, inspirational women.
Facing fear and finding freedom
My journey began when I decided to face a fear and gain freedom from it. As a child, I was abused by nearly every person of authority over me and was sold to men and women to be sexually abused, during which photos were taken.
I dealt with most of it but I had a real fear of the camera so I avoid them as soon as I could which meant that there were no photos out there that were good. That’s where my journey began with Jo. It was on Facebook that I saw an advert to win a shoot and it made me think about my son, that I had loads of photos of him but none of me.
So I entered and to my amazement, I contacted the next day.
Something just for me
With Jo’s help and support, she listens to my story and sensitively help me through the shoot and created some beautiful photos that I could show and some that were just for me.
Going through it, as hard as it was, was the most freeing thing I had ever done. But unfortunately, things started to go downhill for me after a while. Due to all the trauma my body had been put through there were a lot of injuries that never fully healed but I never let it stop me until a couple of discs in my spine prolapsed.
I was faced with a choice of having the surgery and getting the discs sorted or definitely end up in a wheelchair.
That scared me so much because I was an active person. I would run 10k every day, I would go on 15-mile walks and I would ride horses bareback as well as in the saddle.
So I agreed, they operated and everything seemed fine. But then the discs went again and this time they prolapsed again, this time putting a lot of pressure on my spinal cord. I lost all use of my body from my stomach down. So I had emergency surgery to remove the discs and fuse my spine. When I came round it was soon apparent that I was partially paralysed, I would need to be in a wheelchair.
A new reality
I went to such a dark place, I felt robbed. I felt like haven’t I been through enough in my life, now I was being robbed of everything that made me who I was. But I still have my son so I had to force myself to accept my situation as my new lifestyle and made myself remember the things I still could do. I was still a bloody good mum, artist and life coach.
I could still help others find the diamond inside of themselves. I could still impact the little bit of the world I had for the better. I came to accept my new life, it looked different than I expected but I was still me. A feisty loving loyal person with a bit of a nutty side.
Living a limitless life
So I decided to go to the second shoot with Jo to show that even a disability shouldn’t stop us. In fact, we have more to offer and it’s still beautiful and strong.
Now I’m fighting the toughest battle yet which led to a special family shoot with me and my son. I’m fighting against a tumour in my brain that could mean that I don’t get to see another year.
I’m having to accept that every day is a gift. One where yes I feel terrible because of the treatment, but I’m still breathing and able to spend precious time with my son.
It’s funny in one way because I now realised just how many beautiful moments there can be in a day. The warmth of the sun on my face, a smile, a laugh, a good cup of coffee.
Mother and son portraits
This is where my third shoot happened. As a single parent, I have always been behind the camera and, as a result, there were no photos of me and my boy together and I couldn’t potentially leave him without photos of us together.
Jo was very gracious and found somewhere close to us, took it at a pace I could handle, and gave me breaks when I needed it. My son would normally run away from a camera but even he knew how important it was. Jo created the best photos to date of me because they were beautiful photos of me and the best thing I ever created.
She gave us a gift that if I don’t make it, he will still be able to see my face with him.
I will finish with what I have told my son.
Each day is a precious gift where people every day physically die but they don’t die altogether. You have the hundred of thousand hours together, the times we laughed, the time we cried, the times we wrapped up in a blanket and cuddled up.
We don’t need grand gestures or big moments to rush in before we pass, it is all the little things that matter. Accept the things that we cannot change with grace because there is no point in trying to fight against it because otherwise, you’ll miss too much.
The important things in life
Live a life full of the things that make you happy and appreciate all the people you love because they love you too. Don’t hoard life, live a life of giving because it fills the world with the goodness that you are and makes others realise they matter as well.
Finally, live, really live. Take risks, go travel to those places. Life isn’t all about work, it’s about experiences because it’s those experiences that create those special memories that you can hold onto and pass on.”
Thank you Mikala for sharing your story
Thank you Mikala (and the lovely Ashley). We are honorred, truly.
Of course, we are planning your ‘Wonder Woman’ shoot for when you beat this latest challenge. We’re with you every step of the way.
Read more from our incredible Boudoir Series
You can read other inspirational client stories here on the blog. Don’t miss these!
- Maggie’s boost after her dramatic breast cancer journey
- Sara puts herself first and finds her strength
To find out how a photoshoot experience can celebrate and honour where you are RIGHT now, click here.