*Note: I first met Julia one year ago, when I took her portrait for the Strength Source Project. The portrait below is the one that I took of her then. She is in a different place in her life now, and I met with her again to talk about what has changed and how she has grown since that time.
“I thought I wanted to be married to him. I bought the wedding dress, threw the party, but never signed the papers. I realized after the ceremony that we were no longer on the same path together. I made the decision to keep moving forward, moved into a new house without him, spent a summer working in Europe, and restarted my life. Looking back, I see that I had trouble differentiating between what a person tells you they can be, from what that person actually is and will be. I now see that what I gave as mental, financial, and career encouragement, was routinely discredited. I realize now also that I was a bit fearful of breaking up, because I was always optimistic that they would live up to their potential and because I didn’t want to see them disappointed. But that caused me not to admit that I was slightly disappointed in the years leading up to the big party. And now I accept that it is perceived that I’ve disappointed everyone after the party.
But in finally articulating what I didn’t want, I have found strength in no longer altering my voice on behalf of someone else. I know I’ve confused people because of the way that I had internalized things, but I think it’s never too late to reclaim your story. My newfound strength and clarity has filtered back into all aspects of my life. After finding my voice leaving a relationship, I found my true voice at work, in executive meetings, meetings completely in French, on holiday, with loved ones, and over executive business dinners. One year later, I stopped looking back.”