"I just can't justify spending that on myself".  I hear it every day, and it's heartbreaking.  I see women who have been through SO MUCH, who've had to fight for everything they had, hold it together when no one else could, women who DESERVE to be celebrated and put on pedestals, basically say that they're not worth it.  Not worth an investment to see themselves how they've never seen themselves before.  Elegant. Regal. Sexy. It's in there, at the core of every woman who chooses to put the needs of others before herself, who works HARD, who feels the weight of trying to be everything.  I'm there too, I'm that woman as well, and it can be suffocating, to the point where you barely feel like a woman at all, just this formless person who has a list to get through.

But we're more than that. You have to know that.  We're more than our to-do lists, more than the accomplishments of our children, more than what we feel like we're allowed to show the world.  When we do show off just a glint of this power, this light that's inside of us, often we're felt like we have to apologize for it.  "Oh, sorry I was being a fierce, Amazonian queen.  I just needed to vent.  Let me collect my things and I'll go."  Or even worse, the "because"s.  "I'm strong, because I have to be".  "I'm loud, because I'm Italian.".  "I'm sexy, but I've worked hard for this body".  Why the apologies, and excuses, and automatic justification, like we have to prove to others and ourselves that there's a very specific reason why we're allowed to be this way?

How about this?  "I'm STRONG".  "I'm SEXY".  "I'm SO DAMN SMART that I can take on everything in my day and still take care of other people.".  How about that??  No reasons, just self love.  We try to sneak it in, a pedicure here, a few glasses of wine there.  Girl, let's go all out!  Let's get wild!  Let's celebrate ourselves extravagantly, like the queens we are!  Whatever you see as the very best of yourself, I want to see that.  I want you to have a way to remember all of this when you're bloated and crampy and sweatpants-ed up and maybe crying because you dropped something, or you did your VERY BEST and for some reason, to someone it just wasn't good enough, that you're not only good enough, but you're amazing.  There are countless poems, songs, and art about women.  They show peeks of that strength, that mystery, enchantment, and spark, but somehow we've lost that.  We're the workhorses.  The donkeys, carrying everything to make it easier for other people.  

I feel that so much.  Just when I think I can take a retreat for a weekend, to be with my thoughts, reinvigorate my body and soul, the car needs work.  The kids need some gadget.  The house needs to be repaired.  If I just took that money and time and saved it, the family could use it together.  And 99% of the time, that's what I do.  I'm not saying to be selfish, because practicality wins most days, but for that 1% of the time, of the money, of the emotional investment in yourself, take that opportunity.  Show your children what self love is, and don't apologize for it or try to validate it with some practical reason.  Whatever you do, whether it's a life-changing portrait session with my studio, a weekend retreat to a spa, a girls' trip to NYC, anything, just please don't apologize.  No one's going to hand it to you.  YOU have to take that step to live your VERY BEST life.  Take a little leap.  Examine whether your "I can't" is real or just some little voice holding you back.  By giving your spirit what it needs, celebrating you as an individual, and all you've accomplished, without apologies or reasons, you're getting back whatever's been lost to duties, lists, obligations, and the deep weariness of feeling like there's more.  It all starts with a step, and once you take that step, there's no going back.  Show the world who you've become, what you see when you catch yourself in the right light and just stare at your beauty, all you've been through, something absolutely extraordinary.   Let's be queens.  No apologies.