Meet Lisa | The Beauty Within Foundation

The Beauty Within Foundation Pittsburgh Self-Harm Help-0007I'm truly excited to share Lisa's story with you, which you can read more about on our Beauty Within Foundation site today. Not only will you hopefully be moved by Lisa's story, but I am also hoping you will be able to see in the accompanying blog post what a truly beautiful woman she is, inside and out, through her bold, raw and vulnerable photos.

Lisa actually contacted me to ask about reserving a paid session for herself. In her email she wrote briefly about herself, conveying to me how she believed this session was an important part of a lifelong healing process that was at its peak. Her email touched me deeply and I can't think of a better way to help you understand Lisa's message than including her very first email to me.

"I came across your site when searching for photographers, fell in love with your work and fell even more in love with your "About Me" video...especially the part when you discuss helping woman find strength and a total transformation, which is exactly what I need.

Here is my story and what I am looking for. I have recently started the process of EMDR to work on taking care of myself, my past traumas and my PTSD, which has ultimately wreaked havoc on my world...but has also started the process of healing. At the same time I have started a blog in hopes of sharing my story and one day writing a book to help as many people as I can. In doing so, I came up with an idea that I feel would not only be healing to myself and others, but also gain awareness to one of my biggest life struggles (and coping mechanisms)...cutting.

This would be the most raw and vulnerable that I have ever been and most likely will ever be (which is beyond terrifying to me), so it is extremely important for me to find the right person who has the ability to beautifully convey and evoke profound emotion through simplistic elegance. Basically, I want to create an elegant, simple, beautiful boudoir style photo shoot focusing on my scars that I can post with my story. Most are self inflicted and some have been inflicted by others and for all of my life I have been made to feel ashamed and embarrassed by them...I have felt the need to hide them.

Now, I want to give myself and others strength in showing the true beauty that lies within the reality of having survived them. I truly hope this is making some sort of sense...I sometimes have difficulty conveying the craziness in my mind.

The other main issue is that I am extremely shy and have no confidence whatsoever when it comes to having my picture I suppose I would be a bit of a challenge.

If this is something you have any interest in I was hoping we could set something up to meet and talk? I am also including the link to my blog in hopes that it helps give you insight into who I am and what we could possibly create together.

Thank you so much for taking the time to consider this and I truly hope to hear from you as I believe we could be a perfect fit.


I was hooked immediately. How could I not be?? However, I knew instantly that I did not want Lisa to purchase a session from Elizabeth Craig Photography. Instead, I wanted her to be a recipient of The Beauty Within Foundation. We set up a meeting and everything just fell into place.

Lisa told me snippets of her life story and at some moments I didn't know whether to cry or hug her tightly for the pain this woman has gone through in her life since the age of 2 and a half. Two and a half. Just a baby. What the men and women in her life did to her over her lifetime is something you read about in books; something you pay money to see on a big screen. It is not something you want to hear about in real life. Severe sexual abuse. Severe physical abuse. Severe emotional abuse. It's enough to make you lose faith in this world to know that people can be so cruel.

But as I sat and listened to Lisa, and as I got to know her, it was very apparent that Lisa is an extraordinary woman. The strength, vulnerability, awareness and intuitive nature that flowed from her was nothing less than miraculous. She is powerful. She is dynamic. She is so smart and she is a fighter, folks....make no mistake. She amazes me in her keen ability to understand that what happened to her does not define her and that she, and she alone, has the power to not only make her world what she wants it to be, but to share her story and herself with others in hopes of bringing light, forgiveness and understanding to those that either practice self-harm, or are family or friends of those that practice self-harm.

I cannot think of a better way for you to spend the next 20 or 30 minutes than reading Lisa's story. It will touch you deeply while giving you so much hope at the same time. Wrapping your brain around it can be hard, but it's worth it.  And I cannot think of a better way to follow that up with the 2 films we put together that really show you Lisa's courage.

When you do read Lisa's story, make sure to watch both films. The first is so powerful, so deep, so raw, so bewitching. You can feel Lisa's courage pouring right out of her. This was a poem she wrote about her EMDR experiences. It's so stunning and so beautiful. I also encourage you to read Lisa'sblog. Her words are her art form and she's an incredible artist. Her pain is so apparent, yet her message of healing is so profound.

I am a better person for knowing Lisa and I consider myself a lucky woman to have her in my life. If you are person in this big world struggling with cutting, or any form of self-harm, or if you are a person that knows of someone struggling with this, there is hope.  You are not alone.

Thank you, Lisa, for being so brave.

For more information on cutting and self-harm, or for help you can go here.

Beautiful makeover by Justine Lynn of Beauty Justified. Special thanks to Soncerae Yeager for editing.