I’m no stranger to challenging times in life, to suffering, grief, loss, or worry. Since I was a child, my life has been punctuated by difficult seasons, most everyone’s has and I know I’m not alone in this. Funny that we’ve all suffered a great deal in life, yet we often function as if no one has experienced the struggle or pain that we have. When I was seven, my dad passed away suddenly. That was a huge hurdle that I spent decades trying to overcome, and I’m not sure I have yet. After that happened, life was more or less normal. I had a loving mother and good support system, I did well in school, a got my license, graduated high school, and went to college. Not long after I started college, my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. I fled the scene and moved to a new city to attend cosmetology school. It was then that I started sabotaging my own life, kind of flew off the handle. But, some time later, I reeled it all back in to a somewhat uneventful life. I met Tom, had Truett, and successfully completed nursing school. Of course this time had its challenges as well. Anyone who knows me knows that I ended up a single mom while in nursing school with an infant. It wasn’t easy and with every corner I turned, there seemed to be a brand new, seemingly insurmountable challenge waiting for me. Yet, I kept pushing. I pushed and accomplished and succeeded, only to give up nursing just three years later. Was I right to keep pushing or was something telling me that I wasn’t going down the right path?
I then met my husband. We moved quickly as I felt I was ready to expedite the process seeing as I was already a mother, had a career, owned a home, and everything was going smoothly. Little did I know, this would turn into one of the most trying times of my life. I was cheated on, but forgave him and still married him. Just two weeks before our wedding date, Tom died. I grieved fast and hard in order to have room in my heart for my soon-to-be husband. Soon after the wedding, I began to realize the situation I had gotten myself into.
I’m going to take a moment here to explain why I’m writing this and publishing it on the world wide web. I have always struggled with suffering in the shadows, keeping a strong appearance while falling apart on the inside. I watched Miss Universe last night and Cheslie Kryst’s mother came on stage at one point to speak about her daughter’s suicide. This beautiful and incredibly successful woman took her own life last year. As a person who appeared to have it all, she was breaking underneath it all. Her mother’s speech brought me to tears because I could relate to Cheslie’s suffering. I think a lot of us can, even though we may not admit it. I’m writing this blatantly honest post because I feel that my truth should be spoken, not hidden. I believe that my truth could mean a life-changing decision to leave a bad relationship, to keep pushing even when life beats you to a pulp. I am not going to hide from shame or embarrassment. I’ve built a brand that is essentially me… I’ve created this space where I am my work and my work is me. In doing this, I’ve sort of created this situation where I have to remain the face of my business, yet figure out how to still be a human… a vulnerable, normal, honest human. While this post may tarnish my business, I won’t hide behind the falsity of being okay, just for the sake of keeping my business name pristine. I will speak my truth in the face of the surface-level social media presence, in the face of business models that say “don’t show too much of your story if it’s too ugly”, in the face of being “perfect” and “successful” and “strong”. Guess what... being strong doesn’t mean telling a lie that you’re okay.
To start, I’ll just rip the bandaid off. I’m telling this part of my story because there has to be a conversation about these kinds of things. No more hiding from their power or intimidation. Last September, I realized I was in an abusive marriage. I won’t go into the debate of what “abuse” and “domestic violence” actually mean. If you’ve ever experienced any form of it, you know that it is all equally painful and destructive. Screaming, hitting things, making threats, and using intimidation or force of any kind is absolutely abuse. Recording a video of someone as they beg you to stop following them and antagonizing them is abuse. I’m sure some will say that I’m lying, overreacting, being dramatic, or smearing his name. To those people, take a good hard look at the person you’re defending. Take a moment to think about the fact that the power is in his favor because he created that environment for his own tactics to thrive. I encourage you to take a step back and look at the situation as a whole.
By the end of October, I had asked for a separation. In November, he filed for divorce.
The new year kicked me in the gut as soon as it possibly could. All of my camera gear was stolen from my car on December 30th in Dallas. My car was locked, however, there was no damage to my car demonstrating forced entry. Everything taken from my car was used for weddings. Left behind was a trunk organizer full of old flashes, props, and other random things. The thief didn’t even go through my front or back seat. The three bags I use for every wedding were taken, nothing more and nothing less. As I began collecting receipts for insurance claims, they were denied to me after claims that I “stole” the equipment from my husband. Eventually, he gave them to me, but refuses to admit that the camera gear I use for my livelihood was willingly and amicably left to me. He purchased some of the items as gifts for me or we purchased them together while we were either engaged or married.
Without evidence of forced entry into my vehicle, my equipment insurance will not cover the loss. All other insurance avenues were a dead end as well. About $20,000 worth of camera gear, wedding styling props, and more were stolen from my vehicle and I have gotten a total of $700 from my homeowner’s insurance to cover losses.
I am left with an impossible situation. I’ve spent the last year and a half tirelessly building this business, working day in and day out to reach success. I’ve built a brand, I built connections and friendships, I built a solid portfolio. I accomplished a lot, don’t get me wrong, but not enough to keep me afloat here in the face of a massive financial loss. I replaced about $6000 worth of my gear out of pocket, which is enough to get by for now. All that I have felt in the last two weeks is defeat and worry. As I try to shield my son from the brutalities life sometimes throws, I find myself lost in thought about what the future holds for us.
In the midst of all of this, I’ve done my best to remain a reliable and positive source for my wedding couples. I just have to take a second to thank all of you for your understanding and patience with me during this time.
Currently, I find myself running. I’m running from two years of feeling like I couldn’t be myself, a year of suppressed grief for Tom, and a home with many memories both good and bad. I’m running from that feeling that I’m failing, running from the judgment of those who won’t take a deeper look into what is actually happening. I’m running from the possibility that I’m just dead wrong about it all.
Right now, I don’t know what will happen next. I’m prepared for the worst and still trying to hold onto hope for the best, but I’m quickly losing that grip. I am strong enough to speak my truth right now, strong enough to express the true nature of my life’s experiences at this time, strong enough to say that I’m not okay. Yet, in admitting that I’m not okay, maybe there’s power in letting go of the pretenses and falsities, the facade of being just peachy. Maybe this is the first step in becoming okay again.
- Whitney + Michael, 7.8.22
"Choosing Kensey to be our photographer for our wedding and engagement photos, was the best wedding decision we made! When planning for our wedding, we made a decision that photos were going to be our top priority since they last a lifetime and beyond.My family was blown away by how good Kensey was and kept asking me how I found her. It was definitely a blessing that I will be thankful for for a lifetime!"
"Kensey’s passion and dedication for making your wedding vision come to life is absolutely incredible."
- Kailey + Jared, 7.23.22
"Kensey was amazing from day one! I hired her to be the photographer for my daughter's engagement photos. We were so impressed that we booked her immediately for the wedding. She went above and beyond to make us happy and that is saying a lot considering we have such a big family! She went with the flow and anything we threw her direction she did with a smile on her face. She helped make my daughter's day the most perfect day and now we have the memories to prove it. Don't hesitate to book Kensey! Book her now!!"
"She went above and beyond to make us happy..."
- Kirsty + Collin, 12.3.21
My husband and I were so happy with Kensey. She is very professional, yet personable and fun! She’s invested in her couples and does everything she can to meet every need. She even had a sewing kit when my husbands button popped off of his jacket and held onto my shawl just in case I needed it during the wedding since it was a little chilly out! She is so easy to communicate with and captured so many amazing moments. We’re so happy with our photos and will cherish them for a lifetime.
"She’s invested in her couples and does everything she can to meet every need."