accepting the woman in the mirror

The prequel to this blog entry is this one... and if you haven´t read it yet, I strongly encourage you to backtrack and read that first before continuing here.

Six turbulent months have passed since the photoshoot, and during that time I have learned so much about myself as a person, author and photographer. Whereas the #lockdown2020 was detrimental for my writing, it provided me ample opportunity to re-focus and assess my capabilities as a photographer, expand my horizons, push the limits on so many levels, and thanks to the encouragement of some very special friends, plunge head-on into new waters. New and big things will be coming from FrogDiva Photography over the next months, which I will definitely share with everyone here.

Editorial Portrait by Guido Schwarz
Guido Schwarz Photo

Strangely enough, it took a complete stranger and a fraud to open my eyes to myself and take a good look at the person in the mirror I have been avoiding for the past (almost) 53 years. Let’s not bother with the details, but let’s just say I was suddenly motivated to take a keener interest in make-up, hair-do, and even losing weight. My daughter living with me since February was also a catalyst to re-evaluate my attitude towards make-up in general, and I even started watching tutorials for middle-aged Asian women.

Then my editorial photographs arrived… and blew me away completely! I was thrilled with the results, and moved to tears by how my scars and flaws were celebrated and respected, not covered up and dodged away, just as I had asked. It was Guido who convinced me to own up to the public image of Marie Balustrade, to flaunt her image across the globe, and introduce the public to the author of Wings At Dawn. My initial idea for the photoshoot was Old Hollywood Glamour and I wanted to hide behind or beneath a wide-brimmed hat, a concept that was summarily shot down from the first moment we met. That isn’t you, he said, you are the fearless strong woman who dares to expose the social cancers of the world, and you owe it to your readers to present the authentic woman, who is as flawed and and scared as the characters you write about.

Editorial Portrait by Guido Schwarz

I have been in psychotherapy for the past two-and-a-half years, and my healing journey is coming to an end soon. It is time to stand on my own two feet and embrace the curves, the scars and the smile, because finally, finally I have forgiven myself and let go of of the inner demons. Surviving painful losses and sailing through stormy seas of emotional abuse, depression, uncertainty, coupled with a mile high of mistakes along the way have added a few wrinkles and pounds. But I look at myself in the mirror in the morning now, grab my make-up kit and smile as I dot on the BB cream and blend the eyeshadow.

There is a new path ahead, a different course chartered, one filled with kindness and self-compassion, yet also one filled with courage to stand up and walk away instead of wallowing in the shadows. Allow me here, today, to revise my introduction of myself: Theresa Herzog – Author, Photographer, Literary Activist, and Warrior.

The FrogDiva is here to stay and fight the good fight.


    1. Thank you so much for your insight and time Joy. Truly a pleasure to have seen you here. The journey continues, and who knows what is just around the corner. best regards, Theresa

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