Courtney Dellafiora »

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Alive Again

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Hello world.

It’s been a while. I needed to disappear for a minute. But I am back, and I am ready to share my heart with you. To anyone willing to listen, would you mind if I get very candid with you?

Sometimes it is so hard to be raw with the world. To be vulnerable and share your deepest pains and fears. But here I am, opening myself up.

Life is a journey. It has its challenges and its victories. Its ups and downs. That is what makes it so beautiful. The imperfections make you appreciate the perfections. The betrayals make you appreciate the loyalties. The tears make you appreciate the laughter. No matter what, how you handle each moment is what makes you who you are. The more gracefully you handle them, the stronger and better you become.

The past 15 years of my life have not always been easy to say the least. I feel as though they have been training me for everything my future holds. These years hold some of my greatest memories and proudest accomplishments, but also some of the worst and most painful moments of my existence. I moved from Peru to Louisiana when I was 18 years old. The challenges began almost instantly and didn’t end until recently when I finally left and closed the “Louisiana chapter” of my life. I am so very grateful for so many wonderful things that happened while there. But it was certainly time to move on to a new chapter.

When I meet someone that I believe in, I tend to give them my whole heart. Whether it’s a romantic or platonic relationship, I care for them deeply. I trust them, and I never for a second think that they will turn on me, or abuse my care for them. I am truly guilty of seeing only the good in someone. It is one of my greatest attributes and equally one of my worst. Because of this, I have been taken advantage of and mistreated more times than I care to mention. It is something I may never understand for as long as I live. I will never comprehend how people can use and abuse others and sleep well at night. I am far from perfect but I could literally never do that to someone. Never.

Truthfully, I could write a book or two on the countless times I’ve had my heart broken by people I loved but I am only going to share about one of them right now.

In May 2015 (one year before I was to close my photography business), something happened that I never saw coming. My trusted and loved right hand man betrayed me. I welcomed Emily into my life with wide open arms and great love, admiration and loyalty. I adored this girl. She was one of my favorite people I had ever met, and I thanked God for her every single day. I felt so utterly blessed he had sent her into my life. Finally someone I could trust. It was probably pretty obvious to anyone who has followed me for a while just how much I cared for her. We meshed so well and genuinely enjoyed working together. I grew to care for her like a younger sister, someone I wanted in my life forever. And I really thought and believed she cared for me too. I gave her the world. Literally and figuratively. I took her with me to Paris, London, NYC, California. Taught her so much. Invested so much time and money into her. Because that is what I do when it comes to my business and my friends. I gave her memories I know she will never forget. Went above and beyond to show her how much I appreciated her as not only an employee, but a true friend. Praised her openly to the world. Promised her I would always make sure she was taken care of and the list goes on and on. I never for once considered the possibility that she lacked loyalty and good character. She had definitely fooled me into thinking she possessed those things. I trusted her completely.

With absolutely no signs or warning at all, she quit her job and never spoke to me again. I cried for three days straight. I was beyond devastated. She broke my heart. Not only did she leave me in a ginormous bind with my business, but she brutally betrayed me. It’s not necessary for me to go into details of how she did. Sadly, she has zero integrity and lacks respect and good morals. She used me for what she needed and then she vanished like a thief in the night.

I will never forget what she did to me. And I will never understand WHY.

Thanks to her, I was forced to run my business on my own for the last 12 months of its existence. I could never truly explain how challenging that is. But to sum it up, I worked 24/7. No lie, I slept a few hours a night, woke up and worked all day until I went back to sleep that night. Every single day. I didn’t have weekends or time off. I had to work around the clock in order to maintain seamless operations and the high end customer service my business was known for. I had to be able to remember a million different details at all times of the day on top of photographing several shoots a day and weddings on the weekends. I was not going to let another human being destroy what I had worked so hard to build. So I just ate, slept and breathed my business for the last year.

(Side note: Hiring another employee was just not feasible. It takes 6 months to a year to train someone to work at my company. It just wouldn’t have made any sense at that point.)

Truthfully, I kicked ass. But in the process, my soul began to wither up and die. It was sucking the life out of me.  It’s just not normal or healthy for one person to work that hard and that often. The only thing that kept me going was knowing that there was a light at the end of the tunnel. And that this period of my life would only last 12 months.

The icing on the cake was when my hair and makeup stylist became insanely unprofessional the last couple of months of the business being open. No reason to go into details. But know, I was beyond humiliated and mortified at her behavior and had to make the difficult decision to cut her from my business and life. This also left me in a bind the last few weeks of being open, causing me tons of stress and heartache. Thankfully I had a friend and amazing stylist come to the rescue. I can do a lot of things, but run my entire business AND do everyone’s hair and makeup is whole other thing entirely!

Even when it was finally all over, I felt dead. My mind, body, soul, spirit had been depleted. I had nothing left in me. I knew it would be a challenge without help, but I had no idea it would leave me feeling like a zombie. I was breathing, but I was not alive. My health had also taken a backseat to everything else. I felt like screaming but I didn’t even have the strength left to muster a whimper.

Because of this, I made the decision to put my new business and California plans on hold and give myself some MUCH needed “me time” first. I was putting so much pressure on myself to jump into this new venture quickly and I asked myself, “why rush?” There is so much time for that! I decided to pack up my fur babies and entire life and drive to Florida where my family lives. I had no idea what was going to happen after that. But I just knew I needed a fresh start and to just BREATHE.

For the past several months, I have done just that.

I planned a trip to Iceland and went there this month. I believed of anywhere in the world, Iceland was the place to go for healing. And boy, was I right. After telling her about my trip, my best friend Bethany said it right… my soul was dry and going to Iceland was like taking a deep drink of water after being in the desert for years. It brought me back to life. It reignited the fire in my heart that had barely just been a little tiny flame for so long. So many circumstances and so many people had tried their best to destroy me and my passion for this beautiful life I have been given. Going on this trip saved me. I will never be the same after Iceland. I can barely contain the inspiration and passion it brought back to me. I could scream it from the mountaintops.

It also made me realize that this is what I need to be doing for a while. Adventuring and sharing it with others. Exploring the world is truly one of my deepest passions. I think about it all the time. Wanderlust consumes me. I grew up in Peru, so staying put in one place all the time was never really for me. I was made to explore cultures, meet new people, expand my mind, pursue the unknown mysteries of our planet.

With that being said, I am thrilled to say that I will be traveling for a while and I plan to invite you to come with me. I will be sharing all the details and sign up information in January. : ) Not only will you have the opportunity to come with, but also the chance to be photographed by yours truly in the most beautiful places in the world. (ha! you guys knew I couldn’t quit photography all together;) I absolutely cannot wait to share everything with you. Iceland will be the first place we go and who knows after that. The world is our oyster. Adventure is out there. Waiting for us to have it.

In conclusion, I decided long ago I would never ever allow anything or ANYONE to change who I am or take away my happiness. No matter how many times I am hurt, I will always see the good in people. I will never stop believing in humanity. The world is full of amazing and exciting people and places. And I cannot wait to experience them all.



  • Christina ChoNovember 30, 2016 - 9:42 pm

    I’ve been following your work for years, and to hear this has happened to you breaks my heart to pieces. But to also know you found healing brings me so much joy for you!!! I’m so excited to find some time to join you in your adventures!!! I’ve ALWAYS wanted to see you in action!!! Thank you for always sharing your story!!!!!!!ReplyCancel

    • courtneyDecember 2, 2016 - 3:39 pm

      Christina thank you so so much for your kind words!! This truly means so much to me!!! xoReplyCancel

  • Amanda GrantNovember 30, 2016 - 10:00 pm

    So happy for you finding your wings again. I’m sure I speak for more than myself in saying that you have been missed. You are unbelievably talented, not only with your vision of beauty and photography, or amazing taste in lingerie, but also in the relatable honesty and eloquence in your words. Can’t wait to see what exciting adventures you have planned. (May I recommend adding Scotland to your list) Thank you for being you!!!ReplyCancel

    • courtneyDecember 2, 2016 - 3:41 pm

      Hi Amanda! Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart for your kind words. It means the world! And I have actually been to Scotland but only for a day so I need to go back! xoReplyCancel

  • Alexis ANovember 30, 2016 - 11:00 pm

    I’m in tears! I’ve been following your blog and work for a while now. I always wanted to do a shoot with you, but never came around financially to be able to. I am deeply sorry that this has happened to you. You have such a beautiful soul and are too inspiring to ever let anyone destroy that! I remember when you posted about hiring an assistant. I told my husband, boyfriend at the time, how awesome that would be… if I could do that! After you hired Emily, I told myself “next time” I’m applying. Ha! Through all of your posts, blogs, comments on your website & social media have made me feel like I know you, personally, and I’ve never even met you. That my friend, is something wonderful. You are so wonderful & I love that you have found the strength to keep going forward.

    We are all human & things happen for a reason. Despair & hurt always bring growth & joy. May God continue to bless you. Thank you for everything you share, and for being simply you!!ReplyCancel

    • courtneyDecember 2, 2016 - 3:43 pm

      HI Alexis! Thank you so so much for your kind words and taking the time to write them. It is not taken lightly at all. I am so grateful!! Much love to you.ReplyCancel

  • Danielle Sylve-WatlerDecember 1, 2016 - 8:36 am

    When me and the hubby came in for the last shoot you”Rocked It”! I would have never know you were dealing with all this inside. Enjoy your You time! You deserve itReplyCancel

    • courtneyDecember 2, 2016 - 3:43 pm

      Thank you so much Danielle!!ReplyCancel

  • Adrianne RoquesDecember 1, 2016 - 2:44 pm

    Welcome back to life, Courtney! Your brilliance, creativity, beauty, and inspiration have been missed!! Much love and happiness to you!!ReplyCancel

    • courtneyDecember 2, 2016 - 3:44 pm

      Thank you so much for your support Adrianne!ReplyCancel

  • Kati WardDecember 13, 2016 - 3:47 pm

    You are truly amazing. I have been quite a fan and your words and pictures for as long as I can remember and you have always blown me away! I cannot wait to read and see more through your eyes.

    Thank you for reminding me that no matter what, we can always be brought back to life!

    You’re awesome, Courtney!!!ReplyCancel

    • courtneyMay 1, 2017 - 3:15 pm

      Aww, I am just now seeing this comment! Thank you so very much for your kind words and support! It means so much!!ReplyCancel

  • AmyDecember 17, 2016 - 1:13 pm

    I have always felt that seeing only the good in others is my best and worst quality too. I had been burnt so many times that it hardened me. I lost little bits of me that may others would find silly (crying during chick flicks) that I loved about myself and it scared me. I went through a healing patch and just eliminated all negativity out of my life and feeling so much better. I have followed you since the beginning of my photo career and was so sad to hear you closed the boudoir studio. I am glad I happened to find you here and I can’t wait to follow along. I love your HAIR!! And Iceland looks amazing. Definitely on my bucket list! God bless girl!ReplyCancel

    • courtneyMay 1, 2017 - 3:15 pm

      Aw thank you so very much!! I am so sorry I am just now seeing this comment. It means the world! Thank you for taking the time to share your support. xoxoReplyCancel

  • Darice FarrisJanuary 16, 2017 - 10:07 pm

    Girl I had no idea! You will always be my reason for taking risks that I am now taking! I have such admiration and respect for you and how you ran your business. Such a class act! I hope I can join you on one of these adventures. I’m putting it on my list now!ReplyCancel

    • courtneyMay 1, 2017 - 3:16 pm

      Aww Darice thank you so much for everything!!! xoxoxReplyCancel

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