Engaged: Shanna and Steven in Vancouver

When I first met Shanna, I was running around my neighborhood desperately trying to coax my kitten to return to me.  I’m not sure I even said “hi” to her as I raced past her, lunged for the cat, and … well…missed. I wheedled.  I begged.  I bribed.  I stalked.  Yet my four-month-old kitten wasn’t interested. At all. Eventually, with the tantalizing distraction of a yellow scarf dancing juuuust on the other side of the bush and some impressive reflexes  the kitten was eventually safely inside.  I tried to smooth my rumpled hair, brush the pine needles off my jeans, and return to the professional demeanor I had abandoned in chase of my cat. I finally greeted Shanna.  We took her headshots that day and she told me a little about her long distance relationship.

Fast forward a few months to my Valentine’s Day What’s Your Story? photo session giveaway.   Shanna told me her story in her own words and then wielded the power of social media to ultimately win the giveaway!

Shanna & Steven’s Story:

I never thought of our story as a story worth telling.  Some may think we evolved together in the most negative of ways and some may think that we were born soul-mates and whatever events have happened took place to bring us together.  Of course I pick the latter to believe and despite the negativity viewed I believe that we are each others most positive aspect in life.

Now our story is long and complicated involving boyfriends and girlfriends passed, quarrels, miscommunicated feelings of loneliness, longing and the natural instinct to feel loved, sounds kind of bad eh?  But it also involves a deep indescribable connection to a person that is so kind and generous and without them you feel lost…

We were (and still are) the best friends to each other, meeting a little over halfway through chiropractic school (which we went to in the USA), something clicked and we were inseparable.  Studying long hours together, going shopping, sitting on the couch watching TV, laughing our guts out at the most ridiculous inside jokes and revealing our lives stories to each other as perfect strangers.  Life was amazing as we had found (for those of you who watch Grey’s Anatomy) our person.  The bond was seen by our colleagues, questions were raised but we answered them as friends.  Before Steven left back to Calgary (he graduated before me) he admitted to feelings that he had been holding back for so long; I could not resist in telling him mine.  But as far as we could see, it would never work due to our distance apart.

So we were separated for the first time without hopes of seeing each other again.  We communicated through whatever medias we could and could not get enough of each other, always longing for the presence of the other, wanting to see the smile that lit our hearts and hold the body that felt like our own.

And then I graduated and was back home (in Surrey, BC) with everyone I loved so dear, but I had never felt so alone.  I tried to get through the days with texts and short phone calls to the person who filled every void I’ve ever had.   But those texts and phone calls did not suffice.  It was not the same and the longing for completeness deepened.  This is where the story gets very complicated.  What do we do? How could we be with our own soul?  The answer was painful and full of agonizing grief but it was worth it!

Like any other couple, we get into arguments and fights from time to time. But with long distance (living in Surrey BC and Calgary AB), it makes matters more difficult. We don’t get the luxury of seeing each other on a regular basis. We both know that the other is hurting and it kills us inside, there always seems to be an unspoken deeper connection, always yearning for the embrace of the other to ease the pain.  Yet despite  the 12 hour drive apart we are so incredibly in love, so happy, and filled with joy that we have each other.  This man makes me laugh, smile, cry and feel perfectly loved.

Now our story is just about 2 years old and we haven’t even begun to bloom and blossom into our relationship.  We have so much to look forward to and explore and I for one cannot wait to spend forever with my person.  “Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same.” I don’t know who said it but it definitely holds true for us.

And the best part?  Even just a few months after Shanna wrote her story, the story has a new chapter unfolding:  engagement!

I loved shooting Shanna & Steven’s engagement photos in Stanley Park and on Granville Island.  Shanna’s hair and makeup was styled by the uber-talented Justyne Rai Makeup Artistry and Hair Design.   


My fabulous assistant was Darbey.

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