“I wasn’t sure how much of my story to put out there. I know people I know and grew up with will see these photos and know parts of me I almost died trying to deny. But then I remembered why I wanted these pictures and why it was so important for me. So I guess this is me “outing” myself, and hoping this will help just one woman.
I was raped and sexually abused at 12 years old, just on the eve of adolescence. I kept that a secret for almost 13 years, and silently let it destroy me. I was angry at my femininity. I was mad at my body for being female. I developed an eating disorder, depression, anxiety and fought with them until they almost killed me when I was 25. I developed PTSD and suddenly even functioning was near impossible. I ended up having to take a year away from school and had to go to inpatient treatment followed by 5 intensive months of daily outpatient therapy and counseling. It was grueling. For the longest time I had lost myself to my past, then I lost myself in recovery. Recently I’ve found myself in the present. I gained so much beyond recovery. I have learned so much about myself, and am now trying to learn how to accept the person I am today.
It’s hard for me to accept my body these days. I’ve gained 30% of my body weight since starting my recovery, and suddenly my body is feminine, soft, curvy. I have the body of a woman, and it’s hard to accept. Going into this photo shoot I was a wreck. I was anxious to the point of wanting to puke. I told Miranda about my fears and she was amazing to work with. She made sure she worked at my pace and didn’t push me past my comfort zone. She was also so good about showing me photos on the back of the camera so I could see what I looked like. I never felt uncomfortable, I felt exhilarated. I felt empowered. I felt like a woman, not a scared little girl.
These pictures not only helped me accept my body as beautiful and strong, it’s helped me to see what I really am: a survivor, a warrior, a strong woman.”