I ask client about a photo session.
Her reply, written later, “I found it awkward because any picture I do have of my self is for some sort of accomplishment. There is a reason or purpose in documenting that moment in time. I earned it. Never would I be photographed without reason and I didn’t have one. I felt to have a photograph of myself, aside from the usual selfie, would make me arrogant.
“If you find yourself asking why, here is my answer, “Woman by their very creation are walking, talking works of art. Way too many have lost the concept of their beauty. Woman as Art is a project that celebrates the masterpiece in all of them.”
I’ve always used my eating disorder to hide. It’s always been something I could use to hide from my own feelings and my own personality. I used it to ignore feelings and I let people’s comments on my body and my size be the only thing I based my worth on.
This photo session made me feel like I was breaking free of all of that. Like I was done hiding behind a physical body and was ready to be a real human that deserves validation regardless of her body. Like someone who deserved to let all of that go and love herself again for who she truly is and not the person she hides behind.
There’s been a real movement recently to ‘embrace’ who you are, and that may come from a gradual acceptance, or one decision to do so.
This is a story about one of those decisions.This particular client made such a decision – to have breast reduction surgery.Because, I feel, ‘embracing’ who you are doesn’t have to be about settling for what you have, it’s about being empowered to take charge. To understand that there are risks and consequences for making the decision and for following through with it. And being prepared to live with the consequences.I was not aware that this particular model had reduction surgery until we spoke of it during the session, and she told me that she didn’t really felt like she ‘embraced’ her body – I’d add that she did empower herself to make her own decision, and has since accepted the scars that came as a result of it. “And I would do it again,” she added. “Best decision I ever made for myself.”
On December 7th, 2014. My life changed. I relearned who I was, and I become someone I never knew. It was a chilly December morning in southern Indiana. We were taking a friend home
About 45 minutes into our drive, somehow, we ended up spinning out of control on the highway. I was told we flipped 5 times. I don’t remember that part.
Two of my friends got minor injuries, but I was not okay. I ended up in the back seat of the destroyed vehicle. When they found me, I was unconscious. I remember opening my eyes and seeing the sun. I felt the cold dead grass under my fingertips. Everyone was screaming, they thought I was dead. And I was, my old self died that day.
My neck was broken in 5 places and nerve damage had caused me to become paralyzed down the left side of my body. 1/69th of an inch more and I could have been permanently paralyzed from the neck down.
I would spend a month in the hospital. Rehab taught me to walk again, and I had to learn how to write with my right hand, and so many other day to day tasks I’m still learning how to do better.Because of this day, every single day is the hardest day of my life.
Because of this day, I can’t do things everyone else can do.
Because of this day, I’m still embarrassed of my injuries.
And because this day, I live life a bit more fully. I cherish every laugh, smile, & tear. I thank God for giving me a second chance at life. The old me died that day, she took a terrible person with her and left a wiser, happier & loving person behind. This was my blessing in disguise.
The model’s own words, “You’d be hard pressed to find even an inch of my body that isn’t scarred, stretched, or jiggling. But I AM BEAUTIFUL and no one can convince me otherwise. My body is all mine and it’s been through the wringer and now it’s more a work of art than its ever been.”