If I had it my way I would like to see my whole body differently. The scars and stretch marks seem to be the roads and waterways on the map that encases me. My curves and bulges are the mountains that have been ongoing obstacles in my journey to self empowerment and confidence. The craters and dimples remind me of just how deep the doubt I have in myself truly are. I am aware enough to know that every individual is so different and no two are the same but still insecure enough to let the doubt sometimes consume me.  I’m an obsessive thought kind of gal who remembers the negative words and actions that have been made in regards to what the media has said is negative more than the positive remarks that have been made. The negativity has caused anxiety attacks and even times where I cover every mirror in the house for weeks at a time as not to be reminded of all the things that society has told me makes me me less than perfect.

Who would I be if I saw my body differently and didn’t see it as a deterrent?

When I first saw this question I knew it would be very emotional to answer. I’ll be candid and truthful in my response.  I would be a person who wasn’t held in captivity by the validation of others. I probably would have saved myself years of letting the approval of random strangers lead to meaningless empty sexual gratification as a bandaid or false “stamp of approval“ that I was indeed attractive or enough. I probably would have not been ashamed to stand in front of a crowd and use one of my greatest talents to it’s fullest capacity. I know the reason I am so uncomfortable on stage is because the thought of a room full of people staring at me causes my heart rate to rise and my palms to sweat and my knees begin to buckle because I obsess that they are judging my appearance. I probably wouldn’t cover my body in baggy clothing and try to hide the actual shape of the way I am built.

I really hope that when people see the photos you have taken they leave with a sense of familiarity and understanding. I hope not only other people but myself included see the beauty and the strength it took for me to do this. I hope when they see the stretch marks that they are moved to embrace theirs. I hope when they see the scars on my body they realize that with every scar is a story that few aside from me will ever know. I hope they see the softness and tenacity of my spirit in the closeups of my skin. I want little girls to be empowered and see that there is power and strength in vulnerability. I want the men who told me time and time again I could reach my greatest potential if I just lost 10/20lbs to know that their words didn’t break me and their approval will NEVER define me. The adults in my life who instead of teaching me to love my body and be proud of it taught me that I should instead be ashamed and alter it will see that they were wrong. Most importantly I really hope that the people who view these pictures see that I am a woman and this is my home. A home I am proud of. Every thing they see just houses the power of who I am and really showcases the things that have made up my life. Things I would never change because they make up the very essence of who I am . I hope they will be moved to start embracing themselves. When I see these photos I hope they remind me on my dark days that I am beautiful my measurements don’t define me. My body is my home and it has been built by years of overcoming, surviving and thriving mental, physical and emotional abuse and neglect. I am beautiful and I am enough.