My name is Rebecca. I'm a wife and a mom, an educator and a counselor. I'm pushing 40, and on the surface, I'm just your average woman. But there is more than meets the eye. This is my story.
1 in 6 children are sexually abused.
1 in 4 women are raped or sexually assaulted.
1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men experience intimate partner violence.
I am that 1. And that 1. And that 1.
Throughout my childhood, I was abused by 2 male family members. As an adolescent I developed an unhealthy relationship with food. Not only was food a comfort, it was a tool that I used to make myself blend into the background. I didn't want any attention on myself. I didn't want to be seen, especially not by men.
I started gaining weight and losing self-esteem. I did not see myself as anything of worth. I was desperate for love, but I didn't know what love looked like.
When I was around 18, a man stole my heart. I married him at 21. That was the start of nearly a decade of physical, mental, and emotional abuse. I was often told that 'no one would ever love me' because of my weight. The only reason he was with me was because he 'felt sorry for me'. He 'could have anyone he wanted'- and he did. He cheated on me constantly. And towards the end he did t even try to hide it.
About 3 months before our 10th anniversary, he left me for another woman. I was devastated, but I was ready for this chapter to be over. I decided to not let him come back. I changed the locks, changed jobs, and soon after met someone who changed my view of myself forever.
That was 8 years ago. In this last 8 years, I have been reminded of my worth, my intelligence, my beauty. I have moved, earned a bachelor's degree, changed careers, and changed my outlook on life. I changed my last name...5 years ago I remarried.
Last year I started undoing the physical damage that my lifetime of trauma has caused. In October I started a medication to help me get some weight off. While this current journey has not been all rainbows and butterflies, I am constantly making progress. I'm down 65 pounds so far and I'm nowhere near being finished.
Today, I saw myself through Justin's lens. And it helped me so much... I now see who I really am. I see the pain I've endured, but I also see the strength that came from it.
I see the struggle. The scars. The wounds that may never heal. But I also see light. Courage. Endurance. Resilience.
I am beautiful. Not in spite of my life, but because of it. Life is beautiful. And it's just getting better.