I’m 23 years old. I have my own house, my own car, the one thing I’m working on getting back is my own body. I take care of my body just like everything else but it feels like a rental for other people to use. I have been raped 3 times in my life. First time was by who I genuinely thought was my best friend. We grew up together, shared secrets and did everything together. Second time was by a man who said he “wanted to get to know me better.” We were alone for 20 minutes before my friends found me. The last and worst time was a complete stranger. I got drugged at the bars. I woke up in a pitch black room with a man I couldn’t see inside me. When I tried to kick him off it was incredibly weak from the drugs. He punched me in the face and knocked me out after offering oral sex to “make up for it.” He was completely aware of what he was doing. That one sent me to the hospital where I received absolutely no help. I couldn’t walk for 3 days and struggled to walk for nearly 2 weeks after. Every time the thought of “at least he’s doing it to me so he can’t hurt anyone else right now” ran through my head trying to justify why this was happening to me. I never reported any of these to the police. I have struggled with diagnosed MDD (major depressive disorder), PTSD, and loads of anxiety amongst other things. PTSD is h a r d. I want so badly to get married and have kids but the idea seems so far out to me I don’t know that it will happen. I’ve spent 31 days in a behavioral rehabilitation center trying to fix myself. For so long I haven’t been able to be alone with a man let alone be in an intimate setting with one. This storyteller shoot would have been impossible for me just a year ago. A man taking pictures of me like that? Absolutely not. My therapist kept telling me for things to change you have to change. Be scared and do it anyway. I have implemented that into my life since the day I left rehab. This shoot was absolutely incredible. To have such a safe space to open yourself up like that is mind blowing. The realization that safe spaces do actually exists flipped a switch in my brain that I can put myself out there again without always being in danger. I truly am so grateful for Rachel and Justin. Seeing myself in these pictures was just like…. holy smokes that is ME. That instantaneous feeling of I have literally nothing to be ashamed of in my own skin is crazy. I 100% recommend this to anyone struggling with body image or not feeling at home in their own skin.
BE SCARED AND DO IT ANYWAY!!!!!