As a kid, I journaled a lot. I wrote almost every day.
It was my way of dealing with my feelings and getting it out. When I started photography, that became my new way of expressing myself. I started by taking self-portraits. I was getting bullied for my looks in school. And in a very short amount of time, I lost two people in my life that meant a lot to me. One of them was my best friend. Instead of getting hooked on drugs or alcohol to deal with emotions, I became very introverted and started going on photo adventures by myself.
As soon as I graduated high school, I was out of the house. I moved in with the boy I'd "fallen' in love with. I had stopped journaling and I stopped taking self-portraits. Instead, I started to use all my energy on making photography my career. Fast forward 4 years and I stopped taking self-portraits completely. I stopped sharing anything about my life and slowly started to become more and more depressed.
For 5 years, it was a mixture of many things.
I'd got onto birth control that completely changed me as a person, physically and emotionally. As well as into a relationship. In 2 years - I gained 70lbs. I was becoming so lost and confused with my own body that I allowed myself to stay in a mentally abusive relationship that was also killing my self-esteem and happiness.
So why now?
Our break up was in June 2016 and even though it has been a year, I am still working on rebuilding myself after all those years. Now, I am in the healthiest relationship I have ever been in and I'm the happiest I've ever been. The amount of support and growth I've been able to make this year has been substantial and I truly don't think I would have grown the way I did without the man I am with now.
As I've started to share my story over social media, I've had so many women and men reaching out to me to tell me I've been inspiring or helpful. It has truly changed my life. I had no idea that me sharing my own stories would help or inspire others. It has truly left me speechless.
Knowing how many lives I've changed - I only want to continue. I felt very alone for a very long time and I want to help keep other women away from that.