Freedom from our scars. This is a project that I came up with several years ago and have finally gotten the ball rolling on the first part (of many) with this project. Now the rest of the posts will not need this long introduction but this first one needs a little bit so you can all know what this project is about. The freedom from our scars project. I thought of this project because I believe as humans we all have scars that we are trying to free ourselves from whether it be with how we view ourselves or something that has happened in our lives. I also believe we need our stories to be told so others can know they are not the first nor the last who are going through something.
In this project each new part will feature a session with someone who has a story to tell and are willing to let me tell it. I want people to see the photos I take of them and see what I see. See someone who is empowered, strong, beautiful and worth listening to. The sessions will often be somewhat vulnerable because when you force yourself to be vulnerable you empower and stretch yourself.
I asked Hannah to put into her own words a piece of her own story, here's what she wrote:
"The idea of beauty in the world is flawed. Woman compare and hate and struggle to look a certain way and it never is good enough. Why?
I struggled with an eating disorder for a very long time. My idea of beauty was flawed. I wanted to control what I looked like in a world where most things were out of control. My perception of beauty was to weigh 90 pounds. It was like an addiction and starving myself and throwing up when I did eat was my drug. I hid it for a long time and it was the loneliest and hardest time in my life...until I decided that God made me exactly how he intended. I was puking when my mom walked in on me crying and said, "be kind to my Hannah." Those words resonated with me and I couldn't handle hurting my family. I started going to counseling and church more and pressed into people that loved me when I could not love myself. I wanted to do this project because it is empowering to not only me, but other woman. Every single person is made differently, and that is beauty. I am empowered that I am able to look at these photos and not want to make myself throw up. I am proud of the woman I see in the photos and that she is no longer starving and that she has come so far. Every day is a struggle for any person with an addiction, but that's just it. You have to take it one day at a time, press into God, and praise Him that he made you exactly how he planned it.
You. Are. Enough. Love yourself in every moment you are in, and remember to be kind to yourself."
I loved my time in the studio with Hannah, catching up and hearing what a photo shoot like this really meant for her. I have known Hannah for many years now and it is so amazing to see how she has changed and overcome so many things to become the strong, powerful, independent woman she is today. The thing with low self esteem, eating disorders and poor body image is the fight often never fully goes away but every empowering moment of self love and acceptance is a win and a step closer in the right direction. And every success story shared is one more positive influence for someone going through the same thing. This is why I want to help share others stories. This is how we can have freedom from our scars, by telling our stories and showing there is hope and it does get better.
Now without any further introduction here is Hannah, The Freedom From Our Scars Project Part One.