"I have struggled with self love and self acceptance for as long as I can remember. Over the past 15 years I've put my body through physical and emotional hell, through countless diets, pills and painful "shapewear" to make myself look thinner.
I would look at myself in the mirror and hate everything I saw. I used to fantasize about waking up in a different body than my own, having a different life. This self criticism went on for a long time. In 2010, I had weight loss surgery and lost 80lbs in 9 months. While this weight loss did positive things for my health, my mind was still at war. Even at my lowest weight, I still hated my body. Nothing was ever good enough. "
"It wasn't until last year that I began to change my self perception and negative self talk. I started to pick out the things I really liked about myself, even if it was just one or two things. I began to say 'I love you' to myself in the mirror at night, which felt very strange at first but then started to feel normal. I began to walk with more confidence, smile more, wear less make up out in public and put my focus into what made me happy. Little by little, it began to make a difference.
Participating in the 'Just Me' photo shoot felt so right to me. It was almost like my journey to self love led me to this experience, to really show how much progress I had made over the last year. Of course, this photo-shoot still felt foreign to me in the beginning. It was uncomfortable and strange - especially when I was being photographed in certain poses that showed off the parts of myself I've tried to hide for so long. But even in the awkwardness.....I felt a wave of love coming over me. Love for myself and love for other people in my life. Its true that once you start to love yourself, you can truly love other people at the fullest."
"I would absolutely do something like this again, this was such an important thing for me to experience. I truly feel that every woman should do something like this. Once I saw my photos I was speechless, those photos were me. Me and ONLY me. I chose to share my photos on social media; share them without shame, without justification. I chose to share them out of pure love for the person I am with the body I have. The response I received after sharing these pictures was overwhelming. I was flooded with love and admiration for doing this photo-shoot, so many women I know told me the photos inspired them - which made this experience all the more worth it.
Thank you Amy for this experience, it was truly a necessary step in my journey to self love. I am SO thrilled to see the work you are doing with this project and with your behind the scenes social media groups. Its things like that, that can make a difference in our world. Having the power to help women feel beautiful is a profound and glorious skill."
I loved her reveal. She had a very "normal" reaction, with nerves, contemplation (not shown, because watching people look at photos that you can't see is pretty boring), revelations, nice things to say about herself in the images, and had a difficult time selecting her favorites because she loved so many. If you've wondered what a reveal is, this is a really great video to watch through! The images are printed and framed, sitting on ledges, and the GoPro is recording. :)