From a young age I suffered from low self esteem, it wasn’t until I became a mother I would discover that there was a multitude of long term issues I hadn’t dealt with in association with being given up as a baby. I was raised with my mothers family, a great upbringing where I was provided with every bit of love and protection a child would need. Still, feelings of ‘rejection’ and questioning weather I was ‘good enough’ would haunt me throughout a huge portion of my life.
At the age of 12 the grieving and feeling of loss developed into an eating disorder after someone I love and trusted pointed out my legs and bottom were ‘wobbly’. My life changed forever that day. Internalising my body dissatisfaction meant I wore a mask most my life. Keeping up with the persona I built to conceal my pain was hard, particularly when my eating disorder began to effect my well being and trigger other problems such as anxiety. Later in life I received another blow, falling victim to several years of sexual abuse, again by someone I loved and trusted. It was a long battle putting my offender away and during the process of court and their imprisonment my eating disorder became life threatening.
My love for fashion and beauty kept me sane, having the power to make others feel beautiful was so rewarding. I became so passionate about my work, it was more than an outfit, more than makeup, I had the ability to empower another. Equipping woman with the know-how to dress for success or look and feel good through the use of cosmetics meant I was never the ‘man in the mirror’. I could avoid facing what I saw in my own reflection.
My journey was long and for the most part, sad. I lost some great friends and found myself succumbing easily to abusive relationships. Addressing these wounds required time and a shit-load of bravery. It was easy for me to play victim and stay connected to painful life experiences, but in doing so, my view of the world was distorted. Anytime anything went wrong in my life I felt a sense of injustice, I was the victim.
That was until, I met my son, Ryder.
Becoming a mother saved my life. I could no longer live within the safety of my pain-body, each milestone I achieved as a mother was a form of dismantling the walls I had built, brick by brick. I began to attract things to my life that were good for me, in particular, my husband. I tried very hard to sabotage our relationship in every way not feeling worthy of his love. My husbands mastery of my emotions and ability to see through all my damage made me resist the fight to flee. During a rocky first year of a relationship, I began a difficult journey of self realisation. I adopted a different mindset, unscrewed the lens I viewed the world through and took accountability for life’s experiences. Stepping out of past hurt meant I could also accept the things that happen to me that were beyond my control, allowing me to finally move forward with my life.
Its hard for me to articulate exactly how cruel I have been to myself, and even harder to illustrate the continual challenge I face each day. Living with a severe and enduring eating disorder has been a wearying journey. Together, hubby and I have worked hard to establish a healthy home environment and live a fit lifestyle. This invaluable support, love and understanding from my husband has helped me effectively manage my eating disorder.
I believe my collaboration with Novella Woman’s Portraiture was written, meant to be. The Wellington based team of two, built their portrait studio in order to create a community of self loving woman. Their work is largely centred around photography of oneself in their purest forms, beauty at its rarest, in natural settings and environments.
These photographs are testimony to my story, providing perfect insight to where I am today…
If you feel you may be suffering from an eating disorder its important to understand the sooner you get treatment the better chances of recovery are. Visit your GP, from there you will receive the help you need. Early intervention can help prevent a long term illness.
Thank you Michelle & Ivy for the incredible Novella experience. Thank you for how comfortable you made me feel, all the laughs and teary mummy moments. Most importantly thank you for helping me share my story in the most beautiful way possible.