This is a follow up about the pictures I had taken. I ended up not having the photographs taken that day because of the weather, but I did reschedule the session. It gave me just enough time to try some things for the pictures, but not too much to a point that I backed out. This entire experience was a first for so many things..one having someone do my makeup for me. Yeah, so that was really weird. I was pleased with how it looked, but it just felt strange to have someone else applying make up to my face. Then to actually allow enough time in front of the mirror to really see what it looked like was another challenge. I just felt weird about it, but I did it. I even went to a friend’s house for them to give me their opinion. Big girl steps!
I began to feel a little more comfortable looking at myself. I always had an image in my mind of what I thought I looked like. But it always seemed blurry or out of focus. I don’t know that I could have done a very good job describing myself. The image I had in my mind was completely different. Not necessarily good or bad, just different. Then combine that with all of the things that I always told myself-my hair was awful looking, my nose was too big, my makeup looked awful, I was too tall, too fat, too everything. I called myself things like “ugly duckling”. To say I had a problem with self image was an understatement. I don’t want you to think that “Ta Da! I’m now healed of it all” I’m not, but I am getting there!
The photographer that agreed to do the pictures was PHENOMENAL! She was very supportive and patient through the entire process. I didn’t feel anxious or scared at all. Of course it was on my own turf, so that helped. And my dogs kept photo bombing and that helped to lift my spirits. Several weeks later she called to tell me that I could go look at them. That was weird
too. I relied heavily on her to help me choose the ones that I wanted. She had prepared a slide show and it was just odd watching it. She assured me that a lot of people felt that way. That helped me to feel a little “normal”.
Not very many days after that, one of my sisters sent me a picture from the time frame of when I was being abused. In that picture, like most of the pictures I was in, I had my hands over my eyes. When I really started thinking about it, it broke my heart. To know that a five year old little girl was ashamed of herself and felt so little self worth, that she would cover her face up in pictures, was an awful feeling. It made me wish that I could reach into that picture and pick up that little girl and hold her tight. And that, my friends is exactly why I speak out. No child should ever feel guilty, ashamed, belittled, unloved or hopeless. It’s preventable. We just have to do our jobs as adults and protect these sweet, sweet children. It is our job to protect them and insure that they grow up with their innocence intact.
When she had the pictures ready, I realized that I felt a little excited and nervous too. When I got back to my computer, I held my breath and popped the thumb drive in. Then took another deep breath and opened the folder. I didn’t stare at the pictures, but I was able to really look at them. I didn’t start picking myself a part. However, I did realize that all of my physical scars are barely noticeable. That is a huge difference, because I was bad for picking at my face. Although you can’t see the emotional scars, they always had a huge presence in my life. I always imagined that the emotional scars were visible as well. Although I have tried very hard to cover them up through various coping mechanisms, I just always felt like they were on display for everyone to see.
At the end of the day, I felt like I had won a huge battle. I was able to push back. I was able to silence the enemy for the time being. John Maxwell said “We should never let what we cannot do keep us from doing what we can do. A passive life never turns into a meaningful life”. There are some things that we are all unable to do, but there are far more that we can do. Don’t be afraid to jump and spread your wings. You can rise above childhood sexual abuse or any other thing that you are fighting. It’s all part of His plan. “I will not cause pain without allowing something new to be born, says the Lord”- Isaiah 66:9.
It is my prayer that one day, children will no longer be victims of any kind of abuse. I hope that will be your prayer too. Together we can stop abuse!