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Emily’s Story: Learning to be seen AND heard…

July 4, 2023

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From Struggle to Empowerment

Anyone who knows me, knows that I love to talk. Possibly a little too much- depending on who you ask. So of course, this story teller session was right up my alley. As women, we’re told from our youngest memories that we should be seen and not heard. But, I think it’s time for our voices to be heard.

I had a rough childhood to say the least. I had to grow up entirely too fast. I went through sexual, physical, and emotional abuse from the ages 6-13. By several different people. Many times, the people that are meant to protect us, fail to do so. As soon as I thought I was safe from that, I found myself in a long term, extremely toxic, and abusive relationship. Then another one right after that. I went through pure hell for years. While dealing with all of that, I also struggled with an eating disorder for as long as I can remember. Next thing I knew, I was a 22 year old stay at home mom with a 2 year old. Often times, we settle for what we think we deserve because it’s all we’ve ever known. Rewriting our stories can often be the most difficult things we do in our lives. I gathered all the strength I had left and decided that it ends with me. I refused to carry it on to the family I was creating for myself.

I am currently 23. I honestly never thought I would make it here. While being so young, I feel like I went through a lifetime of trauma. I’m glad to say I got out of the toxic relationship. I have come to terms with the abuse I endured throughout my childhood. I’m breaking generational curses for my little boy. And I have the most beautiful relationship with a man who has been more than patient with me. But, I still struggle with the mentality that anything sexual is bad. I also still struggle with my eating disorder. But, for the first time in my entire life, I feel like I have a healthy relationship with food. However, this is also the heaviest I’ve ever been which is so triggering for me. Taking care of yourself mentally & physically is SO hard. When your brain has been wired a certain way for so many years, it’s hard to rewire that. But, little by little, I’m relearning the things I was once taught. The correct way this time. It’s taken me almost 2 years to remember who I was before it all went wrong. I desperately hoped this session would help me with that rewiring process, but I had no idea how much it would truly do for me.

I walked into the studio with a weight on my chest. I was afraid that my mind would let the trauma win. I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to truly see myself. I was worried that it would trigger my eating disorder again, after I’ve worked SO hard to have a healthy relationship with food. But, I’ve genuinely never felt more powerful and beautiful. Justin and Rachel made me feel like I owned that studio. All of the negative thoughts, all of the trauma I endured, and all of the doubts were no where to be found. I was able to see myself and my body in a light that I had never seen. A way that I NEEDED to see myself. I saw the little girl that refused to stay silent. I saw the strength of a teenage girl that said enough is enough. I saw a woman that conquered all of her battles, just to create the life she always wanted to live. I was able to feel sexy without feeling ashamed. For the first time in a long time, I was so amazed at the way MY body looked. And I absolutely carried all of those feelings out of the studio doors with me when my session was over!!

They tell us to keep quiet. They tell us it’s better left unsaid. They tell us that no one would understand. So we do just that. We don’t get justice and we don’t have a support system. We’re left to fight with our own minds, when the person right beside us is fighting the same battle. If only we knew what the people around us were going through. Speak up. Tell YOUR story and tell it loud!! Even when they don’t wanna hear it- our stories deserve to be told. Even if it only helps one person to feel less alone in their struggle. Remember, there is nothing more powerful than a woman who makes sure her voice is heard!!

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Justin & Rachel

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