In 2018 I started a 100 day self portrait project to share my personal experience with domestic violence. Free From Shame has continued, as healing from trauma is a long and complex journey.
In 2016 I was nearly beaten to death by a long time partner. I watched as bullets somehow missed my skin, a completely out of body experience, and realized this was a moment of divine intervention. I wasn’t listening, I wasn’t leaving and now it had come to this extreme moment in my life.
I had been hiding the abuse for years and drowning in shame, even my closest friends had no idea what was going on. That night was unequivocally one of the worst of my life, but one that caused me to ask for help, and finally chose myself. In the weeks and months that followed, my life crumbled around me. I chose to walk away from a life I had spent over a decade building, my business, my house and all of my belongings aside from clothes and personal effects. It took many years to heal, to learn to trust myself and others again. Lots of messy tears and living out of trauma responses. Years of living in fear. I do not condone what happened to me, but in order to get my life back, I had to take full responsibility for what occurred in my life. I had to forgive him, and accept the version of me that loved someone who would chose to hurt me.
A few things have been foundational in my healing journey. Creative expression, sailing and the many who have supported me in my journey. Sharing my journey has shown me that I am not alone, and that so many women (and men) face IPV every year. It is often shrouded in shame and so difficult to talk about. I hope to change that. Sailing and owning a boat has changed my life in every single way. It has built confidence, worthiness, skills and boundaries, as well as provided a safe space to feel and heal. Lastly, there have been many who held my hand and wiped my tears in the journey back to wholeness.
This is my story, of survival, healing and shining light into the darkest places I have ever know. This very personal project, that grows and evolves as I continue to heal and am able to share that journal with the world.
When we realize we are not alone, and we have the ability to make something from the beautiful broken bits of ourselves, magical things happen.
If you are interested in telling your story through photography and exploring healing through art with me, please reach out.
#freefromshame lives in it’s entirety on Instagram @freefromshame