Here we go, with sweaty nervous hands, a fast heartbeat, and tears just waiting on standby.   I’m notorious for holding back feelings. Just ask my husband.  And when I let them out, they just come crashing in like a tidal wave!

Honestly, I’ve been wanting to write this post now for 2 months.  I’ve been thinking about this project since the beginning of summer.   I kept asking myself, what is taking you so long, just write the damn post Melissa.  But I couldn’t.  It’s not that I didn’t have material to write about, I do.  It’s not that I don’t have a good support system, I definitely do. I was terrified most of being judged by my family and friends. People I love so much.

For fear of being judged or talked about, I simply put off this post.  Then I thought to myself a few weeks ago, who the heck cares!  I’m sure there is someone at any given moment talking about someone (possibly me).  People are going to talk, people are going to judge, but what I came to realize is that everyone in the world can judge me. I’m actually okay with that.  I’d rather be judged by everyone than to not share my experience.

This project also has nothing to do with wedding photography, btw.  However this project all stemmed from one bride.

One night, we were driving home from a wedding in the city.  It was late, and Michael fell asleep.  Normally, I sing my heart out because I’m still on a wedding reception high, but on this particular night, I was quiet on our drive home.  I got to thinking about the wedding we shot that day and how gorgeous I thought the bride was.  Even without the white dress, and the makeup, and the lovely hair, she is just a natural beauty.  Inside and out. She seemed so comfortable and confident in her own skin (but not in an egocentric type of way). I admired her. I thought to myself, wow, I wish I felt the way she did eight years ago.

So on this midnight ride home, thoughts and ideas were stirring in my mind.  This particular bride, fueled a spark inside me, she inspired me.  I felt it was time to talk about my struggles, my experiences and it was time to try and help someone else.  I don’t expect to save the world, but if I can help just one person, I consider this project a success.

At first, this project started out as me using my passion and talent to document the beauty of other woman.  With woman that had insecurities at some point in their lives. I think most of us can fit into that category.  Am I right? So I wanted to take it a step further. I want to photograph women who have had serious insecurities that affected there life in some shape or form.  For example:  During my junior year of high school, I had an eating disorder.  What started out as insecurities about my body, led to anorexia which turned into bulimia and continued for six years.  I had an addiction for six whole years of my life.  Six years that I cannot do over.  I felt like I let this illness rob me of 6 glorious, beautiful years.  I know the saying goes, live life without regrets.  I cannot say, that that was a good time in my life, a moment in time that I was proud of.  And I’ll be honest, I wish I never experienced it.  But, I did.  And now instead of hiding behind that past, I see the silver lining of it.  It’s a very big problem in our world today.  So many of us are oblivious to it, but it is a huge problem.  Eating disorders know no limits when it comes to gender, age, social status, etc.

My eating disorder took over my life.  As much as I tried to “get better” or eat like a “normal person”, I always found myself back where I was.  And what I was doing was killing myself slowly, one day at a time.  I felt like life as I knew it was spiraling out of control. My daily routine became very much a pattern.  An unhealthy and sad pattern.  My disorder ruined every one of my relationships (except this one, but Michael has helped me through it).  But until I met him, I felt like a failure.  Everything was failing.  To give you some perspective as to how unhealthy I was.  Pre-eating disorder, I was 125lbs, 5’8.  At my all time low, I was 92 lbs.   I am currently 117 pounds.  Still thin, but I have always been thin.  I get that now.  My mind isn’t tricking me anymore. Mentally, I’ve found my happy place.  And now I can talk about it. It’s not hard to talk about.

I do not want to tell you my entire story now.  But just a glimpse.  I will be getting deep into my own life story as I will be the last subject to be photographed in this project.  But I do want to tell you the reason I am doing this project.  Yes I’m doing it for awareness and because I have a story to tell, but I’m also doing it for my children Ava and Bella.  I never want them to feel as if they are not good enough.  I never want them to feel they are not pretty, or not skinny enough.  I am trying to be the best influence for my girls.  I encourage them daily.  You will never find me criticizing myself in front of them.  You will never find me checking myself out in a mirror around them  (unless we are in the changing room together, and even in there, I’m positive). I encourage active living and healthy eating to them, but I will never put them down in a way that makes them feel the way I felt.  And if ever that day comes that they feel like that (our society has a way of doing that to young girls), I will continue to encourage them to be comfortable in their own skin.  Being comfortable and confident in “imperfect” skin (because let’s be honest, we are all imperfect) is far more beautiful than being uncomfortable and not confident in perfect skin.

The project details:

I’m looking for 10 supportive women that have had some insecurities in their lives that they are willing to share to others what they’ve experienced(you’ll be getting your own shoot, and a blog post all about you!).  This number may also vary depending on the response.  I would love to photograph every female in this world, but with timing, and having little girls of my own, I can only give so much time.  Who knows, depending on the amount of responses, I may make this on going and do one every year.

I’m not just looking for women that have had eating disorders, or have eating disorders.   And if you’re afraid to be judged like I was, then you should talk about it.  Because so many others feel the same way you do.

This project will be ongoing for the next year.  There will be a blog post about each woman, including myself.  At the very end, I’ll bring it all together for a big bang.

I will be donating all of my time and talent, I also have several other amazing vendor friends that are doing the same.

However, the shoot is not completely free.  You must be comfortable donating $150 (myself included).  All proceeds being donated to Rewrite Beautiful. A non-profit that focuses on rewriting what beauty means and creatively changing how girls see beauty in themselves.  Check them out, they are amazing and so inspiring.

You must also give me creative freedom.  🙂  I want you to be open minded and allow me to photograph your beauty the way I see it.

This project will also be shot mostly on film.  Why?  I love the process and the anticipation of seeing the film. Every single time, it’s like Christmas morning. It excites me, just like this project.

What I am not looking for:

I am not looking for women that just want to update their facebook profile with a new pretty picture.   Sorry this isn’t the right project for you.

This project is the most vulnerable thing I’ve ever done {Ahh jeez…tears}.  And my expectations with it are not crazy.  I do not expect this project to go viral, but I do hope that you’ll share this in hopes of raising awareness.  I also hope that by you sharing, more woman will reach out to me. If we can all just help one person or even better, save one life, that would make this a successful project. So please help me spread the word about this project.

If you’d like to help out in other ways for this project please email me at melissa@m2-photography.net  I could always use more talent {hair stylists, makeup, floral, clothing, etc}, supplies, money to fund film and processing, and travel.  Anything is greatly appreciated.

xoxo,

Melissa.

 

The first gal in my project is a dear friend of mine from Boston.  I love her to death and I want nothing more than to see her happy. She has been through so much heartache, but she keeps living her life the best she can and that is so inspiring. She is a beautiful soul! A full blog post with lots of pictures coming soon!  A special thank you to my friend Tanti from Papertini for donating this floral crown!

Re-write-beautiful-passion-project Re-write-beautiful-passion-project Re-write-beautiful-passion-project

 

 

21 responses to “The Silver Lining of a Recovered Bulimic.”

  1. Austin says:

    Absolutely, beautifully written. What a great project and cause to support. You are such an inspiration, I can’t wait to follow along and hear their stories.

  2. Sharalee says:

    Thanks for sharing, dear. You’re an inspiration. I’m excited to see where this leads…three cheers for shedding light and hope into dark places!

  3. Jenna says:

    Much love and support…xo

  4. Sarah says:

    I know you were scared to post this, but I’m so so so glad you did! If this wasn’t something that had a great deal of meaning, you wouldn’t find it nerve wracking to hit that publish button. As a fellow recovered bulimic, I just want to say thank you. Thank you for beaning brave enough to share. Thank you or encouraging discussion. And thank you for starting such a positive project with such a strong focus on showing women how beautiful they really are. Being able to so that is why I fell in love with photography, so I’m so excited to see you start something where that’s the goal.

  5. Megan says:

    Melissa,

    Thank you so much for sharing! I feel like women spend so much time comparing and bashing each other that we completely miss that we are all dealing with many of the same issues. Growing up I watched my sister, Sara deal with bulimia and anorexia. Your story is very similar to hers and telling your story really opens up the door to a great dialogue about all of our own insecurities. I love this project and commend you for creating it!

  6. Josh says:

    Proud of you for putting yourself out there like this. It’s not easy to do! Sending you all my love and well wishes for this to be a success that changes many lives!

  7. Stephanie Ann says:

    This a beautiful post and a beautiful project. I well know the fear when trying to press “post” when you have just written something raw and real. It takes courage to open up your wounds to the world. But showing your wounds is the best gift you can give someone else who is suffering. Stay strong and keep inspiring.

  8. Meredith says:

    I am in awe of you, your journey, and your project. I’ve struggled with my weight for most of my life; some days are better than others. Your project gives me hope. I can’t wait to see how it unfolds!

  9. Liz and Ryan says:

    So incredibly proud of you!! Thank you so much for putting yourself out there to help others! You are beautiful inside and out! XOXO!

  10. Kathryn Denelle Stevens says:

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you for sharing, Melissa. This is inspiring to me in so many ways! And, what a beautiful person you have for your first subject!!!!

  11. Kay says:

    Beautiful project. Thank you for sharing.

  12. Andrea says:

    Praying this reaches out to the right people who can receive the gift you have. I have found in my ‘older’ age, that if I’m willing to give it all up to the Lord He has been faithful to use the pain and suffering from my past for my good today. Its an amazing journey when you finally sigh… “ya know Lord, I’m kinda glad I went through it” bc now I have something to give others who are hurting too. It might be a painful loss or a trauma but the Lord can turn that ugly sore into a beautifully healed scar… like people that share all their surgeries LOL… we can share our pain in such a way as to encourage others to heal and be proud of their scars, because not only did they survive, but they brought healing with them. God bless, andrea

  13. Richelle says:

    You’re incredible and I’m so lucky to know you. Thanks for having such an amazing spurt of bravery… I’ve been waiting to see what wonderful thing you’ve had up your sleeves… and girl, it’s wonderful.

  14. Buddy says:

    I would like to tell you about my wifue Judy. She has always had concerns about her weight. She is large and sometimes uncomfortable in her self. She moves around around pleasing others with kind words and actions. Her beauty is her fair skin , and compassion.

  15. Jen Richard says:

    This is an absolutely beautiful and stunning project, I will be following closely. Thank you for have the courage to put yourself out there, you are going to help and inspire more people than you can imagine 🙂

  16. SOOO proud of you! This is amazing. Proud to call you a friend. 🙂

  17. Amanda Burns says:

    Melissa – you are such a warm, loving woman and I haven’t even met you. Your strength radiates from this and the project you are undertaking. You will empower many women to take a step back and cherish their lives and what they have because it can be taken away in an instance, and that is not something we can ever get back. We all have our battles – and within our own realm they may seem earth shattering to us and minor to others, but what matters is how we help each other overcome our fears, fight our battles and come out on the other end standing tall and proud of who we are. (My high school years and relationships until I met my husband freshman year of college mirror what you have shared with us.)

  18. Anna says:

    I have always struggled with self esteem issues…this project is beautiful and so encouraging!! I have a little girl also who I hope never feels a bit less than the amazing girl that she is! Thank you so much Melissa for your courage is sharing your story!!! 🙂

  19. Serenna Evers says:

    Melissa,
    Thanks for sharing your heart! Such an awesome project!!

  20. Dani says:

    Such a wonderful project, Melissa. It seems the work of a lifetime to undo the hurtful voices in our minds and to remind ourselves we are beautiful and loved- but isn’t it worth it. This concept is glorious. I am so excited to watch it unfold.

    All my love <3

  21. […] who was looking for people to be involved with a piece that she’s doing. After reading her story, I decided to contact her. While I was hesitant at first, I figured at the least I could share my […]

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