Hi, my name is Amy. To be honest with you I never thought that I would ever share my story or my journey about loving myself. This is because the thought of sharing this area of my life causes me a lot of anxiety. However, I am choosing to look fear square in the face and share my story anyway. This is in the hope that whoever reads this will taste freedom and start the journey of loving themselves through reading about my journey. In the business of full transparency as I type this my heart is racing; my palms are sweaty, and my breathing has gotten a little more rapid. So here we go….

I do not remember a time when I didn’t hate who I am and the way that I looked (I know all of the reasons as to why, but this isn’t a therapy session and so can be spoken on at another time). It started off in the smallest of things; me looking at the mole on my cheek and thinking it looked ugly. But as I grew up, it grew bigger until the hatred I felt towards myself consumed me. Nobody knew how much self-hatred I wrestled with because I mastered the art of putting on the show that everybody wanted to see. In order to cope with the self-hatred I felt, I trained myself to shut my emotions down and disengage with myself. If I felt nothing about what I was thinking and feeling about myself, that meant it wasn’t happening and then everything was fine. The best way I can describe this is that I managed to create a panic room inside of myself. It was perfect. It was loaded it with snacks (sometimes too many) and was the perfect place of emotional safety until the coast was clear. I would then dash and out restock the snack supply before my next stint inside. It was great and the perfect solution, even if it had started to become an unhealthy way of living. From the outside I looked perfect, but on the inside, I was self-destructing and instead of having stints in the panic room…. I was living in it. It had become my palace but was also my prison. 

After years of being able to control my dysfunctional inner world everything to take its toll on me and every area of weakness in my life started to consume me. The walls of the panic room were not as strong as I had hoped. I entered a very dark season and I isolated myself from everyone in my life because I was so afraid of people knowing and seeing my inner world. I kept wanting to be found out but if there was any hint of a connection with anybody I would run back into the panic room because I didn’t want to be found out. I would paint on the smile and play the part of being a happy bubbly person so that nobody could get close and see what was really going on inside of me.

It is at this point on my journey where Flo intercepted. We met for coffee and she gently approached me and said she was going to photograph me. She knew nothing about what I was wrestling with at this time (or so I thought…. She is like a ninja with her prophetic gifting) and so as you can imagen she got a flat out “NO”. However, after some time and her arm wrestling me into it (in all truth she said that she would hunt me and make me do it regardless of what I said) reluctantly I agreed. 

On the day of the photoshoot I woke up with enough adrenaline and anxiety pumping around my body to energies about 20 people who had just worked a very long nightshift. The only way I could see this of ending was to not do it and so I promptly sent Flo a text which said ‘oh my life, the amount of adrenaline coursing through me is insane! I am also very blobby, sleepy and spotty today. Just keeping it real’ (aka please don’t make me do it). The response I got was “hahahaha its going to be amazing”. Dang it. 

So, we arrive on a hill side its super misty and windy. Every insecurity I have is fully exposed and I am having flashbacks to my times of self-hatred. I have this constant thought of ‘run’. However, the shoot starts (with a lot of resistance from me) Flo in the beautiful gentle way she does, starts to work on me. Before I knew it, the feelings of panic were gone, my mind was clear, I was relaxing, and I started to enjoy the process. I even started to share a bit of my journey with her, which I vowed I would never share to another soul. She made being photographed so fun and natural. 

Through the process I could start to taste the beginning of life not chained by self-hatred. Through being photographed and loved on by Flo, hope has started to fill my soul because I can life of freedom. Looking through the photos since I have started to see myself truly as beautiful. I see the journey I have been on and the journey still to go in the photos. For someone who trained herself not to feel I can’t stop becoming emotional. 

Now am I saying that a photo shoot has fixed everything inside of myself … no. Am I saying that since the photo shoot I haven’t had days where I have been triggered and spiraled back into self-hatred…. No. However, what I am saying is that if I can begin to taste freedom, so can you. And finally what I am saying is that if Flo comes to you and says you need a shoot let her and open up to the process a lot quicker than I did.