Down deep, I never thought I was anyone special. My primary caregiver, my Mom, lived in her world and was often seeking escape from her life in a romance or mystery novel with a box of chocolates. As a child, this left me longing for connection but instead, I got pushed away. And when I would try to get closer to her by climbing into her lap, I was told no, because I would cause varicose veins. This always hurt my feelings and left me feeling even more unworthy and alone, while it also only strengthened my resolve to never need anyone. But, the longing for connection is something so strong that it doesn't turn off at the flip of a switch. Especially when you're a small child.
My Mom was often escaping the responsibilities of being a single parent of four without a job or any family or friends nearby. The problem was, that while she escaped, I lived in my own kind of hell. I was often left in the care of others while my Mom ran errands.
That is how I learned about sex.
Being used for someone else's gratification is a feeling no child should ever experience. It's a lonely and trapped feeling. BUT, I was strong and articulate enough to tell my Mom about what was happening to me. Unfortunately, SHE told me I had misunderstood.
I was a heartbroken little girl who felt undeserving of being protected or valued. I took that lonely, trapped, misunderstood ball of sad, unworthy feelings and shoved it down deep and locked it up. I carried it everywhere with me into adulthood. Looking for a way to escape.
Food? Okay, maybe sometimes.
Need to control? Yes. For a very long time.
And then, I found my most favorite escape:
Solitude with my camera.
It unlocked that ball of a mess I kept trying to hide for years.
I "found myself" while photographing all the insignificant and seemingly useless weeds in my haven I call my yard.
I found them beautiful and useful even though they have been overlooked and trampled on. While photographing them, I began to see myself as beautiful despite my breaks and bruises. These typically forgotten, pushed away and unwanted insignificant weeds made me realize how I could overcome those things that happened to me when I was a child. I survived my trauma and my blemishes are what make me who I am. Strong, wanted and beautiful.
Looking back, I can understand the need to escape.
Except, now, when I feel like I need to escape, I wander out into my yard, take my camera and begin shooting. I am not alone. I am surrounded by hope.
Hope Growing Wild has been birthed from a strong desire to help women like me find hope and worthiness. My photographs remind me I am capable of doing hard things despite how much I have been poisoned by my past or how much I have been walked on. I want that for you too!