The power of words: what someone says to you can stick with you for years, for a lifetime, it can become what you say to yourself. The words of those we love, trust and look up to affect us the most and are most easily internalized. We can cary negative ideas/beliefs about ourselves that have no baring in reality but that have completely shaped how we see ourselves and how we present ourselves to the world just because someone told us that's who we were.
As someone who was bullied and who believed the worst about herself, I know first hand the power of words. I hated myself, and thought I was ugly and worthless for years until I was able to stop the internal dialogue of negative thinking/words and replace them with words of love. That's what I wanted to do with these girls, my wonderful senior ROLEmodels, who are going through one of the toughest times in life, high school. I wanted to help them see the negative and hateful words that others have said and that they've said about themselves and see just how completely untrue they are. I wanted to help them replace those dark ideas with words of love and light and self acceptance. Doing this visually by writing the words on their bodies helped bring them out into the light where the girls could more clearly see they falseness. And then wiping them away and replacing them with words of love was a therapeutic outward show of the change I hope to start internally.
This exercise was not just for the few girls who were able to do it, but my hope is that it can show all who see this series the true power of words in their own lives. I hope that in seeing these images you analyze your own ideas about yourself and ask yourself where they came from? Are they still true for you right now or is it time to let them go?
I want to thank Beth, Clare, Jess, and Shivali for being so emotionally honest and open with me and my camera. I love you all dearly and want you to keep remembering that only the words of love are actually true, the rest you can let go of forever.
To all who read this and see this series I want you to know you are not alone. You are loved, you are enough and you are worthy or love, others, but most of all your own.