Friday, September 7, 2012

Christina the Warrior ~ Welcome to the Photo Divine Mafia!!

One of my favorite aspects of life are little things known as "divine intervention": a term for a miracle perceived to be caused by a Deity's active involvement in the human world. This is how I feel that we came to know Christina. Kyla and I met her the same year that Photo Divine emerged from our brains. Five years later, Christina entered our lives again, this time from a different angle. Every time I learn something new about Christina, I am more and more convinced that our relationship is a miracle. Here are her own words about her Photo Divine experience. Thank you Christina, this is why we "Paint the Dog"!

"Everyone has her own reasons for doing a Photo Divine shoot. This was not about me trying to be sexy, or creating something for someone else. This was a declaration, a defiant roar in my personal battles for myself. I wanted to come away from this experience with symbolic images to inspire me in my process going forward.

I had to “be the responsible, serious adult” from a very young age. But there is another side of me, a happy kid I never knew when I was younger. I needed to celebrate this part of me, and also to affirm that this is Good. That it’s ok to come out and play. Kyla & Wesley worked with this concept on my photo shoot. I eventually let go and enjoyed the process. What really surprised me when I saw the photos is how they managed to capture a purity in some of the photos I would never have described as “innocent.” This blows me away.

I have had to be strong in order to survive many kinds of abuse. I know I can survive just about anything, but I have emerged hard, rough, and tomboy-tough. But I am learning to use this strength to be fully feminine, and this courage to be vulnerable. I wanted to remind myself that I am a warrior, and also a woman.

I didn’t wait to reach my goal weight before I did my Photo Divine shoot. After years of ups and downs with eating disorders, I knew it was important for me to find beauty in myself “as is,” wherever I was in my process.

I was truly shocked that I liked so many photos of myself! That has never happened before. And it wasn’t just one outfit or setting that made the pictures work, so I couldn’t explain it all away with props. It was ME, and Kyla & Wesley’s ability to create those beautiful images of me. I’m still amazed.

When you struggle with eating disorders, the hardest part is the mental torment—the self-conscious obsession with real and imagined flaws in your body and your core self. My favorite take-away from this experience is that somehow through meeting with Kyla & Wesley, working on the questionnaire, braving the photo shoot, and seeing beauty in the images afterwards, I am now LESS painfully aware of how I look. I still don’t get how that works, but I have gained more freedom from critical thoughts in deciding to celebrate who I am.

I am learning, with much concentration, not to hate my body. I am training myself to see it as my ally and not my enemy. I’m working to remember the different uses/purposes for my body: It is not just a tool, to get things done, and not just an object for others to judge and use, but my body is a vessel to care for so I can enjoy more adventures and love more people with it. Photo Divine was a step in this journey. Thank you!"

~ Christina