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November 2, 2021

In a World of Judgment, Curiosity can Heal.

Life is a million perspectives, each creating a different version of reality.

I am challenged by this often, because the world is full of judgment, and people don’t look with observation and curiosity.

Social media allows us to distort everything. On social media I’ve been misappropriated to the point of heavy depression setting in and thoughts of suicide returning.

I’ve experienced negativity about what I wear when I practice yoga. I’ve had personal stories of my rape, depression, and suicide attempt shared within other people’s Instagram stories, claiming that my profile is pornographic and that I am a whore and a terrible mother. I’ve heard my account being referred to as “open legs can unite,” instead of, “open hearts can unite.”

It was heartbreaking to think that I was coming to this online community in part to heal, and yet here I was breaking. My family, daughter, and partner were all devastated.

I felt confused that I was no longer seen as a good human just because of my looks and body. I am a girl from Australia who has spent my whole life as a swimmer in swimwear, and now I am a girl on social media in my swimwear or appearing in nude art.

I’ve been conditioned (like so many) to believe in the negative stories, and I’ve allowed people to speak to me in any way they please for so long that it made my trauma worse. It made me feel as suffocated as I felt when hands around my neck tried to choke me.

I believed that I deserved everything in my life, and that I was a terrible person in real life and on social media. It nearly broke me; it stopped my healing, impacted my income, and caused great distress. Thankfully, at my most difficult time, I was blessed to have two amazing souls reminding me of my light—so it didn’t go out.

One of the first nude art shoots I ever did with a professional photographer for yoga was set in a field in Germany. I had just returned from yoga teacher training in Bali, a place I hadn’t visited since I was raped there years earlier. The sun was rising over the long grass, and I felt at home in my body and myself. I felt like I’d broken the chains of pain, stigma, and trauma that had held me captive for so long.

Afterward, as I sat and watched the yoga flow video from the shoot over and over again, tears started falling down my cheeks. It was breathtaking to see myself so free. It was the first time I felt seen for being me unapologetically. In this moment I wished people could understand this, instead of judge and misappropriate the art and bodies of others.

My images were not sexual to me, they felt the opposite, they felt like love, healing, and freedom. When I look at them, I see my inner child running free and playing in this beautiful life again, like I had before the trauma and the pains of life held me captive. The pictures reminded me that whilst people are free to think and have their own opinions of me, it is not my weight to bear, or the truth of who I am.

I remember seeing myself in one of the photographs and thinking how I looked tired and happy in my skin. I saw my body and how it was still here, even after the child it had lost, the beatings it had received, and the depression that nearly took it. That left me speechless with gratitude for it, and allowed me to see the beauty and courage in the life my body had led.

This photoshoot was a celebration of my courage to return to Bali, a place that had caused me nightmares. It was a celebration of me remembering that I was not to blame, that I had to save myself or remain unsaved. I was reminding myself that my body is a gift, not an apology, and that I deserve love.

Going back to Bali was the most healing thing I’ve ever done. It allowed me to redefine my memories of it, and became the place that set me free. This shoot is a reminder for me of my healing.

I strongly believe self-love and self-acceptance can mend even the deepest unseen wounds. Sending love into the darkness can heal, console, strengthen, and yes, make change.

I am a woman reclaiming her life. I am a woman who is remembering how to put her wild back in love. I am feminine, and sensual, and playful, and childlike. I am a mother, a daughter, a caregiver, a friend, a sister, and a place of love. I am not my past, my pains, or my traumas. I am free, and I am home in me.

I hope one day we all realise that not everything in life is what we think it is, or label it as. I hope we will hold curiosity to hear the stories behind what we see. Doing this would hold a great space for many to heal, and the world would heal too.

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