Reclaim Project: Anastasia

The Reclaim Project is an initiative to help sexual violence survivors to feel comfortable in their skin again. We're partnering up with photographers to provide these photo sessions in the hopes that we can help to portray female bodies as belonging to actual human beings, instead of objects. We'll be sharing lots of these sessions over time, each one paired with a statement from the survivor about how their experiences have shaped their body image, mental health, and view of their sexuality. Click here if you're a survivor interested in setting up a session, or here if you're a photographer who'd like to participate!

"I've been waiting years for the words to write my story, but have found the the harder I listen, the less I receive.
I've tried to dig around past years of repressed memories.
I've tried to write it in a way that appeals to a crowd.
In a way that's artistic.
A way that's beautiful.
But nothing would come.

(images from Anastasia's journal)

(images from Anastasia's journal)

I finally found that the best way to write, is congruent with the best way to live your life, honestly.

When I was a little girl, I was sexually abused. It's one of my first memories.
It wasn't artistic.
It didn't appeal to any specific audience.
It most definitely was not beautiful.

It was ugly.
It was wrong.
It affected me. It affects me every day. It will affect me for the rest of my life.
It forced me to carry shame and guilt from much too young an age.
Stole the innocence out of getting to choosing who I would give my body to.
It changed the way I see my body. My earliest self-body shaming memory was at the beach. I was four years old. Over the past few years I've gone to multiple counselors to try to begin the healing process, but I've given up every single time. I always believed that people who didn't know me, didn't deserve to hear my story.

How the times have changed. How my mindset has changed.

The closest I've gotten to beginning my journey towards healing has come from honesty. Learning to share my story. Learning to listen to others stories.
Learning that there is not shame in what happened to me when I was too young to defend myself.
That someone else's ugly choice was not my fault.

IMG_9693.jpg

Right now I'm in between.
In between my heaviest and my thinnest.
In between knowing who I am and having no idea where I'm meant to go.
In between hating the temple that carries me through every day and being thankful for every journey it has brought me through.
A temple that I've over indulged to its heaviest, and starved to its thinnest in an effort to have control over what was taken from me.
In between tearing that little girl down the way she was years ago, and building up the beautiful woman she is becoming.

This story is my becoming."

(images from Anastasia's journal)

(images from Anastasia's journal)

Photography // a. lentz photography