I am Woman.

Dedication: My mother and all the women and girls who are inspirations on this earth

I am woman. I am strong, confident, powerful and bold. I am learning the value of my worth everyday with the awareness that self-care and self-love is a lifelong practice and a beautifully messy process. I will not stop surrounding myself with resilient, brave women, as I learn a little more about my identity from their examples. I was robbed of all trust, security and faith in men when my former step father violated my privacy and stripped me of my dignity. He had been secretly filming and photographing me in the most private, sacred settings and moments for years. This traumatic event rattled me and made me feel scared, isolated and confused. I had to acknowledge those feelings, sit in them for a little while (but not too long), work through those feelings to process the thoughts (rational and otherwise) behind them, then actively work toward healing and restoration. I am the product of support and love from my relationships with friends and family. I am never fully whole, as life is continually shaping and influencing me, a process that I embrace and work with and not against. I have learned people are intrinsically good, but make bad choices in bad circumstances sometimes. I refuse to lose my faith in the goodness of humanity. I recognize the interconnectedness of the world and appreciate the ephemeral nature of our human condition. I conquered. I conquer everyday. And so can you.

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Andrea L.