#leapfear Day 10 – Lauren

Lauren has spunk.  Her mom showed us photos of Lauren when her hair was dyed gorgeous shades of orange and red.  The asymmetric haircut, however, is merely a symbol of the rebellious spirit inside.  But it isn’t an angry rebellious.  It is playful, warm, inclusive and completely sincere.  Lauren just wins you over instantly. Didn’t matter if she was in a pretty dress, funky jacket or jumping in the air, I always was able to capture her magnetic smile.

Lauren came to my studio with her twin sister and mom.  Her sister Meghan was profiled in Day 9.  Both sisters are gentle souls that have been through so much in their short lives. I am in awe of how they have both weathered the journey.  So young yet already so wise.  Their mom is a hero to me too.  You could feel the force of her love in the room and I know that in the girls’ darkest moments, they know that they have her there to stand with them.

Once again, I included a couple of photos of the sisters together at the bottom of this post.  I think you can feel their connection in them.

Special thanks go to my amazing makeup artist Lindsey from BeYOUtiful Esthetics.  

What changed that made you realize you were living a life of fear?

I realized I was living a life of fear during the last years of elementary school. Ever since grade 1, I have been living under a constant shadow of anxiety. Bullied almost every year in school, my self-esteem took a turn for the worse and I began to look at the world more negatively. Classmates would exclude me from games, call me mean names, make rude comments and shoot down almost all my ideas and opinions. Somehow they always found a way to make me feel weak and hopeless. Although I was never physically harmed, I was continuously being wounded with emotional and verbal bullying. In the end my bubbly personality became silent and fell into a deep depression.2016-02-10_0008.jpg

Once you realized that you were living a life in fear, what stopped you from moving forward? What held you back for so long?

As I fought in endless battles with my own thoughts, a consistent waterfall of tears would tumble down my face after every defeat. Some days I would surrender to the pain and hide away in my room. Some days I tried to be a soldier, standing strong and at war with myself. Yet I was still bombarded with cruelness during school hours. I know I am making myself a target by wearing my heart on my sleeve, but have to fight the fear almost every day is exhausting. The struggle I had with moving forward was battling the pessimist inside of me. I would tell myself I wouldn’t be able to make it, that my life was always going to be a living hell. That I was weak, stupid, not fit to live. My own put-downs increased my fear and I gave up trying altogether.



Once you did take the leap, what did you have to let go of?20160129-DSC0040165

Once I took the leap, I knew I had to let go of my past. Once you let go, what did you find on the other side that was worth taking the leap?
The amazing support of family and friends, gave me the strength to take the leap. Although my fears are still living in me, my family gave me hope and stayed by my side throughout the darkness. After taking the leap I realized that I had support all along, even though at first I had a hard time seeing that I was surrounded by people who cared for me and loved me for who I was.


What would you tell someone whose fears are still holding them back?

If someone was being held back by fear, I would tell them:
– Don’t look behind you
– Keep your head up high
– You don’t have to get over your fear, you just got to tame it
– Seek friends and family for guidance and help
– FEAR is False Evidence Appearing Real; meaning fear is a vivid monster but its non-existent, its your mind that makes it seem real2016-02-10_0009.jpg

Is there anything else you would like to share with people on the blog?

I want to share one of my most favorite videos. This poet gave me inspiration and touched my heart in many ways.
The video is called ‘To This Day’ and is a project written by Shane Koyczan. In many ways it relates to my own story and I know it can relate to others as well.

Mental illness is not a choice… But recovery is.

Nothing is more terrifying then battling your own mind everyday.