#leapfear Day 20 – Paige

I asked more than once.  Throughout this project, it was important to me that each woman involved respected their own personal boundaries.  I asked them to not share more than they really wanted to.

Paige is the youngest of our #leapfear participants.  It was especially important to me that we do not overstep her personal boundaries at such a young age. At only 11 years of age, she already has a self awareness and confidence to recognize that, with some help, she doesn’t need to be ruled by her fears.  That is one amazing accomplishment at ANY age! She and her Mom talked at length and decided that she wanted to share her story to help other young people get the help they need.

Paige is vivacious, loving, funny and charming.  I am confident that her future is bright, not just because she has the fighter spirit, but because she is surrounded by love.  The final two images are with her mother. No question they are lucky to have each other:)

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?2016-02-20_0015.jpg

I realized that I was living a life of fear when I found out that bad things don’t just happen on TV. Sometimes they happen in real life. This made me start being afraid that bad things might happen to me or my family and that made me scared to do things.

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

I was afraid to go on an airplane in case it crashed. I was afraid to go to Florida in case there was a hurricane. I was afraid of getting lost. I was afraid to walk home from school in case someone tried to take me. I was afraid that someone would break into my house. I was mostly afraid that the kids at school would make fun of me or say mean things about my clothes and how I look. I was afraid they didn’t like me. I started worrying all the time. Sometimes I would stay awake late at night because I was afraid to go to sleep. I didn’t know what to do. My mom and dad would try and help me but I was still afraid.

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

I had to try to stop worrying about things that might never happen. My mom said I would miss out on too many great things in life if I wouldn’t try anything new. I have to let go of worrying about what other people think. That is really really hard because kids can say things that really hurt your feelings. I still have to work on that one.

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Once you let go, what did you find on the other side that was worth taking the leap?

I talked to a lady who helped me to try and stop worrying so much. She taught me to try and focus on positive thoughts and see all the good things in my life. My mom and dad helped me to see who my real friends are. My real friends like me for who I am. I have some good days and some bad days. When someone says something mean to me it really, really hurts my feelings and it makes me afraid to go to school but I know I have some good friends to count on. I found out that there are other kids who feel like me. We talk about it and try and help each other.

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

I would tell them to try not to worry because worrying doesn’t make it any better. It makes it worse. They could try taking baby steps and just doing a little bit at a time. When they are really upset they can take deep breaths. That helps. If kids are being mean to them at school I would tell them to ignore them. If they keep being mean, it is more about them than it is about you. Maybe they are unhappy. Try and find a friend or talk to your parents. They will help you.

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