Cy | Illinois

Images by Katherine Emery


"I want to wear something besides shame."  


My body betrayed me. My body story is rooted in childhood sexual abuse, which to this day is as present under my skin as my veins. I have cowered in my body just as easily as I have strutted in it, filled with remorse and shame over my appearance and experience, and determined to slough it off and be a confident woman. I have struggled to find the balance, or to just nix my negative opinions about myself. On my first day of second grade I was deemed "the fat girl". I wasn't fat. But I instantly became Violet Beauregarde-minus the blueberry coloring, a feeling that has never left me. At 45, I still refer to myself as The Fat Girl.


I want to wear something besides shame. I often feel brilliant, sexy, confident. And then I remember what I look like, and the change in me is immediate. I shut down, I stop smiling, laughing-I don't want my chubby cheeks to reveal to the world that I have a potato face. I want my body story to be of acceptance. Of confidence no matter the situation, no matter who I am with, no matter what I look like.

I am more forgiving of my imperfections. I realize my body has done phenomenal things, and I remind myself of this. I had the flesh eating bacteria and survived. That alone is miraculous. Just because I am not a model does not mean I am not beautiful. And just because I am not beautiful does not mean I am not a model!

-- Cy

Portraits of Cy by Katherine Emery