I am not a model.
This new piece of information doesn’t actually change anything because I’ve never ever had plans to do the catwalk, much less any walk, down a runway.
Model abilities aside, photographer, Kyle Engman, took my pictures on Sunday, July 24, 2016. What a weird thing to do, “get your pictures taken.” It feels so vain, so conceited, so self-centered. Which is partly why I almost bailed out on poor Kyle. I wanted to bundle my heart in a blanket, tie it on a pole, and hitch-hike to a cave. Or my bed. Or really wherever I could curl into a ball and not be frowned upon.
If you don’t know my story, then it probably sounds strange that I would be so terrified to get my pictures taken—especially since the whole thing was my idea to begin with.
Can I clarify super quick?
Last year on July 23, I was released from a treatment center for eating disorders. I was held captive there for about a month, however, I probably should have stayed a lot longer but this girl wanted out! From the moment I left to the moment I am typing these words, a lot has changed. Gosh, the word a lot doesn’t even begin to cover it. I think the phrase, “I have changed” is more accurate. I wasn’t alive a year ago. Sure, I was breathing, walking, and talking, but was I living my life to the fullest? No.
But now I am.
That was why I wanted my pictures taken on that day. Because it’s one thing to hear that you are beautiful, but it’s another to see it. And I was still struggling to believe it, no matter how many times I heard it.
I was scared to look into the camera because I thought that the girl in the photograph would look stupid, ugly, awkward. But I was mostly worried that she’d be a lot thicker and fatter than she was a year ago.
For whatever reason though, I looked down at the word ‘beautiful’ tattooed on my wrist and I knew I couldn’t not go. I slung my trusty backpack over my shoulder and headed to Taylors Falls.
The photo-taking process went extremely well. Kyle is a magician behind the lens and he somehow made my stiff hand placements and weird distant stares look intentional and—in a word—breathtaking. (Here are just a couple):
I am not a model.
But that day I realized that I can be.
“Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us.” Titus 2:7-8
The last thing I want is younger girls to meet me and think, “I wish I was skinny like her.” I want young girls to meet me and think, “I can be myself like her.”
I want to be a model of grace.
I want to be a model of patience.
A model of gentleness.
Of confidence and courage.
I want to be a model of love from the one who is love, Jesus my Savior.
That kind of model I can be. And friend, the very best part is that you can too.
“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.” Numbers 6:24-26