“I Am Movement” Prove That A Pretty Pictures Always Has More To The Story

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“I Am Movement” is an online photography movement for women to share their vulnerabilities and stories online, which somewhere works as the healing platform for them.

I Am Movement on its page wrote, “We are all warriors. We have all fought our own battles & we have won them. These battles cause scars, some hidden, some piercingly noticeable. These beautiful parts of human-the weakness, the strengths, are all strung together to make up an identity. Who are you? Who does society think you are? We are quick to bring forward our best traits, the parts of us that are strong and undamaged. But what about our worst moments? Our darkest times? What if we all brought those into the light? What if we are all more alike than we think?”

These 17 inspirational stories of women quoted directly off of the ‘I Am Movement’ and instagram.com.

Ali Miller’s story- I Am Movement Founder/Photographer

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The last thing I remember was being pushed onto a mattress. For the rest of my senior year of high school, I was either, Ali Miller, the girl who was raped when she was passed out. Or Ali Miller, the girl who lied to get attention. But now it’s time to be who I really am. I am not a victim, I am a survivor.” said Ali Miller

Alex’s story

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Going bald was not my choice; in August 2015 I noticed my first quarter sized bald spot on the back of my head. In September I was diagnosed with alopecia areata. By November I lost 3/4 of my hair and shortly after shaved my head. With the love and support of my friends and family, I came to terms with my alopecia and began to embrace my unique look. I hate being stared at when I’m out in public. Sometimes I just want to blend in. I’ve learned so much about myself and have found self-love and inner beauty. I’m still learning it’s okay to miss my hair, but I am bald. I am beautiful.” said Alex

Nathalie’s story

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I think a lot of people think talking about potential is a really positive thing… and it can be, but I realized that it had impaired me. It felt like people have boxed me in. I was sexually abused as a child. As you can imagine, that crushed my self-value and worth. I was 6 years old and didn’t tell anyone till [age] 13. When I did, I was called a slut. My parents told me they were disappointed in me… People would tell me I have potential, but I have felt so much pressure because of that. I felt like I wasn’t valuable as a human, so I overcompensated by excelling in school, sports, etc. I wanted to prove to people that I was a valuable human being. My whole life I have heard that I have so much potential as if I am defined by achievements. I want people to know that it’s okay to be more than your accomplishments. More than failure. I am more than my potential. I am more than my achievements. I want to be known for other things.” said Nathalie

Annie’s story

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I was diagnosed with depression & anxiety in 2010, at the end of my first year of PA school. I battled through medication changes & suicidal thoughts in order to get through my clinical rotations & graduate on time to fulfill my dream of working with cancer patients. 5 years later, I traveled to VA for an oncology conference featuring my hero, Dr. Patch Adams, as the keynote speaker. On the 2nd night, I was drugged & raped by a stranger in my own hotel room. I said no. I said stop. I pushed. & when he bit me, I bit him back. He still managed to accomplish his goal. I woke up broken & bruised. But since then, with the help of an incredibly supportive husband, an amazing therapist & a support group of other survivors, I’ve learned that I am a fighter. I’ve fought depression. I fought him. & I’ll keep fighting against rape culture so what happened to me doesn’t happen to anyone else.” said Annie

Maggie’s story

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My childhood, while amazing and extremely privileged, was devoid of love and created a reverberating echo in my head that I could never be good enough. I shrivelled up, as a result, preferring to be in the shadow than in the light. It was not until 1.5 years ago when I severed ties with my birth family and surrounded myself with my chosen family that I have finally found the courage and comfort to tell myself that I am enough.” said Maggie

Kayla’s story

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On May 8th, 2016 I was raped by a basketball player at my University. He was arrested when he walked out to “clear his name” and spent a few days in jail -that’s it. I was not only physically violated but I was emotionally torn from my own life. My sense of safety, belonging and my personality have all taken a toll. He ruined me that night -but in return he also made me stronger. I now know what it’s REALLY like to fight for what I believe in and I couldn’t be more proud of myself.  I have been afraid and broken but because of this I am now STRONG.”– said Kayla

Olivia’s story

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Being in an abusive relationship changes a person. So many people think that I’m this hateful, angry, bitch but have no idea that I spent almost three years being reduced to nothing, thinking I would never be good enough, constantly crying and feeling worthless. After that, I stopped letting people choose who I would be or how I would feel.” said

Ellie S’s story

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“I had always associated my feelings with my mom’s breast cancer during my junior year of high school. It wasn’t until she was cured that I realized that my feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness were more deeply rooted than that. I read somewhere once that anxiety feels like the feeling you get in your stomach when you miss a step going down the stairs. This is exactly what I feel on a day to day basis with no explanation at all. I feel a constant stress for things I should not worry about. Did I put my keys in my bag even though I’ve already checked three times? Did I finish all of my homework even though I keep two calendars of all of my due dates? Did I say the wrong thing? Does that person I don’t even know dislike me? It’s a constant struggle but I am finally coming to terms with realizing my uncomfortable feelings and I am realizing I am not defined by my anxiety and I can lead a happy life.” said Ellie S

Britt Leoni’s story

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“I’ve always had a hard time being fully confident in myself. One of my goals this summer is to get stronger: in mind, body, and spirit. I believe in myself.” said Britt Leoni

Madi’s story

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Anxiety and depression are hard to live with, but they’re even harder to deal with alone. We walk around knowing that it’s just not something that’s talked about and that as long as everyone else thinks we’re okay that that’s all that truly matters. We lock ourselves in the dark so that others can’t see our pain, not even realizing that by letting them in, the light will follow. But I’ve learned that I don’t need to hide my struggles for the comfort of others, no one does. There is strength in asking for help, and we don’t have to lock ourselves in the darkness. Because of this, my answer has forever changed. I am not okay” said Madi

Madeline Fix’s story

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“Happiness. For about 20 years I understood that concept, but never knew what it truly felt like. I was diagnosed with depression in second grade. I had struggled with it growing up and hit rock bottom after my grandpa passed away during my sophomore year in college. I came home from school and went into treatment for depression and anxiety. I learned that my feelings are valid and self love is important, I accepted and came to terms with my mental illness, and decided (most importantly) that it will never define me. When it came to facing and overcoming my depression, I turned to my faith. Almost 2 years have passed – I am now a strong woman of God, completely off of medication, and happier than I ever dreamed of being.”

Kammi Hoeffler’s story

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“From a young age, I have always had certain personality traits, such as constant perfectionism and fear of failure. To many people, these traits may be visible in the form of hard work and successful outcomes, whether it be in school, work or life in general. However, in the summer of 2015, things seemed to take a turn for the worse. I took my first job so seriously, that I would break down before, during, and after work. Why? I was so scared that I would fail, and get fired. I was admitted to the hospital in August 2015, and I had realized I worked myself up so much, that I was physically ill. Between applying to law school, planning a wedding, and work, my anxiety had hit an all time high, and I personally hit an all time low. After being diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder, and put on medication, I am slowly learning to overcome my fears. I know I have the strength to overcome my anxiety, even if it means taking my life one step at a time.” said Kammi Hoeffler

Allie Van Dyke’s story

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“Sometimes life can get to be too much. Depression, anxiety, and feelings of worthlessness overtook me. December 11, 2015, could have been the end to my suffering. So could April 15, 2016. But that was not God’s plan. I have so much more to achieve. Four days in the hospital started me on the track to recovery. Medications, therapy, and more love and support than I ever thought possible has slowly begun to pull me from the darkness that I was losing myself in. I am more than my bad days. I will keep fighting.”said Allie

Taylor’s story

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The morning my dad passed away I was awoken by a friend of mine who has said I hadn’t really slept all night but rather cry slept while she held me in her arms until I wearily dozed off. My dad was on his final leg with a battle against Multiple System Atrophy, and he was unconscious for his last two days comfortable in his own room at our home. Lying wide awake in bed at 6:15 am on October 19, 2015, knowing I should check on my dad while he lay in the next room. I closed my eyes & took a deep breath. Within the next ten minutes, I had a dream. Many people say that their loved ones visit them in their final moments. This was one of those moments: I was standing over my dad in his bed, my brothers were surrounding me as I asked my dad to wake up. He opened his bright, beautiful blue eyes and said to me, “Taylor, you are going to be okay. Everyone is going to be okay. Everything is going to be okay.” Rising from my brief slumber around 6:26 am, I walked into my living room. Our entire house was filled with peace and quiet. To me, I described it like Christmas morning. Being the youngest child growing up I was always the first awake. I would go out and look at the tree with all of the presents under it, take in all of the quiet safety I felt and proceeded to cause all of the chaos as I jumped on my older brother’s beds to wake them up. That morning I walked into my dad’s room after my dream of him opening his eyes and saying, “everything is going to be okay” to not finding his heartbeat. At that moment I realized my dad’s last wish was to comfort my brothers and me with the knowledge that he will be watching over us and that we were all going to make it through this extremely tough thing called life but that we are never alone. I am my father’s daughter, and I will forever be grateful for the man who raised me.” said Taylor

Emily Essen’s story

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“After my parents split up, I shuffled between states of depression and anxiety. Life moved in either slow motion or at racing speed. It felt like walking upstream through a strong current. Everything in me was insisting on how much easier it would be if I just let myself get dragged under. Since then, my current has weakened, and I am stronger having fought it. I am stronger than my mind.” said Emily

Morgan Patterson’s story

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“I read a lot of articles after my parents got divorced about how I was essentially doomed for the rest of my life. It was terrifying and looking back now, I wish these articles had mentioned that there are positive things that can come out of a divorce too. You learn to forgive, to communicate better, to find your independence, and to grow as a human. My siblings and I are closer because of it and it’s made finding a person that makes me believe in relationships again that much sweeter. You see, I think divorce is about perspective and looking at those articles and saying no. I am not going to let this make me bitter, I will let it make me better.” said Morgan Patterson

Elizabeth’s story

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“When I was 5 years old my family and I moved from Nigeria to America. Going from a place where looking like me was beautiful and normal to Albert Lea Minnesota made me feel like an alien. I looked around and everyone had this fair complexion, blonde hair, blue eyes. I can still remember the days I would come home from school bawling because nobody wanted to play with “the little black girl”. I was called names like “monkey” and “ugly girl”. When I took showers I would scrub my skin till it was raw, trying to wash away the ugly. Thinking “if only I were just one shade lighter, or my eyes lighter, my lips smaller?”. I never felt like I was beautiful.  Being an African American in a world of white beauty standards. it took a long time and still everyday, I am learning to be and accept myself. Yes, I have dark skin, dark eyes and big lips. it’s what makes me who I am, but that’s not all there is to me. I am beautiful in my own skin”

You too can share your stories!