I Tell Beautiful Stories: Miss J

I Tell Beautiful Stories is the latest endeavour from Katie Pahara Photography. My clients are an inspiration to me, and hearing their stories of struggle, and overcoming obstacles in their life is easily the best part of my job. Each and every one of my clients has lead an incredible life, and I am honoured to be able to share some of those stories with you. 

Meet Miss J, a kind and gentle soul, with the biggest heart of any girl I've ever met. Her story brought me to tears, and I am so thankful she wanted me to share it with you. Warning, there is some graphic content in this post, please be aware this is all apart of her story, and the hard times need to be shared in order to understand the impact of the good. In her own words:

"I’m Miss J, I’m 24 and in the most fulfilling relationship of my life. I currently live with my boyfriend whom I absolutely adore. We are the perfect balance of similar and different so every day with him is a new adventure. I’ve lived in Southern Alberta for four years and after leaving a big city like Calgary (where I was born and raised) I feel in love with the quaint atmosphere that is Southern Alberta.

I guess my story starts when I was in junior high. No matter what school I transferred to, no matter how many people I told, I was bullied relentlessly my entire childhood. I never really understood what a friend was because I didn’t have any. I was picked on for everything; my hair, my clothes, my friends, how I ate my lunch, everything

I was always a bigger teenager, I had gained weight when I quit dance to pursue an arts based middle school, so my weight was a constant, easy insecurity for the bullies to sink their teeth into. Kids used to tell me I couldn’t get on the school bus because there wasn’t room for a whale. 

In an effort to make myself thin I stopped eating. I was bulimic and anorexic, and no one knew. The weight never came off. When I got to high school I was so depressed there were days I couldn’t even get out of bed for school. I had no friends. 

In grade 12 I gave up. I decided that I had had enough and that I was going to end my life. I called the one friend I had to say goodbye and then walked into my bathroom and proceeded to slit my wrists. 

I remember fading in and out when I heard my home phone ring. My mom came down the stairs and opened the bathroom door and found me. Her youngest daughter, bleeding, in what I hoped would be, to death.

The next day I went to school. I wore a long sleeved shirt (despite the fact that it was the middle of summer) and was called out of my first period class to speak with a guidance counsellor. After speaking with her for less than 5 minutes she determined I was too fragile to be at school and I needed to go see my doctor right away. 

Later that day my doctor determined it was in my best interest to be admitted to the hospital, because I was considered a danger to myself. Initially I was told I’d be in the psychiatric ward for 3-5 days to get my stress levels down and then I would be able to return to school after that. 

Three days went by, then five, then ten… it took almost two and a half weeks to see the progress of the new meds they put me on and therapy I was doing. Two weeks turned into two months which turned into three. I spent almost four months living in a psychiatric facility. 

When I was released I left with many mental health diagnoses including major depression, anxiety disorder and borderline personality disorder. All three I will struggle to live with every day for the rest of my life. 

Borderline personality disorder is one of the hardest to live with. It basically means I have trouble
regulating my emotions, so when I'm sad I'm depressed and I don’t leave my bed, but when I'm happy I'm over the moon and just love life. When I'm lonely I feel like I have no one and I cut myself off from the world and so on. I later learned that borderline personality disorder stems from overwhelming fears of abandonment. It took years, therapy, time, and medication to get to the stable point I am at now.

Like anyone with mental health struggles, I have good days and bad days. Luckily with medication and the support of my friends and family I have way more good days then bad ones now.  I have never looked back on my time in the hospital as a bad thing and sometimes when I’m not stable I think of going back to the psychiatric ward because it helped me so much.

I couldn’t have imagined that this journey would lead me to meet the amazing, supportive people in my life, both now and when I was struggling in the hospital. Now I have overwhelming support from my amazing friends, family and boyfriend. I also have the emotional support of my dog Biscuit, and cat Calliope. 

When I was in the hospital my mom, grandpa, and sister came and visited me every day, reminding me that I was loved and I wasn’t going to be in the hospital forever. I also made great friend in the psychiatric ward, some of whom I still talk to today. It was amazing to have all this support and love suddenly around me right when I needed it the most. I will forever be grateful for the people in my life and I try my hardest everyday to show everyone the same love and support I was shown. 

I have overcome so much in my life and I wanted to share my experience with other people so that young girls who are bullied, girls who are bigger, girls who hate themselves and how they look can see a confident young women, who walked through the fire, standing before them saying, "I’m here and I’m beautiful too." I got an overwhelming response of people who loved my photos and told me how beautiful I was (and that I had a nice booty) and that was incredible to me because I have never felt beautiful or sexy. Doing a boudoir session, I felt more empowered about my body than I ever have before. I truly felt beautiful.

Here’s my advice to girls who are bullied: who F**king cares what other people think. Not everyone is going to like you but at the end of the day the only person who needs to like you is YOU. You need to be able to look in the mirror and say you are happy with yourself.  Stop focusing on flaws and focus on your triumphs. 

You are a strong woman who can over come anything. There is no test to what the human mind is resilient to, but if I can go through something as terrible as I did and still come out on the other side, you can too. Life sucks sometimes but you just got to pick your head up. It does get better, I promise." - Miss J

*Wipes tears, grabs kleenex*

Miss J, there are no words for how grateful I am that you have been willing to share this story with all of us. It takes courage to stand up for yourself, and to press on even though you've endured so much, and we are all so glad you are here to share your story with us. Thank you for your words of encouragement, I know someone is reading this somewhere and needed to hear someone say, "It's okay, I see you and what's happening to you, and I have been there, and it does get better." So thank you Miss J, you are a true gem!

If you have been moved or effected by this story, I would love to hear your feedback in the comments. If you have your own story that you would like to tell to help inspire others, please contact me HERE to start planning your boudoir session, it may just change your life.

Check out Miss J's Before & After:

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