Sunday, October 31, 2010


If you haven't read "SCARS", my previous post, then this won't make NEARLY as much sense.

After viewing "The Scar Project", I got inspired. "Inspired" is really not a big enough descriptive word, I had a FIRE lit in me. After viewing the women showcased in "The Scar Project", my mind started going over so many things that leave scars on the hearts of women. Outside scars are only a portion of what makes us who we are. Scars that we carry on the inside are never asked about. They aren't visible to prompt someone to ask "hey, what happened?" Women of all ages carry scars, stories, burdens, pain, sorrow, recovery, healing, and triumph that no one ever sees.

That all changes least here...and at least for these few ladies that were chosen to take part in my wacky idea. THESE women inspire me. THESE women make me want to shout from the rooftop, NO matter what you've been through, NO matter what pain you are going through, someone, somewhere can share it with you. We all have scars, and we all have a story. None of these women are asking for pity. They are women who have overcame and want to share their courage in hopes that this may touch someones life. I believe that when you tell your story and show you scar, that you are letting a little of the pain go. These images are to inspire you and to help you embrace the scars that make you....You.

To be fair, I am going to start with me... 

At 9 months old, my father left with me and took me away from a drug addicted mother. I have not seen her since. I would have had a sister 13 months younger than me but she died due to complications from my mothers drug addiction. At age 17 I became pregnant. After 29 hours of labor and an emergency c-section, I gave birth to the one and only child I would ever be able to have.

In 1976, at age 5, Angela was in a car accident and watched her mother and 4 year old sister die. She was sent to live with her grandparents. Her father remarried and had two sons. In 1998 Angela's brother was also killed in a car crash. She is now helping her father who has terminal cancer.

In 2008 Amy was 38 weeks pregnant and having constant contraction so she went to the emergency department. They told her everything was fine and sent her home. A doctors visit later that week confirmed that the pregnancy was right on point.  The following Saturday Amy, in full blown labor, again went to the emergency department. The doctor informed her they were unable to detect a heart beat. William was born and went to heaven that same day. 

Along with  a tattered childhood, Shelly gave birth to her daughter at age 15. Dropped out of high school to care for her daughter, she was uneducated and potentially headed down a path of destruction. 10 years later Shelly has married, gotten her GED and is enrolled in college courses. 

For three years Ashley and her husband tried to get pregnant. They spent time, money and heart for their dreams of parenthood. After a heartbreaking miscarriage she has decided to stop fertility methods. Ashley is now trying to adopt a child from Russia. 

Misti's life has been filled with heartbreak and loss. Primarily raised by her grandparents, Misti held her grandfather as he passed away from lung cancer. She says his death has impacted her more than anything in her life.

Jennifer has several battle scars from the same enemy...cancer. Her mother, grandmother, father, 3 great uncles, an uncle and an aunt have all fought cancer. All three great uncles, an aunt and an uncle lost their battle. Jennifer is now a vital part of the Relay For Life.


In January 2009, Trisha found out she had cancer. She was diagnosed with breast cancer and began a fight where she ultimately became triumphant. After a year long battle including, chemotherapy, radiation, fatigue, hair loss and emotional strain, in February of 2010 she was told she was cancer free. 

 In 2002 Trina's brother died from cancer. A month later her daughter was born after an emergency c-section. Losing her brother and knowing he never got to meet her daughter are two of the hardest things that forever changed her life.

Eva suffered abuse from her alcoholic father starting at the age of three. The abuse was so severe at times, she actually hid under the bed in an attempt to avoid it. As an adult she confronted her father and has made peace with both the abuse and her abuser. He passed away in 2001.

August 1, 2007 Michele lost a child during pregnancy. January 18, 2008 tragedy struck again, and again she miscarried. The pain of losing her unborn children and the "what-if's" of their little lives has left an empty place in her heart. Michele has 4 children, 2 in heaven and 2 God has chosen for her to raise. Someday, she says, they will all be together.

In 2004 Jana was diagnosed with breast cancer. Even after 6 rounds of chemotherapy, 37 radiation treatments, and losing her hair Jana never lost her faith, or support from family and friends. Jana is cancer free.

In April of 2008 Sarah was diagnosed with Stage 4 Colon cancer. Her son was 20 months, her daughter 5 weeks old when, then 28 year old Sarah, got the news. After a colon resection, liver resection, abdominal surgery and rounds and rounds of chemotherapy she has beat odds that were given to her two years ago. She is still battling cancer today.

It wasn't until Sara was an adult with children of her own,  that she decided she wanted to meet her biological father. She had been raised well by her stepfather but wanted to give the man she had never met a chance at finding a place in her heart. She now has a relationship with her biological father and Sara is certain God knew what he was doing.

Kristi struggled with a meth addiction from the age of 17 to 33. She has been homeless, jobless and hopeless. Her children were taken away from her twice with the understanding that the third time would be permanent. Kristi has been clean for a year.

Sandy was diagnosed with Stage III ovarian cancer in 1997 at the age of 47. She began chemotherapy and the fight of her life. She has been in remission since 1998.

When Kelly was 2 days old her father died from colon cancer. In 2003 her mother died of lung cancer and her mother in law from a brain tumor in 2004. She is a vital part in the "Sarah C-Fight White" fund raising and a main part of Sarah's daily cancer battle. In September her brother was diagnosed with colon cancer. 

 Nikki's scars started at an early age, with the absence of both parents. Then a life changing pregnancy, almost losing her premature son and later almost losing her daughter, Nikki's life was a roller coaster of continuous hurt. She contributes the healing of wounds to the strength of her children and the woman they have made her into.

Though only a small child when Whitney's sister Emily passed away, there has always been a sense of loss in her heart. Now that she has a  daughter of her own, she understands, even more, the pain felt by her parents. There is now a scar, were she suffered a wound so young by the loss of a sister she would never get to know. 

Melissa, like so many women, have multiple scars from a life of tragic events. She's been degraded, abused, and made to feel like she wasn't "worth" the love of others. The pain of never feeling good enough and learning to trust again has been hard, but through the relationship with her husband Larry, her wounds are finally beginning to heal. 

Patty suffered sexual abuse as a child from someone she was taught to trust. This has effected her relationships, caused problems with self esteem and intensified her already introverted personality. It wasn't until being a part of the SCARS segments of this blog that Pat made peace, forgave and is turning her wounds into a healing. 

Faye was diagnosed with Stage 1, Grade 3, Invasive Ductal Carcinoma on March 9th, 2009. She fought the cancer with chemotherapy and radiation but most importantly with her will to live, strong faith, and the support of her family and friends. Though the cancer caused fatigue, hair loss, emotional and physical exhaustion, she won her battle, Faye is cancer free.

Tara began her journey through meth addiction as a young woman. In an attempt to straighten out her life she joined the USAF at age 19. She was taken advantage of my a fellow airman and out of shame, discharged for medical reasons. Again she turned to drugs. Tara feels that God has kept her safe as she walked the "belly of hell" through her addiction because she would eventually use her past as a teaching tool for young drug abusers. Tara has been clean for ten years.

Final Thought:
I have been working on this post off and on for almost a year now. Once again, when I try to do something nice for someone else, it blesses me ten fold. I cant even begin to express my admiration for the women who have bared there hearts and souls to others in hopes that their story may impact them in a positive way. If you will notice all these women have been photographed in front of brick. This is 
symbolic to the walls that we women create when we have been hurt. These women, these wonderful strong women, are standing in FRONT of their walls so that their story, and their pain may bring you a little peace.


Tricia said...

What a beautiful idea to share these stories. :)

Staci said...

Thank you Jamie. This is an amazing project you have with amazing stories to tell. You and these women are so brave to show your scars. I can't wait to see more.

Barb said...

Jamie, I'm so moved by these beautiful stories - because I've lived some of them myself as have many of we older ones. I'm so impressed & motivated by anyone who takes what life gives them or what they give life & use it to make life more of what it ought to be when we give back to it our best. Life isn't always funny but many times it sure is a barrel of fun! Thanks for your interest in others & their courage, contributions & seeing the humor in life; I know it makes God smile.

Claire said...

I just stubbled upon your blog. It is wonderful and I love your new project. We all have stories to tell, heartbreaks we have survived and it is fantastic that you are honoring these brave and beautiful women. Keep up the great work.

Defeated Diva said...

Thanks to everyone who has read/posted/commented/called/emailed and texted me about this project. This is starting a MOVEMENT! A healing is happening and I am SO excited!

Julie said...

I'm sitting her bawling! You've made such a difference here.
Julie Massey Schoolfield

Niki Linne said...

You know how much I love you, so there is no need to go into great detail, however I will say that I am truly blessed to have you in my life! You have pushed me over several humps in the short amount of time since we met, and for that I am eternally grateful!

Anonymous said...

This is Bennys wife i just wanted to tell you what your doing so amazing as i have suffered and dealt with many of this same situations and it gives me strengh to get through each day knowing that there are so many brave women out there thank you!

Anonymous said...

Jamie your pictures and these womens stories are so touching, amazing and inspiring. Thanks for sharing them with us.. Lara

Nikki Vandiver said...

This is beautiful Jamie.

Lisa Bell said...

Jamie it's like Joe Mantegna said "Scars remind us of where we've been.....they don't have to dictate where we are going.

Anonymous said...

This is Beautiful Jamie you are an amazing woman and I am proud to be your sister:)-Christina

Andrew said...

Wow wow wow, this was REALLY moving, truly. All of their storied were equally moving and I bet they LOVED their pictures. Dont stop this project now.

Crystal Hawkins said...

When I was young, my alcoholic mother left me (in more ways than one). I was in an abusive relationship at age 13. At age 22, I miscarried (what I now think was my little girl), and was crushed...until 4 weeks later when the doctor told me I was pregnant (STILL) w/ my youngest little boy! Scars will be w/ us forever, but if we can take the positives from all the negatives, we can carry those scars proudly!

Annette said...

So glad I can finally post on your blogs. Your creativity slays me and I can't wait to see what you do next to keep us Kleenex deprived. Wonderful photojournalism project!!

Anonymous said...

hummm i liked that. you should keep that going.
xxoo 1027

Anonymous said...

What an amazingly touching post, and fantastic project! Thank you for sharing!

Anonymous said...

Trish said....

Jamie this blog is just so beautiful. Two of my girls are on here and they are absolutely beautiful. I symphathize with the ladies on here that have fought breast cancer and won. I too have been there and done that. Keep going girl it is wonderful. Michele and Nikki I love you guys so much.

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