#Timesup & #MeToo

This photo was taken by Wendy Shepard at the Light Up retreat in October 2017 hosted by Chloe Elgar and Natalie Miles.

This photo was taken by Wendy Shepard at the Light Up retreat in October 2017 hosted by Chloe Elgar and Natalie Miles.

So I'm a little late to the game, having JUST watched Oprah's speech at the Golden Globes. I was brought to tears with how much power radiated from her being on stage as she accepted the award. 

We are so fortunate to grow up during moments like these. Where we can witness anywhere from public figures to local communities to individuals we call our family or friends that stand up and fight for equality, for justice, even for a single breath of air.

I feel so strongly about this movement. Seeing a matriarchy rise and teach us what it looks like to be in power by simply embracing who we are.

I'm sitting here, in my bed, with tears welling in my eyes because I feel a passion ignite inside of me. 

What really spoke to me during that speech was when Oprah announced that "speaking your truth is the most important power we can harness". 

I got shivers up and down my spine and the waterworks flushed open like a tap. 

I'm sure you can all agree that there have been countless moments our lives where you didn't feel like speaking your truth was an option. In that moment, it felt that speaking your truth meant a form of weakness and being your truth was somebody who you did not want to be or nobody would believe you.

I've been there, my eating disorder sent me further away from the truth, in fact it sent me running away to different corners of the globe experiencing trauma after trauma all by myself. I was so far removed I could not tune into the red flags or "coincidences" spirit was trying to send me. 

We should never be ashamed for who we are or what we've done. We've been brought on this planet to be us. All those quirks and moments that you may consider a "mistake" are what makes you, uniquely you. You each serve a purpose on this planet, and whether or not you feel clear on what that purpose is, you can confidently rest assure that part of that purpose is being your truth and trusting yourself.

Our experiences are different but share the same "moral of the story", my body shame kept me on a path to death. Can you believe it, I hated the way I looked, and the person I was inside that I starved myself onto a path of death. From the outside, it was easy to judge and assume I was being selfish and vain. The root of the disease is far from that, it was about fear and depression. No matter what your situation is or how many times you tell yourself it sounds incredibly stupid and selfish, but when you're deep in that trauma, you have no idea how you got there or why you're even there. For anyone who is deeply experiencing a situation like this, you must speak up and seek help. 

IMG_0348.jpg

I typically see a pattern - when we're that far down, it's because we're afraid of our own power, which by the way is tremendous.

Oprah also spoke to the #MeToo movement and I was called to share my experience with sexual harassment in the work place.

I was deeply struggling with my eating disorder, I was too quiet to raise my hand in class and I was definitely not participating in brainstorming or presentations at work. I kept to myself, I didn't ask for help, I just wanted to blend in with the background. I was in New York, and there was an older gentleman in the office who paid closer attention to me. I thought I was being brought under his wing, until he completely embarrassed me in front of a room filled with male executives. He then made a pass, about how he can't believe a girl like me studying fashion in a place like this. 

I kept my composure, and when I had a moment, I snuck off to the bathroom, let myself cry and fixed my makeup and returned to my desk. The following day, the same team (including that man who embarrassed me) went out to the Far Rockaways to hand out gloves, mittens, food to the communities who were affected by Hurricane Sandy. We were about to leave, and this man suggested we take the same car back into Manhattan. I jumped in the car and he started asking me questions about what I was doing this weekend. I shared that I was going out to grab drinks with my girlfriends when he blatantly asked me to call him at 3 am because his wife was out of town.

I can remember how fucked up that felt. I was so confused, and I hate to admit this but part of me enjoyed his attempted pass on me. I was so desperate for affection, attention and to be noticed that an older, seemingly attractive and well off gentleman was interested in me. 

How could I forget that embarrassment that left me feeling like a dud in front of a room full of male executives earlier that day. How did I not report this to HR? 

I didn't speak my truth. This is only one example of a life full of inexplicable behaviour that has most definitely affected me. 

From what it looks like, almost everyone of you women have had an experience similar to this. 

It's our job to speak up, to be strong, powerful beings. If I could go back in time, I would've told 20 year old Tori to speak up and tell him exactly what was on her mind, and go straight to HR for justice. 

I am forever inspired by each and everyone of you who confidently shares their life experiences to help other women and to encourage the rest of us to do the same. It's so humbling.

IMG_0194.jpg

Part of the reason why I am committed to my craft is because it allows me to create a channel for women to reclaim their power. They get to step into themselves. They stop running away for 30mins, they get to face what is exactly on their mind and our so called demons. I get to hold space for you to grow immensely in just a single sitting. These portraits I offer you are a chance for you to get rooted and connected to your purpose.

For me, I get to witness this almost daily. It's a breath of fresh air, it's life changing and seeing the long term effects solidify what it is and why spirit and the universe continue give me opportunities like this to inspire more women and men day to day.

Just like you I've been in your shoes. I've had my nude portrait done and it was the most liberating feeling I ever experienced. It's because I was finally in a position where I had to embrace myself. I had to stop running. Yep, the waterworks came on full steam ahead, but in that moment of sitting with my truth - enabled me to quit my job and pursue this full time and create the space for other women to experience the same break through in their lives. I can't wait to see what you will create and the masterpieces you will accomplish with reclaiming your power

xoxo Tori

 

Tori Swanson