Photographer: Jill Osterhage
Model: Kendra Creek
I have fought many battles over the last seven years. I’ve fought long and hard for my battle scars but have earned each and every last beautiful wound. I wear them proudly, like a badge of honor. I’ve not done it alone though. My sword and shield have the soldiers’ names who have helped me along the way in my journey.
Extension of Me
Photographer: Shanon Pruden
Model: Barbara Stahura
In 66 years of mostly good health, I have had a hysterectomy due to fibroids, a lumpectomy for breast cancer and, most recently, a thyroidectomy due to benign tumors and precancerous cells. Happily, I have always recovered well. As aging brings its own challenges, I work hard to maintain my health with the right foods, exercise and good self-care. Still, I wonder: why all these tumors, serious enough but fortunately always successfully dealt with? Since my body is always revealing the story that I believe about myself, what do I believe? My journal is the best place to explore that question. It’s almost an extension of my body: thoughts flowing from heart and head to hand to page, where they generate new understandings, to which my body responds in a never-ending process of self-creation. In this mostly unconscious way, I shape my own experience of reality.
Photographer: Shillawana Ruffler
Model: Amanda S. Pendergraff
My family calls me their Wonder Woman. At just 34 I’m battling a long list of diagnoses, challenges from medication side effects and constant pain. I have a pituitary tumor, Hashimotis Thyroiditis, Hypothyroidism and severe Osteoporosis.I throw up nearly every day, am easily exhausted, suffer from stress fractures frequently due to the osteoporosis and if I can sleep for two hours without back spasms it’s a good night. My head’s constantly pounding, and my feet hurt so badly sometimes it’s easier to just not walk. But I keep going. I never miss anything involving my children and I try to be the best wife I can be, even when I can barely get off the couch. I fight like hell, every single day, to function as normally as possible, represented by the sword. I am always hoping to find that light at the end of the tunnel, represented by the lantern. I hope one day all of this will be worth it, and I will be able to feel like myself again. I miss her.
Own It All
Photographer: Jordan Barclay
Model: Susan Hardwick
We are all strong Wonder Women and can accomplish anything, even if we don’t look like everyone else. I was born missing an arm but my parents, my mom in particular, were determined that I wouldn’t experience life differently from anyone else. I didn’t really know any other way; my missing limb was like having brown hair or eyes. I had to adapt to experience life with just one arm; that’s the way I was made. I’m proud of who I am… all of me. We are all too critical of ourselves and we need to stop. We should do our best, try hard, always love ourselves and others, and be PROUD! I’ve always been confident. What I tell people is you first have to be comfortable with who you are. Know yourself and be honest with yourself. Know what you’re good at and what you aren’t good at, what you’re afraid of. You have to embrace those things with the same level of confidence. I am absolutely confident in what I cannot do. I own that. And I don’t try to do things I cannot do. Don’t fake it. You have to acknowledge the good and the bad.