Photos By: Charity Finstrom
Salvaging your spirit of joy. As much as you are willing to share tell us about your struggles and overcoming them.
My life started with obstacles to overcome - from the time spent forming in my birth mother's womb under poisonous mis-care, through the first twelve months after birth when I was neglected and ignored, until I was taken away from my birth Mother, separated from my siblings, and placed in foster care.
At age two and a half, I was adopted into a loving home. I count it a blessing to finally be loved and cared for.
Fast forward ten years. Freshman year of High School, I started having knee problems with swelling and pain that - even after surgery - my doctors have not been able to cure. That led to me being unable to continue to play soccer, volleyball, and tennis - all of which I had played at various levels since elementary.
Around that same time, I went through a very personal, physically and emotionally traumatic experience that left me feeling vulnerable, unable to trust, and disconnected from my previous life. It left my entire family broken without warning.
Recovery was a long struggle, and a conscious daily choice to not let those events define me. My Mom was my support during this time. She taught me that there is freedom in forgiveness. Today, it is almost three years later, and I still daily make the choice to continue in forgiveness, for seemingly unforgivable actions. I choose to find renewed joy in my life as it is now.
Tell us more about yourself.
I am eight weeks from finishing cosmetology school, on the same date that I will graduate from High School. I've always had a passion for makeup, hair and all things 'cos' - since I was little. Now I can see my future self working in a salon to help others feel beautiful and find their own spirit of joy.
This photo shoot was part of my Senior pictures. We were able to shoot in this giant, long abandoned paper mill in my hometown. The mill is currently being renovated, after years of abuse and neglect. The perfect symbol for my own story of renewal and rebirth.