I’m a Survivor!

Those are words I had never confidently uttered aloud until yesterday and it felt glorious to verbalize them.

I was speaking with the Joyful Heart Foundation about the possibility of them assisting me in helping to promote Made in His Image. The mission of the Joyful Heart Foundation is to heal, educate and empower survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence and child abuse and shed light into the darkness that surrounds these issues. This organization was founded by Mariska Hargitary, who stars as Detective Olivia Benson on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.

The content of the scripts, as well as the work she did to prepare for the role, opened her eyes to the epidemics of sexual assault, domestic violence and child abuse. What she learned was staggering:

  • One in three women report being physically or sexually abused by a husband or boyfriend at some point in their lives.
  • Every two minutes in the United States, someone is sexually assaulted.
  • Nearly four children die every day in this country as a result of child abuse and neglect. And up to ten million children witness domestic violence each year.

Mariska’s compassion and beautiful heart birthed the Joyful Heart Foundation in 2004, with the intention of helping survivors heal and reclaim their lives.

While speaking with them I needed to share a little about myself and cast the vision for Made in His Image. For months when I was in therapy I tried to say, I’m a survivor, but couldn’t. I didn’t feel like a survivor; I felt trapped in pain that I couldn’t articulate. During one therapy session my doctor said, Here I have something I think you will like. Sitting in his leather chair, he swiveled closer to his desk, opened his laptop and inserted a cd. As he pressed play I heard Blessed John Paul II say the following in English coupled with his pronounced Polish accent, “Do not be afraid. Do not be satisfied with mediocrity. Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” What struck my heart the most were his words, “Be not afraid.” His deep, yet gentle voice, provoked a sense of peacefulness in my soul.

My doctor made me a copy of that cd and in the months that followed I used it daily to practice annunciating words, phrases and life experiences that I couldn’t say otherwise. I would turn on the cd and listen to the sound of Blessed John Paul II’s voice. Then I would turn up the volume so his voice overpowered mine. Over time, I was able to turn down the cd, so my voice resounded above John Paul II’s. I still couldn’t confidently say, I’m a survivor. My doctor told me to just let it come out naturally. 

Yesterday I said it for the first time. When asked why I was drawn to their organization and starting my own, I confidently stated, I’m a survivor! It flowed so naturally, and for a second I couldn’t believe what I had just said. I smiled. And my smile was huge. Later in the evening when I went before the Lord in the Tabernacle I thanked Him for the gift He had given me through my doctor, the cross and Made in His Image. There was no one else praying where I was and as I knelt as close to the Tabernacle as I could I said aloud again, I’M A SURVIVOR!

For the year and a half that I was in therapy every time I firmly shook someone’s hand or focused on making eye contact with them, they had no idea all that I was practicing. Everyday tasks that come as second nature to some, become a monument of achievement to those hoping to heal despite trauma.

I am exceedingly grateful for what the Father has done for me. And it is my desire to take what I have been given by Him, which is a pure gift, and spread His love and healing to others through Made in His Image. So our voices can join in one accord to bravely say, I’m a survivor.

My First Turkey

I’ve watched my mom cook a turkey for years and this year I got to do it. And the fire department didn’t even come, unlike other cooking adventures I have embarked upon. Don’t look at me, it wasn’t my fault that the sugar in the apple turnovers converted to liquid and dripped down the oven to start a fire. Or that pools of butter formed on the cookie sheet when my croissants were cooking to also drip down the oven and start a fire. It only meant I needed new cookie sheets and the fire department keeps me humble.

Let me just tell ya, I don’t think Mom’s get an adequate amount of thanks for what they do. So, if you haven’t thanked your mom for all the hard work she use to do or still does for you, go ahead and give her a call and tell her thanks. My mom always use to tell me, Maura, these are the easiest years of your life, because you are only responsible for you. But when you get married, everything changes. When I was in trauma therapy my doctor always use to say, Marriage is about getting out of yourself. I think I’ll hear his words until the day I die, as they are so firmly rooted within me now. Most mother’s do a phenomenal job at getting out of themselves and I believe it’s important for us to thank them for their sacrifice and witness.

Last Wednesday night I rinsed the turkey in cold water and made the stuffing. A friend had cubed loafs of Tuscan bread, which had been drying out on our counter for the day. I sautéed onions and celery with a dab or two of butter and tossed it with some dried poultry seasoning and chopped apples. Thursday morning I stuffed the turkey and underneath it’s skin I rubbed a mixture of fresh herbs, freshly ground pepper and salt. And in it went for five hours. Nothing burned or blow up, so all was well (not that I have ever blown anything up while cooking. I did all of my “blowing up” in Organic Chemistry in college).

Pinterest anyone?

Kathryn graciously bought these for our house on Thanksgiving!

Gerber daisies are my favorite!

Time to eat!

My beautiful roommate Tala!

I’m sorry I didn’t get pictures of the food, I was to preoccupied with trying to make sure everything would be warm at the same time. And many thanks to Kathryn Baker who took these photos. Kathryn is a second year law student at Vanderbilt, who also loves photography. You should check out her blog cameras & cowboy boots.

Eating Disorders and Surrender

I cooked my first turkey on Thursday and it was delicious. In preparation for cooking the Thanksgiving feast I think I called my mom about fifty times. Considering the fact that she has already asked me what I want for dinner the night I fly home for Christmas, I don’t think my calls bothered her. And not to worry, Thanksgiving pictures are coming soon!

I’ve been slightly behind on responding to emails over the past few days and I apologize. Preparing for Thanksgiving was time-consuming and I’ve been sick for the past few days. I read several emails yesterday that truly touched my heart, but one in particular really captivated me and today I want to write about surrendering.

Everyone likes to be in control. And when the control we desperately seek is slipping from our grasp we cling to its remains as if it were a life line. What are the fears associated with losing control in regards to eating disorders?

Perhaps it’s admitting that you aren’t right? Or that you don’t have all the answers or aren’t smarter than doctors and dietitians? Perhaps it lies in reaching out for help and admitting that you aren’t weak to ask for help. Or maybe your fear is with God? Perhaps you think He desires your unhappiness and you are convinced He wants you to blow up like a whale? Perhaps you doubt His love for you?

Maybe something from your past plagues you and your eating disorder is all that you can control and if your let it go the unknown would terrify you? Perhaps you fear that if you stop exercising you will let yourself go? Perhaps you fear that you aren’t worthy of three meals a day? Or maybe your fear rests in self-control, and if you start eating again you won’t have the strength to stop? Therefore you conivence yourself that it’s better to not eat at all if you are going to over eat? Perhaps you fear that if you start the day with a healthy breakfast you won’t be able to stop eating after that first meal and the rest of the day will be a disaster?

Does that sound about right?

I want to tell you a story.

It was about two months ago late in the evening when my phone rang. It was my friend Molly and I answered. I knew something was wrong by the sound of her voice. She said she needed to go to the ER. I jumped out of bed, put on the jeans laying on my desk chair, grabbed my keys and was out the door. Molly said she could go by herself. I told her I wouldn’t let her and asked her to let me love her by taking her.

I started praying the Rosary as I drove to her house, but got distracted by the decades and just prayed Hail Mary’s. I didn’t know what I would find when I got there and was nervous. We packed up her things, got in my car and drove to the ER. Once inside they asked her various questions and we were taken to a stretcher in the hallway, as the ER rooms were already full. It was 10pm.

Molly was severely struggling with an eating disorder and the attending physician said it would be hours before the psychiatrist would be able to give her a consult. We decided to make the best of our time there and played Adele and Marie Miller’s music from Molly’s lab top. We let nurses bring us heated blankets as they made jokes when asking who the patient was, since we were both sitting on the stretcher. One of the nurses thought for sure we had coordinated our visits to the ER, and we joked back saying there was no other place we would rather be at 2am. But, as vitals were taken and blood drawn we knew the severity of the visit.

So we didn’t just joke around. We got serious. We both knew why we were there, the pain is just a little to familiar for both our liking. Molly asked me questions about how I recovered. And I told her. We cried together.

The psychiatrist came to see Molly at 3:30am. I walked out of the ER, into the waiting room as they talked. I tried to stay seated, but pacing felt more comfortable. I paced the waiting room for a while, then sat down. I wept. My heart really ached for Molly.

She called me when they were done and I walked into the ER again. It was 4:10am. This time we really got serious in our conversation. She asked me what was the turning point in my recovery. And I told her.

I was sitting in a quiet Church holding onto my eating disorder with every ounce of strength within me. Then I gave it to God, and I mean I really gave it to God. I told Him I wanted to be healthy. I told Him I wanted to be the weight He wanted me to be. I told Him I wanted to feel His love. I told Him I would put away the scale and trust in Him. Were you scared? Molly asked. I was scared out of my mind, I said.

I told her how I view it –  See God gives us all free will, but desperately wants us to choose Him. He wants us to make the right choice – eating three meals a day, not abusing exercise, not purging or bingeing etc. But He can’t force us to make that choice. We have to want it. I told Molly I wished I could give her that resolve to fight and make the right choice, but I can’t. Everyone needs to make that choice for themselves. He is waiting right next to us, hoping we choose Him over an eating disorder. When we say No, He still stays close. But when we say Yes to Him, that is when He takes over and turns the mess we have made into beauty. Yes, we need to fight, but the battle is easier with the King of Kings fighting right beside us.

I have been healthy for years now. And haven’t binged or restricted my food intake in years. I desire for you to taste the same freedom with all my heart. To do so, you must surrender. And that is my prayer for you today!

Eating Disorders – and Getting Up Again and Again

It was April of my 8th grade year. We were going to field hockey practice when I overheard two upper class man talking about a girl in our school who was overweight. Why are they speaking about her like that? That is so mean! I wonder if they talk about me like that? What if they think I’m fat? What if they laugh about me? I glanced down and saw my scuffed up black shoes. Then noticed my skirt which was two inches to short for this Catholic school. Every morning at prayer one of the teachers reminded me of that fact, Maura, your skirt is supposed to touch the floor when you kneel. Please tell your mom to fix the hem or you will need to get a new one. 

Then I panicked. Okay, great now I’m sure people are talking about me because I’m fat and my skirt is too short. Why can’t my mom just fix the skirt? I don’t want anyone talking about me and I don’t want to get in trouble. I was an exceedingly anxious child. My exterior proved to be as fragile as egg shells at times, and if I was corrected or talked to harshly, I shattered.

I remember going home from school that day and telling my mother that I was never eating ice cream again. She thought I was kidding, because what normal child says that? Well I’m going to show them all that I’m not kidding. I’m going to start running and swimming more and eating less. No one is going to talk about me behind my back.

My mom, an exceptional cook and baker has always provided the very best of food for us. Always making sure we ate healthy foods, with ample amounts of protein, calcium, and other nutrients. She often cooked organically and to this day, I prefer her cooking over countless restaurants. Yeah, Mom can make that better, I always say to myself whenever I am out to dinner and order something that doesn’t measure up to hers. To put is bluntly, I’m a snob when it comes to food.

But that year, I threw it all away with my defiance and lack of self-esteem.  My mom always insisted that I eat breakfast before school, so I started telling her that I would eat my toasted waffles on the way to the bus stop. I lied to her and that hurt me. But I have to because I know no one believes that I need to lose weight. What are they thinking? Why don’t they see it like me? It’s time for me to take matters into my own hands. I threw my waffles down the sewer drain every morning on the way to the bus stop. In the beginning, the guilt of what I was doing almost crushed me, but I couldn’t stop. As time passed, the lies started darting out of my mouth and the person I was becoming frightened me. Oh, I already ate breakfast Mom. Yes, lunch was delicious, thanks Mom. I had a snack on the bus, I’m not hungry. No, I only ran 5 miles (when I had actually run 7 or 8). I’m actually babysitting tonight, so I’ll eat there. And once I got there, Oh I already ate dinner at home because I was so hungry. 

I allowed myself a few hundred calories a day and went to bed starving. And there were countless nights that I couldn’t sleep because my hunger pains kept me awake. If I survived the day with only a few hundred calories I considered it to be a good day. If I had slipped, I was sure to punish myself the next day with an extra mile or two of running and even less meager portions .

I was severely anorexic for years. Then one day, I lost it. And ate everything in sight because I couldn’t take the hunger anymore. Afterwards, I felt disgusting and guilty. So I exercised   excessively to purge my body of all that I had just consumed. Why couldn’t I just eat in moderation? Why aren’t I worthy of three meals a day? People tell me I’ve always been thin, why can’t I see that too?

Anyone who has had or presently has an eating disorder knows the trap of what I have described. I share this with you today, because the emails I am receiving really touch my heart. It is my desire to be vulnerable with you women in hopes that it offers you hope. I boast in the Lord for what He has done in my life and I desire for you to be able to do the same.

I know that despite what I have done the Father forgives me. And He forgives you too. His forgiveness is ours for the asking. But we need to do just that, we need to ask for it. We need to beg Him for it. Several readers have asked what I did to overcome an eating disorder. I am humbled to share the following with you today.

1) It’s exceedingly important to acknowledge that you can do nothing without God. I would say several times a day, “I am nothing without You. Please help me.”

2) Frequent the sacraments, confession is essential. I really started noticing a change in my disordered eating when I was honest in confession.

3) Seek professional help and work hard at it. You must fight for anything worth attaining.

4) If you weigh yourself 20 times a day, then start by weighing yourself 19 times, instead of 20. And work your way down to eventually putting the scale away, but take it slow.

5) Don’t beat yourself up if you slip up, acknowledge the failure, make a resolution not to do it again and move on. And when you fall again, repent and repeat the above.

6) Remain positive – seek beauty in your cross and this is only accomplished through God’s grace. You must pray daily.

7) There are many things I could mention in regards to food, but am going to refrain from doing so at this time until I consult with a professional. I do not have a degree in psychology and want to make sure I provide you with information that is solid. But stay posted, because I will clear them by a psychologist and post them shortly.

I am praying for each of you. You remain in my heart in a special way and I always carry your petitions with me.

Former NFL Fullback On His Wife’s Childhood Abuse

My sweet roommate CeeCee sent me this article the other day. I read it and was exceedingly encouraged by Mr. Evans’ dedication to his wife – it’s beautiful! I’m grateful that they have been so bold in sharing their story, while seeking to help others.

It inspired me to see a man dauntlessly take a stand against violence, which is rarer then one would expect in today’s society. Often times, there is a label on victims and people perceive that due to their experiences, they must be severely messed up. 

I played in the SEC. I fully understand football as a religion. I’m completely aware of head coaches being viewed as immortals. I also comprehend the love and adoration alumni have for their respective universities. All that being said, there is no room for loyalty at the expense of a moral standard that should be upheld regardless of the cost – no matter what’s at stake or whom it may indict.

I was not put on this earth to judge, but to love. Nevertheless, sometimes while doing the right thing in the name of love, you can be cast as judgmental. So despite the possibility of being misunderstood or labeled as judgmental, I refuse to back away from the truths I know all too well. My beautiful bride of more than 10 years, Beth Ann, experienced the pain of childhood sexual abuse for a year of her life. She hid the pain, shame and guilt inside for far too long. When we were married, it had a profoundly negative impact, but we found hope and healing through quality counseling. Today, we are still on the road to recovery – together.

One of the ways I express my love for her is through the Heath Evans Foundation, which provides counseling for others and raises awareness about some of the truths of childhood sexual abuse:

Truth: 1 of 4 girls and 1 of 6 boys will be sexually abused before the age of 18.

Truth: There is no neutral ground in fighting childhood sexual abuse. You either stand against it or stand for it.

Truth: Bystanders to abuse might as well have been participants in Jerry Sandusky’s alleged rape and sexual assault of at least eight boys from 1998 to the late 2000s.

Loyalty is key in every successful way of life. In business, friendship, family and, yes, even football. Loyalty might be the greatest asset to any championship football team. It is also part of what makes a great coaching staff. True loyalty exhibits itself in many ways on a team and a coaching staff. For instance, Monday night after a tough loss at home, Philadelphia Eagles head coach Andy Reid blamed himself and praised Michael Vick. Meanwhile, Vick took full responsibility for the loss and heaped praise on Reid — loyalty at its finest.

Loyalty does not stand by and turn a deaf ear and a blind eye to heinous crimes against children. Loyalty does not take the easy way out of an uncomfortable situation. Loyalty does not place more value on friendship or public perception than on what is morally right and wrong!

Lies get you in trouble. Telling further lies to get you out of the first one only dig a deeper pit. Most of us can understand the impulse to “deny, deny, deny” no matter how guilty we are.

One of the most troubling aspects of this Penn State scenario is the fans who remain loyal to the university and Joe Paterno. Einstein said, “The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it!” Just in case you miss the point of one of the smartest men in the modern era, those who stand by Paterno out of loyalty are a key ingredient in the evil we are discussing today.

Einstein also defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. We want the world to be a safe place, but we continually stand by and allow evil to rear its ugly head. I’m definitely not Einstein, but I’m not insane either. We, as a society, have stood by and repeatedly swept the epidemic of childhood sexual abuse under the rug hoping for it to disappear on its own. Well, guess what? It’s only gotten worse!

The call to action is now. Ask yourself: If that was my son, my brother or my grandson that Jerry Sandusky allegedly had in a dirty college locker-room shower being viciously raped, how would I have wanted Joe Paterno and the administration to respond?

 – NFL Network analyst and 10-year NFL veteran Heath Evans is the founder of the Heath Evans Foundation. The Foundation’s mission is to foster hope and healing to victims of childhood sexual abuse.

To read the complete article click here.

From Deep Within My Heart

Well it’s raining in Nashville today and I’m really disappointed. Today was supposed to be my photo shoot and they can’t shoot in the rain. The professionals doing the shoot are exceedingly busy around the holiday season, but reassured me we could reschedule as soon as they get an opening, so that’s positive.

Even though I wish the sun would beam through the gloominess and a beautiful azure would displace the ghastly ashen skies, it is a glorious day. Today is the feast of Christ the King and a very special feast day for Made in His Image!

Ever since I was a young child I marveled at God as Father and King over all. When I was a student-athlete in college I heard a FOCUS Missionary talk about God the same way and it captivated me. I have never known a love that compares to the Father. Sometimes in adoration it moves me to tears, as it is the purest and most gentle love there could ever be. What the King of the universe has done for me is miraculous and this feast day is etched on my heart, because I desire for the world to know His love.

At Mass this morning I pondered all of the stories women have told me through emails or in person. You all hold a special place in my heart. I entrust each of you to the love of the Father in a special way. May our Heavenly King infuse within each of you His gifts of the Holy Spirit. May you come to discover the dignity you possess as His daughter. That is my hope and prayer for each one of you. There is nothing I wouldn’t do for you to get a glimmer of His hope.

If you have doubts about your identity and His exquisite love for you tell Him. Say, “Father, You teach me about my dignity as Your daughter. You give me a deeper understand about what it means to be created in Your image and likeness. You teach me to love like You love. You show me how precious and beautiful I am in Your eyes. You show me the beauty You see in me.”

I guarantee you, He will answer your prayer! It is not something that we have earned, simply a gift from Him to you!

The Lord always grants us more than what we ask for. The good thief merely asked to be remembered, but the Lord said: “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” The essence of life is to live with Jesus Christ. And where He is, there is His Reign to be found. Happy Feast of Christ the King!

This picture from the movie Bella always reminds me of God as Father. The way he looks at her so tenderly brings a smile to my face. In reality, that isn’t even a fraction of the way the King of the universe looks at you. Can you imagine what Heaven will be like?

So Don’t Be Afraid to Show Them Your Beautiful Scars

I have received several emails in the past few weeks that inspired this post today.

I like to respond to everyone that writes me and I was really behind this past week. Yesterday evening I read an email before going for a run. It echoed many I have received and my sensitive heart truly ached for the young woman who wrote it. Of course I could pray for her, but was there anything else I could do?  I pondered those thoughts as I rummaged through my winter clothing to find my Nike running pants.

Yesterday it was really cold in Nashville. I’ve definitely grown accustom to the warmer weather of the south, so when it’s registering high forty’s I bundle up. My mom always use to joke that if anyone in our family was missing a blanket in the winter they would probably be able to locate it on my bed.

I laced my Asics tightly and turned on my ipod, and as my feet hit the pavement all I could think about was helping this woman who is a prisoner inside her own body. I’ve never met her, like the majority of the people I receive emails from. Yet I know most of them. I know their stories. I know their pain and I know it well; and I’ve shared their struggles in a unique way.

This woman and many others have expressed their fear in getting help, and that is what I desire to address today. I want to be vulnerable with you and share part of my story. It is my hope that God will use it, to inspire those who need professional help to seek it out. Several years ago I was very sick and didn’t know what was wrong. In order to conceal some information, because it’s in my book, I will condense the story. I went to IPS (Institute for the Psychological Sciences) in Arlington, Virginia. While there, I participated in two full days of intensive psychological testing. It was one of the most emotionally and physically draining things I have ever encountered. Several weeks later I went back to hear my results. I was diagnosed with chronic post traumatic stress disorder due to various life experiences. Three doctors recommended for me to engage in intensive trauma therapy for two years. I finished in a year and a half.

The thought of getting help consumed me with trepidation.  Why should I go and reveal my heart and soul to a psychologist? In my naivety, I convinced myself that:

1. They will never understand.

2. I don’t even know how to form words to describe how much it hurts to a friend, let alone a stranger. 

3. I can’t afford it.

4. I’m scared and the thought of talking to someone makes me shake with nervousness. 

5. What if the people who hurt me find out that I told?

6. If I get help I’m displaying a sign of weakness. 

Well, after completing a year and half of intense trauma therapy I can tell you from my heart that:

1. There are doctors that genuinely care and understand. They might not have experienced the same difficulties you have, but are trained extensively to help you. It takes tremendous faith and trust on your part to trust them.

2. There are countless ways to express your pain and struggles. It will take time, but you can start slowly and build up to revealing more. You can also draw as well to express your feelings, trauma and emotions. Art therapy is very common and helped me tremendously.

3. I worked 7 days a week in the beginning to pay for the care I needed. In addition, I was awe-struck at the generosity of my doctors who made my care affordable for me. Two doctors never even sent me a bill for thousands of dollars of care they administered. They wrote off the entire bill. One receptionist told me “In his twenty-five years of practice I have never seen him not bill a patient.” People genuinely want to help and it’s good for wounded hearts to receive love through others generosity.

4. It’s okay to be scared. I would actually be concerned if you weren’t. When I first met my doctor I was terrified. I had only spoken with him once on the phone and the sound of his voice frightened me. I knew God wanted me to see him; I knew in my heart He wanted me to take this leap of faith. So I packed everything I owned into my Honda Accord and moved to Tennessee. If it didn’t fit in my car I left it behind. The first time I met my doctor in person, I knew everything was going to be okay. He was one of the most gentle, patient, faithful and educated doctors I had ever encountered. Was I still scared despite those characteristics I listed about him? Of course, as that is only natural, but sometimes, we are our own worst enemies. We need to learn to trust those who are deserving of our trust.

After God, I credit him for my healing. Made in His Image would never have been possible without him. He now sits on the Board of Directors for Made in His Image.

5. Contrary to what I thought, you are exhibiting tremendous courage and strength in seeking out professional help. It might not feel as if you are, but you are. Your vulnerability, bravery, determination and perseverance will shine through the darkness, it simply takes time.

Two years ago I sat in Arlington, Virginia at the Institute for the Psychological Sciences (IPS) when Dr. Kathryn Benes compared me to a solider returning from war. Dr. Benes is the Director of the Catholic-based Psychology Ministry at Catholic Charities in the Archdiocese of Denver. Prior to moving to Colorado, she served as an Associate Professor and the Director of the training Clinic at the Institute for the Psychological Sciences. Dr. Benes also developed a nationally recognized, diocesan-wide mental health program that ultimately became a doctoral-level psychology internship site in the Nebraska Internship Consortium in Psychology, an institution accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA). This program is currently the only APA-accredited internship site in the nation that is specifically designed to train psychologists from a Catholic perspective.

Seeing Dr. Benes’ credentials and hearing what she said about me helped reshape my thought process. Also my brother is a Captain in the Marine Corps and has served two missions overseas, if I knew he needed help I would encourage him to get it. And would most certainly not think him weak for receiving that care. I would think him tremendously courageous for embracing what needs to be dealt with, instead of simply ignoring it. Why didn’t I see myself as worthy of the same care? Why wasn’t I good enough to receive help? 

I wrestled with those thoughts and came to discover my dignity as His daughter worthy of care. Our Father desired nothing more than to provide, protect and take care of me in my illness and beyond and His generosity is boundless. He simply asks us to trust Him.

Will you not let Him provide for you the same way?

So don’t be afraid to show them your beautiful scars, ‘cause their the proof, yeah you’re the proof – Matthew West