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I have discovered this is a common theme with other nude models I have met. Those of use who experienced childhood sexual trauma and later became a nude model is a catalyst for healing from the past, really a way to empower ourselves.

Most of my upbringing I was sexually abused by several people most notably my stepfather who later went to prison. In addition to the abuse I was not loved by my mother and had the responsibility for caring for my youngest sister during my teenage years. Already a classic introvert, I was extremely lonely and lived in survival mode everyday. My first taste of freedom was when I left home the day after my 18th birthday.

In my late teens I went to modeling school and for a few years was a model in the local town. Mostly fashion shows. Throughout the years I would do shoots for amateur photographers. Then in graduate school I had my first nude shoot in Big Sur, California with a professional photographer. It was my first taste of being comfortable in front of the camera in my own skin, nude. I had always loved being in nature which is where we did the shoot. As a young child I would wonder in the woods, finding my solace away from the trauma, talking to the trees, playing in the creeks.

In my mid forties I went through some incredible changes. I was training to be a burlesque dancer, attending Burning Man events, dancing at drum circles and starting doing photo shoots again. I also started working at an arts college as figure drawing model. The professor and I began to collaborate on a project about the abuse and my recovery from it in pastel drawings. In the abuse my nudity was used as a tool to please someone sexually and now I had found the venue of artistry. I had taken my power back. Indeed I am learning to set boundaries as there are some things that can trigger emotional wounds. However, I have always been fearless and as long my gut instinct tells me this is a path of healing I will continue to evolve.
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:iconcleomsf:
cleomsf Featured By Owner Jun 23, 2014
Hello,

I am a Producer at Fusion TV and looking to do a few stories with women who have used Burning Man as a time and place to heal past traumas.  Would you be available to chat this week about working together?


If so, please email me offline: Cleo.Stiller@Fusion.net  

Kindly,
Cleo Stiller
Cleo.Stiller@Fusion.net 
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:icondollcollector999:
dollcollector999 Featured By Owner Jun 7, 2014
I don't know you but I like you.
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:icondharmawpb:
DharmaWPB Featured By Owner Jun 23, 2014  Professional Artist
aw you are a darlin
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:iconbluesplayerpixels:
Bluesplayerpixels Featured By Owner Dec 18, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
A very inspiring story for women and men who have been through this type of tragedy and to know that there is help and hope for them.
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:icontchalla811:
tchalla811 Featured By Owner Dec 18, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
Thank you for sharing. I have learned about you and more than i did before about sexual abuse healing.
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:icondharmawpb:
DharmaWPB Featured By Owner Jun 23, 2014  Professional Artist
Thank you dear
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:icontchalla811:
tchalla811 Featured By Owner Jun 23, 2014  Hobbyist Photographer
You are most welcome. I am better for reading it.
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:iconshifflett:
Shifflett Featured By Owner Dec 18, 2013
I'm sorry to hear you went through such a traumatic childhood. As long as you're at a place in life that fills you with confidence, you're on the right track. Keep up the good work.
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:iconboudicah:
Boudicah Featured By Owner Dec 14, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
It's almost eerie reading this and placing it in the context of my life — abuse, rape at an early age. Then, finding myself when I was diagnosed with Parkinson's at age 32. 
Thank you for sharing your story. 
Best wishes,
Boudicah
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:icondharmawpb:
DharmaWPB Featured By Owner Dec 18, 2013  Professional Artist
Thank you for your comment and my Heart goes out to you to the events in your life including your diagnosis. I used to go to Parkinson support groups when I was a pharmaceutical sales rep to become more familiar with the disease, this being years ago. I felt so much love in the room, especially the caretakers. I don't know if you practice energy work? I work on my chakras due to training I have and really not unusual for people who have trauma early in life to follow such a path later in life. I find it helps heal and issues I am having be it mind, body and spirit. Blessings to you Boudicah.
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:iconboudicah:
Boudicah Featured By Owner Dec 18, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
How funny ... one of my fave movies is "Love & Other Drugs," about a Parker and a drug rep falling in love. LOL.
No, my husband is super great — I am blessed to have his support. It's been a tough year - my mom died in August and the Parker just gets worse.

I've never been into any spiritual kind of stuff - just always keep on, keeping on. But I probably need to try some relaxation stuff ... well, besides cigarettes, booze and sex, LOL.
Many blessings to you ... I love your page, your spirit. :)
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:iconadamdabs:
Adamdabs Featured By Owner Nov 29, 2013
Interesting journey you have had. I'm pleased that you have been able to put your past experiences to such creative use. You have a natural beauty which lends itself to artistic modelling work. One of the advantages of middle age (dare I say it!) is that it's often easier to find yourself than when you are younger and less experienced. You certainly seem to have found your milieu and all I can say is keep up the good work! xx
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:icondharmawpb:
DharmaWPB Featured By Owner Nov 29, 2013  Professional Artist
Thank you and indeed as I have matured I have become more comfortable and confident with who I am.
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:iconbuckj:
Buckj Featured By Owner Oct 14, 2013
I cannot even begin to comprehend what you went through as a child or understand the psychological impact it must have had on you as a person.  I am truly humbled by your courage and fortitude to take the road to healing you have taken.  May your healing journey continue to give you strength and the happiness you so richly deserve.
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:icondharmawpb:
DharmaWPB Featured By Owner Nov 29, 2013  Professional Artist
Thank you for your kind words
Reply
:iconowraange:
owraange Featured By Owner Sep 9, 2013
As a man who often feels conflicted by my honest admiration of the nude female form, your story struck me as honest, unapologetic and another step in your empowering journey. You are a beautiful, expressive artist and I look forward to seeing more of your work.
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:icondharmawpb:
DharmaWPB Featured By Owner Sep 9, 2013  Professional Artist
Thank you kindly for recognizing my journey and my artistic endeavors as a result of it. I am blessed.
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:iconthinkshootshare:
ThinkShootShare Featured By Owner Sep 5, 2013
So powerfully expressed -- a living testament of "I am more than what happened to me." 
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:icondharmawpb:
DharmaWPB Featured By Owner Sep 9, 2013  Professional Artist
Thank you. I used to have a non-profit and the tag line was: You are more than what happened to you.
Reply
:iconkeitaro91:
Keitaro91 Featured By Owner Aug 1, 2013
sorry to hear about your awful childhood... i'm glad you're better now.
reading this made me curious though. eventhough you're a nude model, can you actually enjoy sex again now?
Reply
:iconrworld2u:
rworld2u Featured By Owner Jul 31, 2013
any one can stand nude in front of a camera, to authentically share your private story is truly getting naked. Sending you abundant Love and healing Light on your journey of empowerment and Self discovery.
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:icondharmawpb:
DharmaWPB Featured By Owner Sep 9, 2013  Professional Artist
What a beautiful comment. Thank you so much.
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:iconan-hell-us:
an-HELL-us Featured By Owner Jul 1, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
u know? i just was reading the comic of Dawn, and i found a line then i love it and resume what u say in ur post:
u r my goddes, cause you are create me when ur look at me, and im gone when ur ignorme, i love you and just forgive me 4 make you cry.
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:icondharmawpb:
DharmaWPB Featured By Owner Sep 9, 2013  Professional Artist
Thank you luv
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:iconsilvervulpine:
SilverVulpine Featured By Owner Jun 24, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
My goodness. 
I can only stand in awe of how terribly you've suffered, but beyond that, you really turned one of the biggest negative experiences a human can suffer thorough into a huge positive. 

You clearly have an inner strength and resilience that is a rare gift indeed. 

You're clearly just as beautiful on the inside as you are out. :aww:
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:icondharmawpb:
DharmaWPB Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2013  Professional Artist
Thank you dear for you kind words. Funny how I put myself out here yet in my daily life people view me as quite private. Yes, my upbringing was a pile of crap. However, I am very grateful I am not bitter and instead have developed compassion. There is still a lingering sadness in me that I am trying to let go.

Also really enjoy your comments on my images, both insightful and respectful.
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:iconsilvervulpine:
SilverVulpine Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
It's the absolute least I can do! :aww:

Trust me, I'm a card-carrying member of the introvert club myself. I know full well what it's like to grow a reputation for keeping to yourself. 

It's another mark to how wonderful your character is that you're making an earnest effort not to let the whole of you be defined by the darkness in your past. 
You really did take a negative and spun it into a HUGE positive, and you deserve infinite love and adulation for it. :hug:

And again, it's the least I can do! :)
Your photos are really beautiful, and so are you! :heart:
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:icondharmawpb:
DharmaWPB Featured By Owner May 16, 2013  Professional Artist
:tighthug: Continue to be super appreciative of the supportive comments. Many thanks.
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:iconwackymaus75:
wackymaus75 Featured By Owner May 15, 2013
Fearless. that will be you
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:iconnekrosith:
nekrosith Featured By Owner May 15, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Such past... I'm sure you are more strong willed than most of us here...
I'm glad you could climb up after all those difficulties :)
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:iconfreya50:
freya50 Featured By Owner May 14, 2013
You have a very compelling story and I am proud of you for confronting it head on. I wish you the very best.
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:iconsolus-photography:
Solus-Photography Featured By Owner May 14, 2013  Professional Photographer
Nice to hear an uplifting story about the power and truth in beauty and art. Well done.
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:icondharmawpb:
DharmaWPB Featured By Owner May 14, 2013  Professional Artist
Many thanks for your comment :hug:
Reply
:icongrabraeuber68:
grabraeuber68 Featured By Owner May 13, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
all I can say is... chapeau!...as a man it's pretty hard to comment such a theme...but I'm impressed, that you find a way to continue....to show us both the strength and the beauty of yourself.....
all I can say is, I really appreciate, what you do....I couldn't do that at all...I don't have the strength at all!...you got it.....please continue...the way, you've chosen!
my deepest regards!

wonderful shots!
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:icondharmawpb:
DharmaWPB Featured By Owner May 13, 2013  Professional Artist
Thank you for honoring my journey. I greatly appreciate what your wrote. :hug:
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:icongrabraeuber68:
grabraeuber68 Featured By Owner May 13, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
it's all my pleasure!...:-)
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:iconreubennegron:
reubennegron Featured By Owner May 13, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
Thank you for sharing this. As an artist that works with models and their stories, I'm always asked: "what is the reason a model wants to work with you?" My answer is always the same - everyone has their own reason. I appreciate hearing about yours.
Reply
:icondharmawpb:
DharmaWPB Featured By Owner May 13, 2013  Professional Artist
Thank you for your comment. I used to have a foundation to help women recover from sexual abuse and sadly too many women and men for that matter have endured this trauma. I find it interesting the paths we choose to heal. Some find religion and others nude modeling...others somewhere in between. It is the beauty of the journey we follow to find out way in this world. Again, thank you.
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:iconreubennegron:
reubennegron Featured By Owner May 22, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
:) No, Thank you.
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:icondharmawpb:
DharmaWPB Featured By Owner May 26, 2013  Professional Artist
Not sure what you mean by "no, thank you."
Reply
:iconreubennegron:
reubennegron Featured By Owner May 28, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
You thanked me, so I meant, no, thank YOU - Thank you for doing what you do and for being so open and sharing yourself, your life, your strength.
Reply
:icontonygcampagna:
TonyGCampagna Featured By Owner May 12, 2013  Professional General Artist
Seems everyone has a mixed and injured past in some shape or form and sadly I know a few who haven't been able to recover from it and move on as you have. I give you much credit. Past baggage can be an overwhelming weight. I know. Very glad you've turned your past into something positive and empowering.
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:icondharmawpb:
DharmaWPB Featured By Owner May 13, 2013  Professional Artist
Indeed Tony we all have a story. If you notice, many of us who have had a challenging past become some of the greatest or most inspiring artists. I don't presume to put myself in that category. What I will say is that the trauma and other life experiences have served as my muse for various venues of art.
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:icontonygcampagna:
TonyGCampagna Featured By Owner May 13, 2013  Professional General Artist
That we do. What was it Captain Kirk said in the epic screen fail that was ST 5? "I need my pain." ;) anyway... As much as I loathe certain things about my past, it really has fueled my creative strengths. A bittersweet catch 22. I applaud your muse...
Reply
:iconqnetx:
QNetX Featured By Owner May 11, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
Well said. I wish you much success in your journey.
Reply
:icondharmawpb:
DharmaWPB Featured By Owner May 13, 2013  Professional Artist
Thank you for your comment :bump:
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