Christian is a beautiful, dark haired young woman with translucent skin. I will always remember the day she walked into our studio -- shy, quiet and a little nervous, but I could feel the strength in her opulent, unsure eyes. Christian is very poised, elegant and lovely on the outside, so you would not initially see her as someone who, at one point, admitted herself to a mental institution. In part, this is a little bit of what 7 Billion Ones and telling your story is about: shedding our rough outside layers to match the fragile ones that lay within us and being more than okay with it.
I am the "lighting assistant" during our photo shoots, and part of what I do is help Randy get those magic "catch lights" in the person's eyes so we can look into their souls, so to speak. As I adjusted the light just right on Christian's eyes, I noticed the tears; they began as small glistening diamond specks and then began to softly roll down her cheeks. I couldn't help but want to just give her a big bear hug, because I remembered my own personal battle with depression, and was a living hell.
Christian said telling her story took a lot of strength and she was at first hesitant as she didn't want people to think she was telling if for "fame or attention." After all, it took her two-years to write it down for herself. Her goal is to truly help people through her pain, yet little did she know how she herself would be changed.
Randy and I sometimes ask ourselves why we "do" our non-profit, 7 Billion Ones, and we always get an answer from...somewhere, someone, including this email after our shoot, from Christian herself.
"The day in your studio(for my 7 Billion Ones photo shoot), was a day I will never forget. Until then, I thought "God has healed me. It's over and now I can just detach myself as I talk about who I was." Spending time with Randy and going through those thought processes opened back up what, I had told myself, was finished. I became vulnerable again.
Oh, how good this journey has been! Through prayer, reading Scripture and talking with those I trust, I realize I had allowed myself to become detached from my story. I looked at my past self in third person instead of acknowledging where I had been, where God has brought me, and where He is taking me. I desire to be vulnerable so others can see that God stepped in when there was no other hope.
As I allow God to continue to use me in whichever way He may choose, I will be grateful for that day I spent with you. This was a monumental step in my healing journey. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for helping me remember, with fresh eyes, what God has done for me. Even writing this now, my words don't compare to the amount of gratitude I have. Thank you for helping me to see I am one in 7 billion. ---- Love, Christian"