A woman’s body is a miraculous, life-giving force, a powerful blend of softness and strength that pulses with love. At any size, shape and age, a woman’s body is a sight to behold.
But the very nature of its power means that a woman’s body is also prone to being undermined and undervalued, degraded and defiled. Sometimes that’s done by obscene outside forces, other times by sinister voices within.
The thing about a woman’s body, though, is that you can never, ever count it out. Eventually it will muster the strength of its spirit and harness the power of its mind, and it will rise. It will silence those sinister voices, and it will leave behind the ones doing it harm, and its fragile wounds will fade to scars of ferocity that will make it even more beautiful than it was before.
Want proof? Just look at these women.
Charleston native Nikki Dubose, 30, grew up immersed in chaos. She had an alcoholic mother with dissociative identity disorder and bipolar disorder. She was physically abused at age 4 and sexually abused at age 8, which is the same year she started binge eating. Overeating turned into purging by age 10, which eventually morphed into anorexia nervosa.
“I had a really unstable family life, I really felt I had nobody to turn to,” Dubose says of her childhood pain. “So I basically turned to all the wrong things.”
All the wrong things included alcohol and drugs, sexual promiscuity and a raging eating disorder that would grip her mind and gut for 17 years. Ironically, as she used these harmful habits to cover her emotional anguish, her damaged body was increasingly admired. Dubose, who now lives in Los Angeles, spent years working as a model for a top agency based in Miami, traveling the world on her looks alone.
“The skinnier I got, the happier they were,” she said of those in the fashion industry. “I had bones for arms. One day before a photo shoot I was holding up my arms for them to put lotion on and it was literally just bone, there was no muscle or anything. Someone said ‘Oh my god, your arm is so skinny. But it’s OK, all the supermodels have arms like this.’” Dubose, who is 5’9”, weighed 90 pounds.