i am enough from Vivienne McMaster

i am enough from Vivienne McMaster

I made myself invisible.

And I was.

Everywhere I looked I saw proof of that.

Proof that I was a mousy younger sister of someone beautiful, that people noticed.  Proof that by her side I disappeared.  Proof that no one found me attractive and that I would never be loved.  Proof that I was doing everything wrong.  Proof that how I walked, ate, swallowed, even breathed was annoying to someone around me, so I must be horrible to be around.   I took looks of disgust and counted them as evidence that I was invisible, or at least should be.

Harsh, I know.

When we seek out proof of a story we’ve created for ourselves (or accepted), we can find it.  Interpreting every bit of criticism or negativity as proof of that story we wrote into our bones.

I believed those things and consistently saw the proof of them.

It took me a long time (as in decades) to realize that if I could find proof of that, I could find proof of the opposite.

That I could be visible, seen, even feel beautiful.

That the story I believed, that paralyzing insecurity, it could be re-written.

It was a choice and at any moment I could begin a practice of seeing and creating a new story.

So I did.

Day by day.

One of the most profound ways I made this choice was turning the camera on myself.  When I did that I created a space where only I was in control of the way I see myself.  Where there was room for what was quirky about me, where there was room for all of my identity. Where there was room to see my body as beautiful in its curves, all 200+ pounds of it.

I became the narrator of my own story.

I just started to let myself be seen, by me.

That led to feeling seen by others.

I was no longer invisible and now I had reclaimed personal power over how I was to be seen.

I just finally started to see the proof in myself.  In the mirror, through the lens.

I felt like I had to remove the armor of invisibility.  Bit by bit I’m removing myself from under it and letting myself be seen for who I truly am.

It is a process though, becoming visible again.  My instinct is to still walk down the street head held low.  I’m learning to lift it up, look people in the eye, to let myself be seen.

It is still hard work.  I still don’t have proof that I will find love and be loved,but I’ve learned along the way that if I want proof of that too, I can find it.

I’m learning after all this time that I am enough.

I was always enough.

That the proof of that was always there for me to see,

I just had to make the choice to see it.


Vivienne McMaster is a photographer with a big heart and a spirit of playfulness.  She is part whimsical, part urban, and definitely quirky.  She teaches a wide variety of photography and video based e-courses and believes that self-portraiture and creative exploration can save our lives.  She shares colorful visual stories over at her website.

  • Pamela Rudisill
    Posted at 16:48h, 14 June Reply

    You are one amazing woman, Vivienne! You inspire me to lift my head and create a new story. Thank you.

  • angie
    Posted at 17:04h, 14 June Reply

    one of the most beautiful pieces i've read. as i sit here tears welling in my eyes i can't help but want to read and re-read and re-read this again and again.

    thank you for sharing you gorgeous girl you.

  • EA
    Posted at 17:25h, 14 June Reply

    You are beautiful! Embrace it! Believe it! Real beauty shines from within.

  • Carolyn HP
    Posted at 18:20h, 14 June Reply

    I hope it would be okay to tell you that you inspire me, as I read this, I thought that could be me, it could explain exactly how I feel sometimes and that lately, I've seen just a small spark of all that is beautiful reflected in the photos I see of myself as I am getting ready to be married in August, a feat that I never thought would happen, as I was very doubtful I would find love in this crazy world, but I did, and with it, I feel happier, and finally I can see that I am more relaxed and happy with my self than I have ever been in life. Sometimes we just need to understand and feel more secure and chase away all the negative feelings.

    Thank you for putting into words what I can relate to on such a personal level.

    Love this, thank you for the beauty you show the world, in your words and in your true self 🙂

  • Valerie
    Posted at 18:33h, 14 June Reply

    Oh my goodness V, you are so deeply seen, held and loved! Thank you for sharing who you are with the world because you are simply amazing!

  • shaina longstreet
    Posted at 19:52h, 14 June Reply

    I am choosing to "begin a practice of seeing and creating a new story" with your inspiration, Viv. Thank you for this gorgeous piece of writing. You are beautiful and I admire you. <3 Much love.

  • stefanierenee
    Posted at 20:32h, 14 June Reply

    Oh Vivienne, this is beautiful and so very raw – thank you for sharing yourself, your words, your photos with the world. so much love and light darling ~ so much!

  • Christina
    Posted at 03:00h, 15 June Reply

    how beautiful. you are so very real and inspiring.
    thank you for sharing.
    ps: i love this series.

  • marina sorr.
    Posted at 08:07h, 15 June Reply

    Vivienne, thank you.
    these are beautiful words and you are beautiful. and very brave and strong. and you are enough. and a gift to the world.
    your words resonate deep inside me. I am on a similar path, and find that, even if I happen to find that I have wandered off from it, each step I take on this path brings me nearer to my genuine self and makes me breathe more freely and allows me to feel more and more the joy of sharing bits of myself with other human beings.
    do keep making the choice to see your beauty every day, Vivienne.
    and thank you so much for sharing your truth and beauty here.

  • Kyra
    Posted at 12:47h, 15 June Reply

    This is beautiful. YOU are beautiful. Thank you for sharing this, and I'm so happy that you found the power within yourself to be who you ARE!

  • Esther Emma
    Posted at 13:24h, 15 June Reply

    hi vivienne, the first thing i noticed in the last photo (that i really love 🙂 were your eyes. so bright and glowing with pleasure. and than i thought let's google your name for the meaning of it and why am i not surprised it means vibrant and full of life. and that's what i see. i see it in your eyes. i read it in your story. i see it in your pictures. i am so grateful for you, that you discovered this yourself. i think that's the greatest treasure in life. so be vivienne and live it out 🙂 with all my love, esther emma

  • Blake
    Posted at 17:06h, 15 June Reply

    aware, brave, beautiful, insightful, inspiring, generous, real, honest, with so much integrity, love you, Blake

  • Colette
    Posted at 09:15h, 18 June Reply

    So beautiful. BRAVE GIRL.

  • Kimberley McGill
    Posted at 19:43h, 18 June Reply

    You read my heart.

    I clicked over here from twitter, so glad I did. Brave, vulnerable, real. I too am learning to see me. Thank you for sharing this.

  • Dionne the Tea Priestess
    Posted at 12:50h, 19 June Reply

    Such deep beauty and truth here. There is so much of this that I could have wrote myself. But what sticks with me most is how healing turning the camera on myself has been, which has been a wonderful surprise. I was inspired by Miss Viv when I took a mini workshop with her earlier this year and I'm taking another class with her now. Bless you Miss V and thanks for shining your light!

  • Jen
    Posted at 02:27h, 23 June Reply

    Wow. You are telling my story…I was just thinking about the stories I repeat today and realized that first I need to see them as stories rather than truths "written in my bones."

    Thank you for sharing this!

  • kelly barton
    Posted at 01:31h, 25 June Reply

    love me some viv. an amazingly gifted girl. but even better – a dearie.

  • Marisisea
    Posted at 19:44h, 25 June Reply

    The photos of Vivienne are stunning. She should be seen, and what an inspiring story.

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