A reflection from Pauline, Fall 2016.
Since participating in this project, the filmmaker has gone on to make
A New Reflection, about Kate Atkinson, whose photos and story follows.
When I participated in The Difference Project, it was really hard for me to bring up my past. When you advance so much in your personal growth and come to accept yourself, you don't really want to bring up the bad times again. Nobody likes to revisit pain.
When I was approached to participate in The Difference Project, I said to myself that maybe looking at my past and all the painful memories wasn't a bad thing. In fact, I knew it could help me grow even more.
As a child, I was often teased for the way I looked and the way I spoke. It took me until I was about 16 or 17 to finally come to except my facial difference for what it was. With that understanding, I was also at peace that I could finally verbalize my thoughts and feelings concerning my Cleft Lip and Cleft Palette.
The only thing I was struggling with at the time was finding and accepting the beauty in myself.
This participatory project really got me to reflect on my past with dating; it wasn't until my first boyfriend called me beautiful that I could start on my path in the journey of my self-acceptance. Now, there are still days that I think I look horrible . . . but it's not because of my facial difference. Usually, my hair doesn't agree with me, which is normal for everyone. My facial difference is what makes me a beautiful person both inside and out. My face is what makes me unique. When I noticed that everyone has different features on their face, I realized that I was just one of the many who was unique. We are all the same in the fact that we all have different facial distinctions, which, in and of itself, is a uniqueness worth celebrating.