What lies beneath?

What happens when we experience emotional or physical trauma? How do we cope with pain? The RAW Body project is an exploration into our bodies and how we store trauma, burying them deep within our cells. We cope by hiding them until we become numb and unaware. But our bodies know. Our bodies hold trauma.

RAW Body project isn't about body image or the surface aspects of our body. It's about what lies beneath. Journey into an exploration into women's bodies and bring to light out of darkness the traumas they hold.

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about your despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.

Mary Oliver, “Wild Geese”

“Within my body are all the sacred places of the world, and the most profound pilgrimage I can ever make is within my own body.”    — Saraha

Divine Womb

Dear Divine Womb,

You are empty. I am acutely aware.

I have been trying to fill you for five years. That’s a long time. Please forgive me for all the awful things I’ve said about you. I’ve thought some nasty things too. Because you are not really empty. You are actually full. You are full of creative ideas and endeavors; you are full of essential life blood; you are full of power. What can it do? Who can it affect? If you and I don’t bring a child into this world, what is stopping me from dreaming about all of the other beautiful things we can create?

After five years, five painful years of trying to fill you, for seeing you only as a means to motherhood, I finally get it. You are a partner, a collaborator, a caretaker, a friend. You are here with me and for me. You mean me no harm. So here it is.

You matter. I honor you. Thank you.

Marked Life

Dear Marked Life,

What would it be like to have a clean slate? What would it be like to be normal? What would it mean to not hide in shame but shine in beauty? What would it feel like to be unmarked?

I can imagine never being teased again for having two belly buttons or the permanent fat roll that is ever present. That has a nice feeling, but nothing nice as the gift of having a second chance at life. That moment you filled my heart with a purpose, God, a purpose you gifted me at 3 months old. The purpose you whisper in my ear and that purpose you flash before my eyes day, after day, after day.

It would be nice to have a clean slate, but then I wouldn’t have a reminder. It would be nice to normal, but being different is memorable. It would be nice to feel beautiful but beauty often lies in the bruises. It would be nice to be unmarked but then I wouldn’t know how you want me to leave my mark on the world.

It is through this imperfection that my story, my purpose comes alive and for that I am grateful. It is through this scar that my journey begins.


Interested in being part of this project or in connecting with me? Contact me by using the form below or emailing me directly at hi@judyleephotography.com.