27 Aug 2021

How do you heal after trauma? How do you even try to begin? Trauma comes in so many shapes and sizes, but for me it consists of 6 unsuccessful IVF cycles, years of heart break that ultimately resulted in one failed marriage. How do you pick yourself up after that? 

I did it by reaching out. I did it by getting out of my comfort zone, taking a risk, meeting a stranger and sharing my story. That stranger very quickly became my closest friend. We shared our stories. Both of us having completely different backgrounds but both totally exhausted from trying to deal with the heaviness of carrying those experiences around every day. We held nothing back and suddenly our trauma became less, the burden was no longer so heavy.

But we still had healing to do. We wanted to do something big and bold and meaningful. We wanted our stories to be out in the world for all to see.

We wanted society as a whole to recoil and wake up and see, really SEE the trauma that we, as women, carry. Every. Single. Day.

Words. The words we hear every day. The words we learn to tell ourselves. The words that are used towards us to make us feel ‘less than’. Less than because we are different. Less than because we have emotions. Less than because we have specific medical needs. Less than because we are just ‘girls’. Because we are women. All of these words get bandied about daily and they leave a mark. They leave scars, mental and physical. They affect everything you know about yourself. How you see the world and how you move through your own life. 

It’s time to take back the power of those words and start changing the language we use towards women. Its time for society to open up its eyes, eyes that are still screwed up tight against the truth and finally see the damage that is happening when we use these words against our beautiful women. 

So we took those words, our own words, to describe our own stories and we wrote them on our bodies.

We wrote them on our skin in big, bold writing. All the words that had been said to us to be-little and cause pain, to reduce us down until we became small and invisible.

I thought it would be difficult. I thought I would struggle to get those words out of my head and allow someone else to see them. There is an acute, raw, vulnerability in allowing someone to see into your very psyche. Putting the words down that you have been told about yourself, that you believe about yourself on your skin for all to see is a massive deal. How will it affect you? Will it trigger old emotions, cause more pain? How will it affect others when they read them? Will they run in horror? Will they shy away in shame? Will they cry, rage, or laugh? 

For me it was fucking powerful.

For me it was standing in my own skin and truly owning my story for all its gory details for the first time and being proud of myself. For me it was allowing others to see what society expects of me and that same society failing me when I don’t live up to it. For me it was allowing myself to be truly vulnerable and to be right up in your fucking face VISIBLE.

When Christie and I took our photos it was supposed to be for the two of us, to face our demons, bring light to the trauma we had been through and allow us some healing. But it was so much more than that.

There was no difficulty in finding the words. And when we got naked and started writing it came easily and un-ashamedly.

We completely under-estimated how empowering it would feel. There was no judgment or embarrassment. Only respect.

Respect for each other and our stories, respect for our bravery and survival. The experience was so cathartic that we want to offer it to other women, to ALL women.

In our images you will see women with language written on their bodies that is nasty and confronting and rude.

But what you will also see is women with their hands bound behind their backs, bound by society, held prisoner by unrealistic expectations.

You will see women standing naked from the waist up, duct tape covering their nipples but all else exposed. Exposed to a world that is forever telling us what to wear, how we should look, what to feel, how to act. You will see our mouths covered with duct tape, as we often feel gagged by society, un-allowed to talk about the things that matter to us, the subjects and events that cause us so much pain and anguish. You will see women with pain in their eyes, pain from living in a world that is constantly judging and shaming, pain from not being believed, from feeling worthless.  

When I stood and looked at my reflection with all those words written on my body, no longer hidden in my mind, but out in the open for all to see, I felt all that shame and judgment fade away.

I felt powerful. I felt like I could finally own my story and reclaim it.

Reclaim my body and cry ENOUGH.
Reclaim my mind and shout ENOUGH.
Enough to these prejudice’s.
Enough to these ancient views.
Enough to bigoted people who don’t think about the consequences of their words. The consequences of their actions.
I stood with those words written on me and I took back my power. I took back my self-worth and I took back the right to just be me.

Beautiful, broken, imperfect, strong, wonderful, POWERFUL me!
And so the We ARE Enough Art Project was born.

It started with the two of us trying to do something for ourselves to bring closure and healing to our own trauma and it has evolved into what we hope to be a movement of women, a movement FOR women, a telling of stories and a bright light shining on what was once hidden in the dark.

We want to create an art piece so profound, so confronting and impactful it hurts to look at it. A piece that can’t be ignored, that can’t be silenced, that can’t be swept under the rug and forgotten.

We want to create long-lasting societal change that starts with us and ripples out, firstly through our participants and then through them out into the world.

We want it to be for all women, from all backgrounds and cultures and races. We want all women to have the opportunity to say ‘this is MY story’ and stand proudly together and scream at the world we have had enough

It’s enough.

We are asking 1600 women to join us in the making of the biggest art piece of its kind. We want to start a conversation that doesn’t end. We want people to start thinking about the power of their words. We want people to understand the impact of what we tell our little girls and how it affects the women they grow up to be. We want women to fall in love with them selves. We want women to be recognised for who and what they are. We want them to stand proud and strong, brave and beautiful, and take back their power. We want them to stand together and SCREAM at the world it’s ENOUGH. 

No more, we wont take it any more.
Whether you join us or support us, it’s time to stand together and scream WE ARE ENOUGH.
– Amanda Gill


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