Boudoir STL- Boudoir by Tracy Brown
Guest Writer- Makayla Winkler
They always say scars tell the best stories, so I’m going to tell you about mine.
December 7th, 2015 will be a day I never forget. At 9:10 am, I was in a car wreck, leaving me with a broken femur, fractured hip,and fractured pelvis. I was air lifted into emergency surgery, where I woke up with 5 new scars, and plenty of permanent hardware in my leg-a rod, 2 plates, and countless screws.
As a model and barrel racer, my entire world was turned upside down. I thought life as I previously knew it was over. No one wants to hire a model with 2 very visible 8 inch scars on her leg. I was also told that I would probably never be able to competitively barrel race again, if even ride a horse without pain. I didn’t know what to do.
I was ordered 3 months bed rest from my doctor, which is more than enough time to sit and think about my new, boring life. As much as I tried to laugh and joke about everything with the people around me, I was broken just as much on the inside as I was on the outside.
Depression was a real thing for me. I no longer felt beautiful or strong, and considering I couldn’t even take a shower without help, my independence was ripped away from me as well. It was hard to take. I will forever be grateful for my parents and my boyfriend at the time, Zach. I wouldn’t have made it without them.
About 2 months into bed rest, I started to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I knew that I was supposed to be released soon if all went well. Determination set in. I was determined that I was going to make the best of a bad situation. I was going to prove everyone wrong and come back stronger than ever. I had a lot of talks with God throughout the healing process, and I felt that it was time for me to turn this experience into something I could be proud of at the end of this journey.
I did my therapy without help at home, mostly me practicing swinging a leg over a saddle and cleaning stalls. The day I got released I wanted to know I could come home and be able to get on a horse, where I am the most happy. Things went well, and I was released early, conveniently a few days before a barrel race. Those who know me, know that I am impatient, hard headed, and maybe a little crazy about competing. My horses weren’t in shape of course, so graciously, as always, Terresa Sanders let me run her gelding. My first run back felt amazing, looked pretty good, and I felt like I was on top of the world.
My next step was to conquer modeling again, but more importantly, regain my confidence. One of the biggest tasks of rocking a session, besides a great photographer, is confidence. You have to feel great to look good. At that time, when I looked in the mirror, all I could see was what 3 months of bed rest had done to my body. Along with the new scars, I had also gained a few pounds, plus lost some muscle tone. When I looked in the mirror, I didn’t feel like I even knew the girl looking back.
My first shoot back was with STL Boudoir Photographer, Tracy Brown. I remember how nervous I was for her to finally come see my new scars in person, the scars that were going to make her job more difficult, and possibly make my job nonexistent. My leg still didn’t work like it used to, and I remember this shoot seeming to have more challenging poses than I had done at the time, not to mention we were outside in a creek bed, and I was wearing 4 inch heels. I felt like I was letting her down. As always though, Tracy made me feel beautiful! We laughed, joked, had a great time, and from what I saw on the back of the camera, got some killer shots. By the end of the day I was feeling great again, and I couldn’t wait to see the photos after retouching.A day or two later, when she posted the first one, I was thrilled. The images were gorgeous!
Shortly after that first shoot was posted, girls quickly let me know that I didn’t look as great as I felt. I’m aware that there will always be people critiquing you and as a model, I was prepared for it, but at a time when I needed to be built up more than ever, people were doing their absolute best to tear me down. I would be lying if I said it didn’t get the best of me for a while. I thought to myself that just maybe they were right and I’m not pretty enough to model.
But you know what, the first thing I see in the mirror every morning when I wake up is my scars, and, in a way, I have grown to love them. They have made me into the person I am today. I know my strength and determination. I know I am a good person and friend. And, I know, despite the negative comments they have stirred up, or the strange conversations they have started, I am so thankful for the new found confidence my scars have given me.
If I have learned one thing on this crazy journey I have been on this past year, it’s that life is too short to worry about making everyone happy or getting more “likes” than your friends on Facebook. And it is definitely too short to let someone else determine your happiness or limit you.
No matter what, set high goals for yourself, and do whatever it takes to reach them. And while you’re on your own journey don’t be afraid to eat the last piece of cake, drink too many margaritas, or dye your hair a crazy color. And most importantly, embrace your scars and imperfections. They are what make you who you are and that really is a beautiful thing.