Kait was 7 years old when she tied one end of a jump rope around her neck and the other to the top of her loft. She remembers always having the heaviest feelings that couldn’t be explained. Some moments it was like a flower blossoming in her chest, opening up to the world with the most inexplicable joy, pure and bursting with a love of life. Other moments it would be a rock in her chest, full of pain, a weight dragging her down, filling her brain with dark thoughts, and pissing her off because she knew she had no reason to feel this way. This deep rooted “heaviness,” along with “Daddy Issues” after her biological father terminated his rights, a new dad with an occasional short temper (who loved her, and she loved more than a girl her age could comprehend) and the dreaded pre-teen to teenage bullies, made her feel inherently inadequate. “Not good enough” became a personal mantra. Kait has always been showered with love and support from amazing family and friends, yet always felt as though it was fake. Again, bringing her to the vicious cycle of anger, knowing she shouldn’t be feeling this way with all of these wonderful people in her life. She felt ungrateful. Selfish. Hateful towards who she was and, you guessed it, not good enough. This feeling never left her, even laying in her loving and complimenting husband’s arms as he told her he loved her, she didn’t believe it. Eventually, she realized all her problems…she didn’t love herself. After that realization, she began to heal. It is still a battle to feel okay with loving herself, and she knows it always will be. When asked how she overcame her struggles, she said, “you don’t just overcome your demons. You wake up every morning and have the opportunity to conquer them. As long as you are intentional about what you think and do, you can be a new champion every day. But, there will always be days when the rock just pulls you down. It is unavoidable, but, remember that one bad day does not equal a bad life. Fight for tomorrow, wake up and be a champion!”
Kait is Jessica's daughter. This was the first portrait for this exhibit that inspired the idea. Then, while working on the What is Beauty portraits, Jessica was inspired to add the Faces of Suicide because of the trials of these beautiful young ladies.