I have a new outlook; I can do this

I am me and I am beautiful! I have been on my journey to discovering who I am for a while now. I first heard of The Haven Retreat from a friend last year. I was skeptical about applying at first, then I did. Things began to fall into place. I received the dates I was to come. My anxiety grew once I arrived. That was put to ease as I was greeted by some friendly faces. I came to the retreat hiding and wearing a mask. The mini makeover/photoshoot was my biggest healing moment. For the first time ever, I finally began to feel and believe I am beautiful. I told the staff, I felt like I was going to a prom that I never got to attend. I slowly began letting go of my mask. I let my guard down and knew that the staff and those who attended were those I could feel safe around. I began to open up, and allowed myself to reconnect with the inner child who was lost so long ago. I walked around the yard with my new friends laughing and having fun. I realized that I am the author of my own book. I decide if and when to turn the page and begin my new chapter. My hiding and mask are gone! I have a new outlook and new tools to use to help me continue my healing journey. I can do this! I am forever grateful for this experience!

-Dawn, Survivor