Photography by Slice of Lime Photo
Meet Caitlyn. She is Beauty Revived.
“I have overcome a lot of obstacles; the ones that challenge you are the best ones”. This quote
is fitting for my life, from the start. I was born May 2000 with the umbilical cord wrapped around
my neck. This was just the start of obstacles to come in my life.
Growing up, my father worked full time, and my “mother” was barely there. My grandparents,
aunt, and great-grandpa were a huge support to my twin brother and I. When we were six, we
moved with our father. By this time, my “mother” had little to do with me and my father’s
girlfriend was not the best role- model. She preferred my dad and brother over me. She put me
down, criticizing everything about my appearance. This took a toll on my self-esteem.
School was not always the best for me. I was either the weirdo, or the crazy girl; always the
topic of conversation. I fell asleep most nights crying, and began to believe what everyone said
about me. Even my “mother” did not want to be around me.
One night when I was ten, my father’s girlfriend and I had a disagreement. My “mother” was
living down the street at this time. After the argument, I decided to walk to her house. I stayed
with my “mother” for the next 14 months, until July 4 th . I was 12 years old and that day changed
My “mother” and her boyfriend at that time, took me to the fireworks. Walking down the street,
her boyfriend thought, for whatever reason, that pushing me would cheer me up, so he did. We
got into an argument. When we got home, as he parked the car, I got out of the vehicle and
started to run, but he was quicker than me. He yanked me by the arm and drug me across the
asphalt. Once he got me back to the house, he hit me multiple times in the head. My “mother”
decided the best thing was for me to go back to my father, so I did. I thought “things will get
better now that I am back; he is the only one who has ever been there for me”. Unfortunately,
that was not the case.
Once in 7 th grade, I was raped. Sorry to be so blunt, but it is what it is. After that, life was a
whirlwind. I attempted suicide and was hospitalized. I was depressed. Add that to negative
coping skills, and it lead me to weighing 227 pounds. I was again the topic of conversation at
school, and took everything people were saying to heart. Things continued to be rough, until 14
when a cat would start to change things for me.
Chewie short Chewbacca, was an adorable kitten I got for free. I spoiled him with every single
paycheck I got. Whenever I was depressed, Chewie was there for me. He was there for me in
October 2016; the last time I would see my father. My father was my anchor; my best friend.
He was always there for me, never doubted me. We had the same taste in food, the same
humor, the same ambition. And now due to allegations against him, he was gone.
I was placed with my older half-sister until November, when I was placed in a foster home. I
would go through four placements in four months. Through it all, I would call my dad every day
after school, waiting for the day I could go back home. Then one day he did not answer; he had
been incarcerated. I continued a downward spiral after that day. Eventually it landed me at the
United Methodist Home for Children in February 2017. I had lost my father, my Chewie, my
brother; my “mother “still wanted nothing to do with me. I had lost everything.
Once at UMHC, I had two choices. I was going to be defined by everything that had happened
to me, let it keep me down or I could rise in spite of it all and become a different person; I chose
the latter. I worked hard and lost a total of 88 pounds. I worked hard at school, and caught up
on all I missed. I developed coping skills to manage all that had happened. I attended church
and was active in the youth group. I started working to love the person that I saw in the mirror.
Now, at 17, a senior, I am happy with myself. When someone says “you’re beautiful” I believe it;
I take it as a compliment because I know it is true. There are still obstacles in my life, but I am
strong enough to keep working through them. Being born half-dead, emotional abused,
physical abused, obesity, bullying, multiple diagnosis, having little family, and being a ward of
the state, it could destroy me, but I decide every day not to let it. My goals, are what keep me
going. I am working to become a neurologist; I want to help others with similar experiences. I
am applying to colleges. I am now thinking about my future, when once I was not sure I had
one. On days that are particularly hard, and the future seems far away, I remember the words
of Abraham Lincoln, who said “The best thing about future, is that it comes one day at a time”.
Then I just take it one day at a time.
About the Photographer
Emil is a “closer to forty than she wants to admit” gal living in the Harrisburg, Pennsylvania area with her hubby, Jason, and her trio of black and white rescue doggies. When she’s not shooting seniors, families or headshots with Slice of Lime, plants, coffee, hats, and traveling are a sure way to get Emil happy dancing.