In May 2014 I held a competition call Project Individual Worth. The point of the competition was to nominate a person who you would call beautiful, and not the promoted Hollywood ideals of what beauty should be. The winners were given a free photo shoot in the Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh. I was able to catch up with two of the winners, and we had a fantastic day in the gardens. The last winners were unable to make it at the time.
Let me introduce you to the last winners Donna and Karis. Here is the letter that was sent in that nominated these lovely ladies:
I would like to nominate a mother and daughter who have amazed and inspired me since I was lucky enough to join their beautiful family in 2000 when I met my son’s dad.
Karis was a toddler then and the most gorgeous, tumbling haired Scottish beauty with a beautiful green eyes and precocious language and temper. I remember her calling her day nurses “Blithering Buffoons” at the age of 3 and reducing us all to tears. Karis is now an equally beautiful teenager. She has won a place on an Open University degree in Arts and Creative Writing at 15 and has worked with the Poet Laureate. She has a crush on Jake from Twilight and she is very poorly.
Karis was born with muscular dystrophy like her brother Luc who died at the age of 9. Karis never met Luc but her mum Donna cared for him every day like she does Karis. Their house is full of music and poetry and laughter and they are the epitomy of beauty to me.
Joe’s dad and I separated before Karis could become the bridesmaid I had promised she would be. This would be a small way of telling her how special she is and how strong Donna and Karis have been to challenge discrimination, disability law and all the problems that come along with life limiting illness.
They live in Inverness but could travel to Edinburgh if Karis is well enough.
I can’t put into words how blessed I feel to have such amazing women in my life and they deserve to be celebrated.
Thankyou for the opportunity to share.
Over the years I have kept in contact with Donna and Karis through email. We have both have had our ups and downs. Finally the email arrive saying that they would be in Edinburgh for Karis’s 18th birthday, and that we could meet up. We decided to meet up at the Modern Art Gallery.
When we met at the gallery it felt like we had known each for a long time, and it was a pure joy to spent time with Donna, Karis and the family. Donna is such a wonderful mother, and woman who is a hero to her family, and rightly so. When listening to the story of the trials they have been through my admiration for them grew. People can be so horrible to what they see as a disabled person. Karis is definitely a bright spark, and wonderful young woman. Her body may be in a wheelchair but her mind is quick, and her humour is on pace with any other comedian.
If you want to want to see Karis in action please watch this video. The Trailblazers is a Muscular Dystrophy network for young people. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ign7OQ5GteQ
Here are three pictures from the day. Happy in Birthday to Karis also (July 30). It was a joy to spend time with you.
Donna and Karis
The Williamson family
I still feel it is important to encourage people to learn to see the beauty within themselves, as so many insecurities eat away at us everyday. It is not easy as I have been there fighting my own insecurities, and training my mind to compliment myself every time I want to pick out a flaw takes a lot of practice. Body shaming is just a version of pointing out insecurities or worries that might be buried deep within our-self. What I have learned is the kinder you are to yourself the more confident you become, and confidence is one of the most attractive features a person can have. Everyone has unique beauty.