Claudia, Amy’s Auslan interpreter, arrives before she does and is welcomed by all as an integral member of the days events. Amy arrives soon after and her presence is immediately felt – she radiates happiness, confidence and energy with loving arms ready to hug everyone.
As the #journeytoworthy Army members await their turn in the make up chair I observe Claudia and Amy communicating through sign language and am mesmerised by the beauty of a language made up by hand movements.
Amy has her make up done, pops on her ‘I am Worthy’ tee and steps in front of the white back drop and studio lights to begin her shoot and interview. Her giggles are contagious as she nervously covers her face, before showing her true self and spinning around on the stool, where we capture the most authentic pictures of her.
I begin the interview, with the same question I ask every army member – “Have you always loved yourself?”
Amy smiles and emphatically declares “Yes! I have always believed I am quite a strong person. I love my life and I wouldn’t change anything about myself”. This is refreshing to hear however as we delve a little deeper, we gain insight into what life may have been like for Amy, growing up deaf.
Amy states that her own mother always described her as ‘very stubborn’ and Amy herself admits, that she really likes to prove people wrong. Communication has always been a barrier and Amy still encounters issues regarding discrimination, bullying and inclusion. To help with her confidence, she has always ensured she has access to interpreters, like Claudia (provided by the NDIS), note writers and that Amy herself learns communication skills through lip reading, and speech pathology. This allows her to avoid secluding herself, something Amy works really hard on NOT doing, as other people, particularly mums at school, often avoid her due to lack of understanding and willingness to even try and communicate.
I can’t imagine how difficult this, sometimes daily, bullying and lack of inclusion must be and any feelings of hurt, sadness or anger that Amy must feel, are well masked by her beautiful smiling face and infectious personality. When asked how she handles these scenarios Amy tells me that she has learned to “control herself” and remind herself that these are just “ignorant people” and contributing to the stigma that surrounds her disability. “People can’t be bothered communicating with me”, she signs to Claudia, “they avoid me because its too much hard work. But I’m AMY, not just a deaf person. I’m Amy and I want people to know that”.
But I’m AMY, not just a deaf person. I’m Amy and I want people to know that”.
Everyone is worthy of inclusion and acceptance and WE are the lucky ones to have Amy as part of our amazing army of self loving women – the #journeytoworthy Army. We all need an Amy in our lives – one full of laughter, positivity and a ‘can do’ attitude despite the obstacles life places in our way. Thank you Amy xoxo
If you would like to join the Army you can purchase an “I am worthy” tee from the store here – 10% of proceeds are donated to the The Butterfly Foundation, an amazing organisation supporting those affected by eating disorders. Sizes are available from XS – 5XL
You can read more about the #journeytowothy movement here and I welcome any and all questions. We also have a Facebook group open to everyone, whether you own a tee or not! A great, female strong, community of warriors and surviviors, where you can express feelings, ask questions, offer advice or watch it all unfold quietly – without judgement, prejudice or discrimination. Click HERE to join
Special thank you to:
Amy Mcewing: @renovation.mumma
Giulia Scolaria: @giuliascolari_photos