Just stopping by today with an excerpt from the book, Washed Away. There is more information about the book and the author below the excerpt.
Chapter 5: Sex, Suicide, Addiction, Bullying & Divorce
Life is like a painting; our circumstances are the brushes that define which way the lines will flow and trickle. This endless mural reveals the contents of our souls through its unique colors, textures, and shades.
As life develops, the mural shifts, taking on an infinite number of directions. During challenges and pain, our paintings smear, appearing with tears, splotches of black, and graffiti. In our culture, these strange arrangements of color resemble distorted images of the objects we’ve observed since childhood, such as our troublesome environments and the media. These deep longings to replace who we are with superficial guides may start out as innocent but can end in harm.
I believe that our heart alone, as hard as it may try, can never create the masterpiece our lives and souls are capable of becoming. We need something greater to guide us, a Power higher than the things of this world. When the beautiful and mysterious energies of God guide our movements, our souls become the works of art they were always meant to be.
Throughout most of my life, my painting was a swirl of fragmented, blackened shadows. The tormented figures and idealized images I held in my mind were unattainable; they were lost and broken in storms of regret and confusion. The shadows lunged at me, laughing hideously and mocking everything I held dear. I was held captive in a prison of nightmares, and I thought that the only way to be happy was to numb myself. I lived under the pretense that at some undefined moment, something in the world would break me free and rid me of my inner anguish. I failed to understand that God was the key to my success, and I looked to things and others, expecting something that could never be. False prophets and selfish doctrines called to me, and I wandered endlessly searching for their promises through dark, forsaken tunnels.
Evil is distracting and destructive, and its objective is to break and damage our inner world. It wishes to extinguish our hope and blot out the flames of joy and passion in our heart. If it steals our happiness, it has managed to take away our strength. I repeatedly reinforced the evil that I received from others through harming and talking down to myself. I was unaware life could be different, yet I deeply longed for it to be. I believed that messages of inspiration and hope were based on lies, and I further isolated into my paranoid darkness.
Nikki DuBose is a former model turned author, speaker, and mental health advocate. In her memoir, Washed Away: From Darkness to Light, Nikki recounts her experiences navigating the dark side of the modeling industry, while battling abuse, addiction, and various mental health issues (sexual victimization, eating disorders, alcoholism, drugs, depression, suicide attempts, body dysmorphic disorder, PTSD, psychosis). She recently appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Network on the TD Jakes Show to speak about her recovery from Body Dysmorphic Disorder and eating disorders, and how the pressure to "fit into" the modeling industry nearly killed her.
“By my early twenties, I was modeling professionally and appeared on the covers of and in editorials for magazines such as Maxim, Glamour, Vogue, FHM, and Vanity Fair. But while my career was going exceptionally well, my private life was falling apart. My mental and emotional health were in shambles. I went from one extreme to the other to meet weight requirements for photo shoots, and quickly fell into anorexia nervosa. At times I struggled to survive, beginning to abuse diet pills as a way to achieve the figure that my agents were pushing me to have for fashion shoots,” says DuBose.
Because of the lack of laws and protections, models have long been subjected to sexual and financial abuse, bullying from agents, and have been pressured to lose so much weight that many have developed devastating, even fatal eating disorders.
Nikki’s recovery from a nearly lifelong struggle with PTSD, psychosis, addictions and eating disorders has left her with a passionate longing to help others who are also suffering. Although the modeling industry has made strides towards body diversity in the past couple of years, there is a lack of education and awareness surrounding eating disorders and other mental health issues. Washed Away: From Darkness to Light serves as a testimony to others to let them know that they are not alone in their fears, doubts, and frustrations, and that through recovery all things are possible.
Book Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Fop6kvFZI8
"A compelling and educational read about the dark side of the fashion business and its effect on mental health. Nikki draws upon her experiences of overcoming a life-threatening eating disorder as she navigates through the industry, all while wrestling with a broken home life and struggling to discover her inner voice. Nikki's story is truly remarkable and will serve as a beacon to anyone who has ever doubted their own intrinsic value. I highly recommend Washed Away: From Darkness to Light.” - Brian Cuban, Attorney, Author (Shattered Image: My Triumph Over Body Dysmorphic Disorder), Activist
“I was truly amazed by her determination to live life. I saw a woman that had every reason to quit and remain silent, but she chose to break through every obstacle that challenged her. I am very grateful that she has taken on the challenge to not only speak about her experience, but to fight for change in laws that will empower children and survivors to protect themselves. We all need to learn from Nikki and use our voices to create positive change. It is no longer okay for the silence to outweigh the tough discussion. Ignorance will not stop child sex predators from harming our children.” - Matthew Sandusky, Founder & Executive Director of Peaceful Hearts Foundation, Author (Undaunted: Breaking My Silence to Overcome the Trauma of Child Sexual Abuse), Speaker
“To endure what DuBose has within her first decade proves more than most could handle in a lifetime, yet she looks back at her life with grace and a rare honesty. As she takes us through the overly sexualized fashion industry as an international top model, she gives the no-holds barred account on mental illness, rape, and eating disorders that our society so desperately needs.” - Neesha Arter, Journalist & Author (Controlled)
"Washed Away: From Darkness to Light is an incredible story of one brave woman's perseverance in the face of daunting life circumstances. Nikki DuBose details her chilling experiences with an eating disorder, childhood sexual abuse, alcoholism and drug abuse - and how she found the strength to rise above and find recovery. This powerful read will inspire those in their own recovery journeys." - Kristina Saffran, Co-Founder and Co-Executive Director at Project HEAL
About the Author:
Nikki lives in Los Angeles. She recently worked alongside Assembly member Marc Levine on California Assembly Bill 2539, which addressed the need for workplace protections and health standards in the modeling industry. She gives talks regularly on her recovery at universities and treatment centers. Her advocacy work and recovery story has been profiled on CBS Los Angeles, People, Vogue UK, Esquire, India Times, Inquisitr, and many others. She also writes extensively on mental health, political issues, and exposes the truth about the modeling industry on The Huffington Post, the National Eating Disorders Association, Eating Disorder Hope, Clinical Recovery Institute, and Recovery Warriors. She also recently contributed as an expert reviewer for Harvard University's STRIPED program (Strategic Training Initiative for the Prevention of Eating Disorders), helping craft their lesson for this new semester, which focuses on modeling and eating disorders.
To learn more, go to http://nikkidubose.com/