Survival, Patience and Legacy

Part 1:



I’ve realized, recently, that I have absolutely no patience.  I don’t know whether it is because I work in an industry that runs on latte’s and extra shots of espresso, or because I am used to being devoured by the hustle and bustle of big cities.


It wasn’t until I got my Master’s degree in the United Kingdom that I realized I needed to slow my roll.  Moving from a concrete jungle to an environment with organic food grown from a farm, pure air and greenery freaked me out.


Whilst in England, I was a continent away from everything that was in my comfort zone. I was eight hours time difference away from my best friends. I was five hours time difference away from my family in New York. There was no Cheesecake Factory! I wanted to hear Flatbush Ave, Diamond and Susquehanna, Bergen County American Accents. I was home sick and threatened everyone in my class I would get on a plane back to Newark. I was afraid to be in a place that was completely foreign to me. I was terrified of the fact to make new friends and to even possibly date a “British” person.  I just wanted to get through school and go back home to the States. I realize now, my fears were not about missing home or friends. My fear was, that for some reason, God had finally gotten a hold of me and put me in a place where I would have to deal with the intricacies of me.  I would now have to be alone and listen to my own thoughts. I would have to figure out what I wanted. I was in a country where I could not flea and drive my busted Toyota Rav 4 back to Jersey.  So I slowly began to discover who I was and what I wanted. I am finally ready to share my story and what I have overcome, and I hope that this story can help someone else.  These three posts are the main reasons for creating The Body Image Project. The first part of the blog will be about survival and the next two parts will be written about patience and legacy.


A couple years ago I was involved in a relationship with someone who, to be quite honest, we were not, let’s say, “Perfectly Matched.” There was absolutely no reason for us to be together, but when your self-esteem is low, you end up doing things that may not be in your best interest.  We may have loved each other at some point, but I honestly think we were in love with each other’s potential. We loved the dreams of what each other could be. We tried to fix each other and with the fixing came a series of abuse. Trust was abused. There was mental/verbal abuse. I abused myself physical by falling into a full on alcoholic binge of bad choices and depression.  I fell in love with alcohol and how it made me numb. I loved being numb so much that I tried to take my own life, and if it wasn’t for the miracle of God allowing my best friend to find me unconscious in my bedroom, I don’t know where I would have been. Between dancing in a daze of broken dreams and numbing myself from childhood memories that I could not erase; I found myself: with a college degree; broken up with; crazier than ever; suicidal; morbidly obese and in a psych ward. That year was EXTREMELY jammed packed- and I am sure there is a play in there somewhere.


In the relationship I was eating constantly, because my ex told me constantly, that he was attracted to “larger” women. So I ate anything and everything under the sun, to gain his approval. Silly, I know.  I would have pork ribs for LUNCH!! By, the end of the relationship, I honestly could have been an immediate relative of Notorious B.I.G. I gained over 50 pounds in the course of the year. Now this blog is not about blaming anyone. This entry is about survival. We both are at fault, because two broken people will never make a whole.  We did a lot of horrible things to each other, but forgiveness is the only way to heal and survive.


Sometimes our negative body image may occur, because of something painful someone has said or done. Abuse and Violence can be a huge source of negative body image. I have vivid memories of ex boyfriends calling me “Ugly” or “Stupid.” Which, honestly, I am neither one of those things; but because of the negative things people have said or done to me I sometimes have to fight harder to believe the positive things about myself.


There are many men and women that I have interviewed for The Body Image Project that have overcome huge feats. These people have survived: burns; cancer; MS; rape; molestation; war; war crimes; domestic violence; and many more.  Whatever you situation may have been, your body has gotten through it. Your body has been through the wringer, but you have survived and you are here to tell your story.  You are Strong! It is time to hold our heads high and have the confidence in the fact that we can survive any feats that may be placed before us.  You are a survivor and a testimony.  Believe it, be patient with your growth and make a legacy for yourself that you can look back on and be proud of.


I have overcome a lot in my life, and I am slowly, but surely, building up my confidence. It is time to Re- Claim OUR LIVES AND BODIES. Love is healthy, and not abusive. Love heals. Love forgives and moves forward. Love takes hard work and an extreme amount of patience. For me, God is Love, and HE saved my life. Love can mean so many things to other people. Love is survival and to survive is to be brave!


What have you survived?  Please share your story below in the comment box to help someone else that may be in need.  If you are a survivor and would like to be interviewed for The Body Image Project, please contact me at:



Be Blessed,


Danielle Pinnock



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Twitter: @thebodyimage




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  1. Amazing post sis, my favorite quote:
    “Love is healthy, and not abusive. Love heals. Love forgives and moves forward. Love takes hard work and an extreme amount of patience. For me, God is Love, and HE saved my life. Love can mean so many things to other people. Love is survival and to survive is to be brave”
    Love You


  2. You are unbelievably inspiring and your story is stunning. The courage you display through honesty and disclosure is so provocative. Thank you. I have been deeply touched by everything you have written thus far in this project’s journey and I look forward to the words still to come.


  3. i got here because of your comment on my blog. i went through a similar relationship that you did, spending 4 years with someone who told me i was unattractive, my body was disgusting, my stomach was too big (at 120 lbs!), i was stupid, incompetent, etc. it just destroyed me. i’ve spent years trying to build back from it. i survived childhood abuse but somehow this dug so much deeper, because it was from someone i loved as an adult, not someone who was in my life because of choices my parents made.

    “Love is healthy, and not abusive. Love heals. Love forgives and moves forward. Love takes hard work and an extreme amount of patience. ”

    such a strong message!! thank you for sharing your story


  4. Fawziyya Heart June 5, 2013 — 3:39 pm

    I was with you all the way on this one. I too was in a mentaly abusive relationship which led to trying new harmful things like drugs and alcohol. To top that all off I started having episodes due to my un diagnosed bi polar. I found myself running in the streets with no clothes on trying to rob stores, yeah girl s*#t got real. When I finally was put into a hospital I thought I would never get my life back and become who I used to be. I stayed there for about a month and then had to go back for about two weeks. When I came home I was so embarrassed by what my friends had seen me say and do. Some people actually stopped talking to me after it. But I had to keep telling myself that I wa sick and it wasn’t my fault. I had to stop hating myself for having a disorder. That’s when I got back onto my horse, made new friends and finished school. That was something I thought I would never get through but I’m here still standing strong.


  5. Edward Mawere June 5, 2013 — 3:00 pm

    This post is amazing… I too am in a point of my life where I am trying to rebuild my confidence and drive. It is amazing the things we let others do to us and the things we do to ourselves when we have low self-esteem. I was never on the brink of suicide, but I did drink away my nights and went broke buying friendship and love. I spent the last 3-4 years of my life being bitter and jaded. I was incapable of having feelings, I stopped allowing myself to love, and I learned not to want things out loud. I was so emotionally detached that even my acting suffered, because I was unable to empathize with the characters I was playing or encountered on stage. I was unable to leave myself vulnerable because I did not want to feel the pain that came with being vulnerable. Every day I make a conscience choice to love and to try to love myself more.


  6. Thank you so much for sharing your story Danielle! Not only will this inspire people that have dealt with body image issues, it will also encourage those of is that havent to look at own body image with a critical eye. I remember being in high school and feeling a bit rounder than I wanted to be and choosing not to eat so that I could lose weight to fit some unrealistic mold.

    Even now I’m questioning my views about my body ( good and bad) and trying to assess what’s shaped my thoughts. Please continue to share your stories. 😘


  7. You make me wonder what my body image is?? I’ve always felt a bit out of touch with it…raised in a religion where your spirit was the soul focus of investment, we were taught to almost separate ourselves from this physical experience entirely: ‘be in this world, but not of it’. I was born into a family of obesity (big boned and all that haha), reared around food as a companion, a comfort, and a hobby. I’m the fat girl that fat people despise, as I’ve somehow always managed to fit into clothes off the rack. I’m a food addict, emotionally I am right there with them, but I must admit I do harbor some resentment towards The Obese; obviously I blame some of my body issues on my mother, my grandmother, and my long and lanky father (who was absent during much of my formative years).
    I have a morbidly obese mom, like 5’2” and 330 lbs. In a very public display, she once sat on top of me at a state high school function, in front of a good chunk of my high school piers from across the entire state of Wyoming – that is certainly a part of my unfortunate body image.
    And yet despite her impressive width, it was primarily my length that has always made me feel large. At 5’8” I was the tallest member of my household by middle school. (My height continues to pin me as ‘too large’ through much of the theatre and film world). My mother underwent gastric bypass surgery in 2004, lost 100-and-some-odd pounds, had skin removal surgery (in which she ‘lost’ her belly button); and over the last 9 years, I would estimate she has successfully gained the majority of that weight back (though her belly button is gone forever :/)
    …ah, what a mess. So many of my body image issues are tied to my mother, my relationship and association with her, and my image of her body….and here, almost exactly one month ago, I birthed a beautiful little baby girl of my own; and all I can obsess over is how I’m going to/not going to screw up her relationship with and image of her body because of my issues with mine.
    Children learn so much from watching and observing their parents. You can talk the talk all you want, but they are no fool and can straight up see right through your bullshit if it ain’t authentic! If I don’t try to fix my issues (and fast), so that I can look at myself in the mirror with satisfaction and feel joy, chances are my daughter will never be able to do the same for herself…and man, does that thought break my heart.
    …and she just looks so much like me too, it really is unbelievable, It’s miraculous, and it also scares me shitless,,,


  8. Wow. It takes a brave woman to write a post like this. I am continually astounded by your writing and courage with this project Ms P. I am blessed that you are a survivor and that your travels took you to England, or I’d never have met such an incredible friend. Xxx


  9. I appreciate your courage to share your story in hopes of inspiring and maybe saving some lives. I developed the body of a grown woman in elementary school and have been taken advantage of ever since. I guess nobody prepared me for all the bad things that come with being developed too early such as molestation, judgmental stares, assumptions, men forcing themselves on you, being used, etc. It’s interesting that I’m in grad school working on a degree to improve the lives of as many children as possible hoping that maybe i can get them to love themselves more than I’ve loved myself. I’ve never written any of this down and as i write, tears flow as if all of my burdens are being released at this very moment. I appreciate you and your openness and honesty. If nothing else, you’ve inspired me. 🙂


    • bodyimageprojectblog June 5, 2013 — 6:14 am

      thank you so much Alex for such an honest comment. Please share this blog post with anyone who may be struggling with body image. Thank you for your courage : )


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