Meet beautiful Anita! She's such a great role model for her daughters and a stand for living life, regardless what battles we have to fight. I couldn't agree more with her words: "scars show that you have battled and won".
Anita's affirmations word is STRONGER. Read her story below. You can also follow her HERE.
LA: A few words about yourself.
Anita: My name is Anita Garcia Arredondo. I am 47 years old. I am married to Tony Arredondo. He is my soul mate and love of my life. I have 2 beautiful daughters; Ashleigh, who is 25 and Alyssa who is 12. I have 2 precious grandchildren; Anthony is 6 and Amelia is 1. I am the Owner of The Pool Guys of Tampa Bay, LLC, and I work part time as a Health Coach for Ideal Protein at Shake It Off Wellness Center.
LA: What made you decide to join The Affirmations Project?
Anita: I saw on Facebook that Adriana was asking for volunteers for the project and something just spoke to me and urged me to get involved. I wanted to show my daughters that I was a survivor, that I was brave, and that I was not ashamed of what I looked like after what happened to me. Our scars actually show that we have lived, and we are stronger for the experience.
LA: What is your Affirmation Word? And why?
Anita: My Affirmation Word is STRONGER. When I was younger my mom used to always tell me how strong I was. She believed in me and always told me how special I was. I have survived many adverse issues that have been thrown my way. I not only overcame these obstacles, but I am stronger because of them. I knew after my diagnosis that this would be The Fight of My Life, and I would be stronger because of it....just as my mom knew all along.
LA: How did you feel when you saw your images for the first time?
Anita: I felt very emotional, but very proud; sad that my mother was not with me physically, but was with me in spirit. I was very proud to have my husband, daughters, grandmother (age 95), and supportive friends there to witness what was truly a survivor moment for me.
LA: How did this project affect you?
Anita: It allowed me to be more secure in the way I look, to feel better about the scars I have, and to be proud to have been able to shine after the darkest moment of my life. I worry less,--and enjoy life more, as I realized that life is so very precious and can change in an instant.
LA: What are some words of empowerment you would like to share with other women?
Anita: Embrace your differences. In the blink of an eye your life can change due to disease. Your goals, dreams and priorities are forced to take different turns. Be grateful for the little things and worry less about the big things.
Those that might have scars, or be different....embrace it...YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL, AND STRONGER THAN YOU THINK!
LA: Any other comments?
Anita: When my mom passed in 2007, I started to see dragonflies all around me. My mom told me that she would show me a sign that she was with me... and she did. After a few years I started to see less of them. In 2011 when I was diagnosed they reappeared, and I saw them all the time during my treatments and after all my surgeries. At times, they would swarm above me!! I knew my mom was with me in my darkest time. I have survived what could have killed me, and I rarely see them now. I had the body paint girl paint a Dragonfly on my chest as a remembrance of my mother who I felt was with me during my time of need and made me STRONGER.
My favorite saying--"Never be ashamed of a scar. It simply means you were stronger than whatever tried to hurt you"
Founder of The Affirmations Project: Adriana Pabon
Support from High Hopes in High Heels
Photographers: Lucyna Aleksandra Portraits & Michelle Caudle with Silver Moon Custom Art & Photography
Videography: Alex & AJ at AC Square Productions Check out their VIDEO HERE
Body paint artist: Emma Kenemer
Hair stylists: Suzie Reed with iStyle Salon and Brian Ross with Darren Pena Salon
Makeup artists: Brenda Irizarry, Ashley Cantero (LAC Makeup Art), and an assistantTaylor Rodriguez