Annet portrayed for IAMLOVE story Photography

As a teenager I often sat in a full bus yet the seat next to me would always remain empty. It made me very insecure and for the longest time I figured something was wrong with me. As a child I had been bullied and humiliated a lot.

A few years ago I met a blind man. He grabbed my hand and one of the first things he said to me was ” When you were young people didn’t want to sit next to you in the bus right?” It startled me because he was so right! Through the years I had pushed this memory aside. He said that I thought something was wrong with me but it was a completely other reason. It’s because of your strength and love. Some people are afraid of that and try to avoid it. Which means including you. It’s time you choose to be your own strength and love and do the things you want in life.

I thought about it and realized that …

I had made myself small and placed everyone else above myself to receive love and approval of others. That time has passed! Now it’s important that I see me, equal to others and love myself for who I am. I am proud of the strength and love I have within me. That little girl in the bus I carry with me but she will never sit alone again because she has me.

IAMLOVE by Annet van der Werf
Translation – Ronald Bangma
Photography- Hester Baks

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