Scars and Tiaras

Reclaiming Your Beautiful Self After a Painful Past

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Scars and Tiaras is a writing, photography, and social project by Angela Giles Klocke about reclaiming your beautiful self after a painful past of abuse and/or violence. It is meant to inspire, lift up, and hopefully move people into action toward lifting up others. {Formerly The Tiara Project} Read More!

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Courage in Vulnerability: Will You Speak Out?

Courage in Vulnerability: Will You Speak Out? by Scars and Tiaras

Many of us have that one “friend.” You know, the one who can outdo, outlast, outbig anything we do? If you ran 5 miles, she ran 15. If you broke your leg, he broke both legs and both arms. No matter what you’ve been through or done, they’ve done it bigger or lasted longer or went farther. It’s because of that friend that you look at your own story and think, “It’s not that bad.”

“My story isn’t as bad as yours,” many say to me.

Or, “I was never hit, so I realize it’s not as bad as some stories.”

Here’s the thing, the truth you need to remember: Survival isn’t a competition.

Abuse stories should never be about who had it “worse” or who “survived the hardest story.”

Peeling back layers of ourselves isn’t easy. Even when you’re among others with painful stories, it can still be hard if you’re busy wondering if your story is bad enough or if you doubt that you are worth being heard.

You matter.

Your voice matters.

Starting in July, Scars and Tiaras will be featuring one story every week to help others understand the depth of abuse and assault, and your story matters.

Are you a survivor of domestic violence, child abuse, or sexual assault (any age)? If so, I’d love to interview you for an upcoming ongoing series here on Please email:

Let’s be brave together. Let’s stand together and shine light into the darkness. Let us be bold and show there is courage in vulnerability, that every story matters, every person matters.

The monster you know

TRIGGER WARNING – the following features sexual assault / rape situations

Excerpted from “Of Scars and Tiaras,” work in progress

The Monster You Know by Scars and Tiaras / Angela Giles Klocke

I saw on a show once where one of the characters noted that “Stranger Danger” was one of the most dangerous programs ever started. This is because it taught parents to teach their children to beware of people they didn’t know. This took the focus off of those they do know, and the truth is, statistically speaking, most kids who are abused will be hurt by someone they know.


REAL Healing

“When you can tell your story and it doesn’t make you cry,
you know you have healed.”


I keep seeing this quote posted everywhere and I believe it offers a sense of security where one should not be. Not crying doesn’t equate to being healed. In fact, more often than not, not crying can mean we’re still bottling up our pain, shoving it down, pretending nothing bad happened.

I told my story in person for over a decade without shedding a tear.

“You don’t look like you’re very upset,” one friend said to me only days after my ex-husband died. I was sharing what happened and I wasn’t crying. She expected something different, something more dramatic. I was in shock. I wasn’t performing to her standard of what grief should look like. She walked away and I never saw her again.

Don’t let anyone tell you how you should be reacting, or that no tears means you are all healed. The goal IS healing, of course, but we want real, true healing, not quotable healing. You can’t fake it, not forever. That’s the same as shoving it down. Eventually, it all comes up.

For me, I know I’m on the road to healing because I DO cry when I share my story. Not always, and not always in the moment, but my story moves me now. I feel it. I accept it. I give myself permission to grieve where once I pretended all was fine.

Tears are OK. Emotions are OK. Someone else telling you HOW to go about your healing is NOT OK.

Letter to Myself

Dear Former Self,

You’re going to go through some pretty ugly stuff in life. From the time you’re conceived, you will not know to whom you belong (father-wise). The man you think is your father will turn out not to be, and he will hurt you physically and mentally, and you will wonder what you could have possibly done to deserve it. You are just a wee child. You don’t deserve any of it.

There will be times with your mom that you won’t understand. Why is she acting like that? How can she say that? WHY does she DO that? You will fantasize that you are adopted, even kidnapped from your real mom. Just know that while she doesn’t change, you do. You will tune it out the best way you can, escaping to the fictional world. And you will decide that you will be a different kind of mother one day.

One day comes too soon when you meet him, the boy who will become your first husband. He will woo you and treat you with all the love you are sure you do deserve. But your desperation to feel loved will cause you to ignore other things, hurtful things, and one day you will get pregnant and it will be too late to get away. You will spend years feeling scared and trapped and like a failure.

By the time you’re 22, all of this past pain will come to an end. At least, that’s how it will appear. But the truth is, it will stick with you for much longer. The physical pains may be over, but the mental and emotional hurting will go on. You will try to bury it, to push it down, but it won’t stay down. It comes back again and again until you deal with it.

But here’s the thing: You WILL deal with it. You will take it out, mull it over, flesh it out, close it, open it, shove it, kick it, hug it and hold it. You will deal with it and you will be stronger than you ever have been before. You are not the person you were. You never deserved to be hurt. You are beautiful and wonderful and amazing. You are kind and giving and you don’t ever try to hurt people the way you’ve been hurt. You have come out of that mess doing all right for yourself. Your life NOW is beautiful. And I’m sorry you had to go through all that hurt to get to today, but here you are, a strong and beautiful person.

I’m proud of you. I love you.

Your Present Self


How to lean into the pain caused by your abusive past

Lean Into the Pain by Scars and Tiaras

Night after night, I was waking up in pain. My feet kept cramping up. I’d grab whichever foot was hurting and hold it, trying to knead out the pain, but ultimately I had to wait it out, refocus my mind not to feel it, and then try to fall back to sleep. No amount of babying the pain took it away until it was ready.

I shared this with my daughter when I found myself in the grip of another cramp in the middle of the day.

“It just keeps happening,” I said, pulling my foot in and bending it to try to loosen pain’s grip.

“Push against it,” she said.