This is something I've been putting off writing for a while. My fears with opening myself up in this way go back a long way, and my hesitance to share comes from being told that I was selfish for my experiences, that I needed to suck it up, that many were worse of than me. I've held a lot back out of fear and worry of being seen as self-absorbed, an idea that crushes me to my core. Luckily, that stuff that's been tucked away hardens and turns to rock, catches fire and becomes the spark that lights my soul up.
I have declared this the year of opening up, and so it felt only natural to do this shoot with one of my dearest friends, artist Tyler Thrasher. His recent foray into photography has been impressive to watch; strength and courage is difficult enough to pull out of one's own self, let alone someone else. I've struggled my whole life with self-esteem issues and not feeling good enough, pretty enough, feminine enough, strong enough, not fitting the image of myself that I had in my head. But every time I stepped back to peek at the camera, I saw my real self behind that tiny glass.
Seeing yourself through the lens (literally) of your friends is pretty magical. Suddenly, accepting yourself as the radiant, fierce being that you are becomes much easier.
This shoot embodies many of the things I've struggled with for years. What is femininity? How can it be channeled in a way that doesn't rely on current cultural perspectives and expectations of femininity? What strength lies there? And always, a forever question in my practice, what lies at the intersection of darkness and light, the soft, delicacy of flowers, of flesh, and the harshness of rock and thorns?
The wolf mother. The lioness. The mama bear. The Earth Mother. Soft and nurturing to their young, the things most precious, fiercely protective of their own. The wind will not blow her down. She is grounded and rooted, but never stagnant. What it means to be a woman to me is growing into a very sacred thing, a very sacred responsibility that I am happy to take on. It's perhaps the only obligation I've ever had that feels right and good, that gives me strength and life.
Thanks for viewing *~