I have this vivid memory of looking at a picture of myself when I was 10 years old and telling a close family member that I look ugly in that picture. I was met with the response, “Well pictures don’t lie.” From that point on in my life, you will be hard pressed to find ANY pictures of me for the next 14 years. That comment, coupled with the way that I was treated in school and how I felt about myself, crippled my self-esteem for many years of my life.
I remember being in 7th grade and for whatever reason one of the more popular guys (Gary) at school wanted me to be his girlfriend. (Today, I question why? but at 13 I was like oh my gosh!! MEE!! lol). Anyway, this girl (bully) LaDreama, cornered me in the bathroom after lunch one day—in front of others—and was like, “I don’t know why he wants you. It aint like you got none of this (referencing her breasts and behind) and you aint even cute!” It was a humiliating moment for me. I will never forget it.
The path to accepting me and all my flaws and imperfections was a difficult one. However, along the way, I learned so much about myself. I learned that it has never been nor will it ever be my outer beauty that attracts people to me. My inner beauty is out of the world amazing! My soul shines so brightly through me that it will forever overshadow whatever anyone thinks of my outward appearance.
When I was 23, I took professional “glamour shots” and for the first time, I looked at myself and saw a reflection of someone beautiful. Once I began accepting and owning my inner beauty, I began taking more pictures. At 24, I created a collage of all the pics that I thought exemplified my inner and outer beauty and added positive affirmations throughout the collage and I hung it on the wall in my room. I looked it at every day and any time that I wasn’t feeling “beautiful” I only had to look up and see me in the light that I wanted to.
Soon, I began taking pictures EVERY DAY! I ENJOY it. It has become a form of therapy. I find myself smiling, laughing, and (don’t judge) talking to myself positively. Aside from singing and dancing, taking pictures allows me to be free and creative. I find that taking pictures outdoors is one of my favorite past times. The way in which I see myself is enhanced by the beauty that I see around me.
But with every picture taken there is a naysayer. There lies one lurking in the shadows projecting vanity upon me without knowing my story, without knowing me. For 14 years I hated the way that I look. Today, I LOVE my smile. I love my hair. I love my skin. I love my body. I love my soul. I love my very being. I love my flaws and imperfections. It is not something I am willing to apologize for. It is not something I am willing to give up because of others misconception. No, I am not vain. I am living my truths out loud, extremely loud.
If I am to be known as that woman who takes all those pictures, just make sure you enhance it with “that woman who takes all those pictures with the beautiful smile and soul”! 😊 I used to let it bother me when people would say negative things about me taking and posting my pictures—as recently as a month ago! But, I am realizing more and more the truth in the saying “You can’t please everyone all of the time, so you might as well just be yourself and not worry about what people think.”
If I can impart one thing to any one person tonight, it will be that in a world full of pretenders, STAND OUT! Be your authentic self, own all your eccentricities and quirks, everything that makes you unique and one of a kind. LIVE YOUR BRAND PROUDLY!
Short and sweet today.
Enjoy some of my favorite pics from this week! 😊
With Love and Respect,