A few months back an artist friend reached out regarding drawing a portrait of me for an art contest/showcase. Her idea was a “Wild Woman” theme based on commuting trauma to triumph. She wanted to take some professional photos for the project, and it struck me that this opportunity could fit perfectly with an idea I had been contemplating for a while.
Early last year (before the lockdowns) I had bought a dress intended for a beach wedding that summer. Something my partner at the time and I had discussed as the next step in our relationship.
When I bought the dress, I was still in the dark about the true toxic nature of the relationship, and was simultaneously trying to tap into my unresolved trauma through all sorts of therapeutic practices. Our union felt like my anchor. A safe place where my shadow self chose to hide. After everything fell apart in that relationship later in the year, I started to share bits and pieces of my journey on social media. Through my open sharing, my idea times of introspection, and truly unbelievable life experiences, I found myself, my inner child, and my confidence again.
When my friend asked about the “Wild Woman” photoshoot, I knew exactly what I wanted to do…my concept was for it to be wedding themed. Now before you get crazy ideas, let me explain. This was to be a wedding to myself…a commitment to putting myself first for once and only seeking the kind of love that compliments my existence. My peace. My Fulfillment. My Authenticity.
My friend completely supported this idea and it became the best thing about 2021 thus far! The day we did the shoot, I felt the unseen, unheard, invalidated parts of myself I had relegated to backseat in every relationship became integrated and finally allowed front row view. In that moment, the intentional act of loving myself brought the child who wanted to be truly loved, and the woman who knew only she could give herself that kind of love, a union and agreement under the banner of commitment.
These photos give me joy beyond words. I finally have what I have always wanted.
I am including the artists words below so you can read her own description of the project and what my story and photos will bring to it.
“In this new body of Wild Woman Portraits that has grown from the seed of concepts discovered searching for inspiration in poetry and quotes on philosophy and literature, the artist is examining both “What it Means to BE Woman” and her inner conviction that not only do we all have a meaningful impact on the world, we are all uniquely beautiful in ways that are independent of and transcendent from the societal and personal burdens of what is considered beautiful, a woman’s role in the world, and what constitutes a meaningful existence.
The artist’s intention is not to mire the viewer in the long history of inequities against women or to rail against the patriarchy. Her intentions are born of a conviction that healing and triumph begin on a personal level.
We are, in fact, independent from external influences and have the ability to take charge of our self-image. We have the strength and fortitude in each of us to cultivate our own self-esteem. We possess the ability to invest in ourselves for our own sake AND the potential to shift the world in new and beautiful ways if we cultivate the self-confidence in ourselves and our daughters to stand in the face of criticism or rejection and proudly proclaim ‘I AM enough!’”
My friend…you are enough, too.