How do you see yourself? What is your belief when it comes to beauty? Do you feel beautiful?
When I think of beauty my mom, grandmother, aunts, and my cousins are instantly projected into my mind. Their inner beauty is complemented by their physical form. Now, here comes the heavy, these views regarding the women in my family is where my insecurities hold firm. All my life I wanted to look a certain way, the way of these women.
As a child, I looked up to each of them. They were my idols. I saw a strength that each bore but presented in unique ways. I admired their power and how they chose to wield it. Each of their gifts were foreign and unattainable to me. I believed myself to be the ugly duckling within a family of swans.
Years went by, yet my admiration for them never faltered. But with age and a bit of maturity I began to view these women as whole. No longer were they the two-dimensional caricatures of my perceived perfection. Instead I realized there were real people who carried scars, pain, love, loss, and dreams of their own.
During this time of discovery and humility, I took a leap. I decided to meet with a photographer. I met with the gifted Ash Nayler twice. My first photo shoot was the result of me being curious. What would it be like? Would it be fun? The second time was a bit different. Now, 43, it was time to reconcile my childhood dreams with reality. Would I look like the other women in my family? What would I see when I finally viewed the pictures?
The result was a bit different than I expected. I did not see them in the photos. I saw the version of myself that my husband says he sees everyday. He is a tad biased. The pictures project how inner beauty can be revealed. I first had trouble connecting that it was me in the pictures. When I take stock that day in Ash’s studio my fears were suppressed. My laughter unleashed. From this, my heart was open to allowing Ash to capture the inner side of me.
I implore every woman to find a photographer with whom they connect with to begin this journey of self discovery. I fully accept that I am partial when it comes to Ash. Her skill and talent created an atmosphere of safety, thus allowing me to feel liberated. This freedom, which transports your inner beauty to the surface, is what I want for each of you. You are beautiful, it’s time to let it show.
Here is a snippet of Ash’s work. I combined her pictures with music that I purchased from Premiumbeat.com