A few weeks back I celebrated a birthday that has brought way closer to 30 than I would like to admit! Birthdays normally make me feel iffy…I get into a funk and just want to cower in the darkness and really be left alone!
This birthday was no exception. I did my very best to keep a low profile and avoid the world but my neighbors managed to get me out of the house and we enjoyed a gorgeous day outside the city in a hidden cozy location. We laughed talked and wine was had. It was a decent day and I managed to avoid all the unsolicited attention.
My amazing friend KB gifted me with a birthday shoot a day after my birthday. Tradiotionally I am a lets get a make up artist and let’s style this shoot type of person but I wanted to keep it simple.
It started off at a slow pace. I felt frumpy and my mind was not in shooting mode. Somewhere along the line I loosened up and we captured some beautiful images…
Here are some
“I grew up a skinny and lanky tom boy. Naturally I was teased for my stick figure, it was something I could not change and ultimately I became a victim of my appearance. To make up for what I believed I lacked in a beautiful figure I became the class clown, always ready to make fun of myself before others did and having a smart response to all the teasing I had grown accustomed to. I grew a thick skin and accepted how I looked, it would not discount any of my other achievements in life. Right after high school I relocated to the US and the unthinkable happened…I ballooned! I went from being skinny to slightly obese. I gained so much weight in less than six months I could hardly recognize myself. I went from accepting I was a naturally thin person, to dealing with this strange being that was constantly staring back at me in the mirror. It damaged my self-esteem, I didn’t want to take pictures or be the center of attention. After having every person I knew tell me how big I had become I decided to do something about it. I went on an extreme weight loss regiment. I changed my diet, worked out constantly and it happened, I lost all the weight. In celebration of my new body I decided to enter a pageant and I WON. Modelling became my thing. I became so obsessed with being lean, having a perfectly flat tummy with no flab and no cellulite. My idea of beauty was now defined by how I looked with layers of make- up on, hair extensions and hours and hours of Photoshop. Everything just had to be perfect. Soon that too became old. No woman is perfect. The flaws we have make us who we are. In the past couple of years I have come to embrace the changes in my body, my hips have widened…I noticed cellulite the other day when I was wearing shorts, my arms will not always look sculpted and currently I don’t have a six pack. I love the woman I see in the mirror, how my clothes fit and how beautiful I feel with no make-up on. My definition of beauty is what is on the inside…happy people are beautiful people…they smile more. Every scar on my body tells a story, stories I would never want erased as they make me who I am. I hope that one day when I have a daughter I can talk to her about her self-image before the magazines define to her what beauty is. I am a flawed human being and that is perfectly fine.
I hope this short post may encourage young women who feel they have to conform to the world’s standards of beauty.
Thank you KB for such a thoughtful gift!
“I myself am made entirely of flaws, stitched together with good intentions.”
📷 : KB Mpofu