Today I posed nude for a camera.Today I had to face my insecurities and look for the beauty that is within me. It was a hard journey but at the end of it all I am happy.
Who would have thought that in my trip to the bar a week previous that I would have met and engaging photographer who was so passionate about his craft, his talent and his project. When he mentioned that his project was to photograph normal and real women. I stepped up to the challenged. The first thing that came to my mouth was, ” Can I pose naked?” Maybe it was the 10 beers that I drank previously that gave me that ounce of courage. Maybe it gave truth to the old adage, “A drunk man’s words are a sober man’s thoughts.” Needless to say, a week later after text message exchanges and a date being set, the morning of the shoot I stood naked in front of my bedroom mirror and I had a nice little talk with myself.
I wondered if the world was ready for me. To me, my friends and my family, I am La Reine. But to the world I am Fat, Black and Dreaded. I always had the view that because I am Fat, I am not considered beautiful, and probably at the bottom of the beauty chain. My Blackness, which is a representation of my skin tone makes me feel as though I have to work twice as hard to prove that I don’t fit the mould of an uneducated person. My Dreadlocks really represent an easy going hairstyle, but some view it as rebellious.
I looked at all my imperfections; my cellulite which never seems to die no matter how many hills I climb or how many exercises I do on a morning, or how many damn extra firming creams I use. I look at my stomach.. or should I say, my stomachs. I glimpsed at my love handles and the scars on my legs from an active childhood, and I looked at the scars on my lower back which is an ever present reminder of the lower back piercing I once had, the piercing I did as a means of coping with the stress and pain I was going through. It was then I realized that I was ready…. or so I thought.
I came to the photo-shoot with a dress to cover up and my best friend in tow. But looking at the pictures of the ladies before me I felt so insecure. Their make up was impeccable, their bodies were beautiful, no cellulite, no fat banging stomachs and no scars. What did I have? Just me, myself and I. No make-up to hide behind and pretend that I’m someone else. It was then I realized I had to do this for me, I had to face me, I had to love me.
I tried my best. Sometimes I posed, sometimes I smiled. Other times I laughed scandalously. But there were moments where I was overwhelmed by it all. Those were the times where my best friend would see a picture and say, “Wow, you look beautiful! Look at your skin!” but all I could see was belly and fat. At that point I realized that the problem was me. I am the one who created that mould for myself, the mould of where I’m Fat Black and Dreaded and it was that time I realized that the person to change it had to be me.
By the end of the photo shoot I felt overwhelmed and contented and somewhat nervous. Overwhelmed because I only intended to take one picture with my back facing the camera because I felt that was the best part of me. In reality, it wasn’t. Baring myself, full frontal to the camera made me realize how important it was to face things head on and not run from a challenge rather than turn my back to it. I’m contented that I completed this photo shoot yet at the same time nervous of what the world would have to say.
These pictures represent me. They represent my challenges, my insecurities. I hope that people would be able to understand that it was a means of me overcoming my fears and breaking the stereotypes that I’ve been placed in, or stereotypes that I put myself in. At the end of this shoot, I am still Fat, Black and Dreaded. Fat, but I’m working on being healthy but loving every single imperfection. Black. but I’m beautiful and intelligent. Dreaded, I may look like a rebel, but it works for me.
In time I’ll be able to post the pictures folks 🙂