Growing up I remember watching my sisters fuss with outfits, makeup, hair and more outfits, before leaving the house. It was because of this long production of getting ready to just go to the video rental store to pick a movie to watch at home, that I decided to hang out with the boys, more so than girls.
When I was much younger I loved girlie things; like cutting my hair, painting my face, singing to the flowers, as if my life were a Disney musical.
As I neared sixth grade I began to realize it was ok to have a bad hair day and wear clothes that I was comfortable in.
I was still self-conscious about my appearance. I had Napoleon Complex and when time came I even lied about my height on my driver’s license to make the 5′ mark. I was well aware of the perception others imposed about wearing certain items for certain body types, but I was rarely one to think that way.
I wasn’t immune to bad wardrobe blunders and hairstyles that were unattractive to my face shape, but I was glad to experiment and made it a rule to not stand in front of a mirror for more than a minute.
As an adult this has not changed. Society, media, and even some people I hung out with were constantly telling me I needed to lose weight, hang out in certain circles or go after certain jobs. Eventually, those people came and went, I stopped listening to the media, and I went after jobs that were interesting to me.
I’ve dealt with severe depression over the years but have used it as my journey to rediscovering my own self-worth. So whenever I hear women like Jennifer Lawrence telling young girls to love their bodies, or Ellen DeGenres pointing out how photoshoping models has gone too far, I can’t help but smile and feel better about who I am as a woman.
When I came across Jade Beall’s work I got goose bumps and couldn’t help but be happy. I felt the same exhilaration when I jumped out a plane for the first time; l felt liberated. It was the approval and appreciation for my own journey as a woman. My genetics were no longer something to be ashamed of, but celebrated. I believe men and women, need to feel that same liberation and know that their journey is worth being acknowledged. Our bodies are not problems to be fixed with diet pills and unrealistic surgeries. It is because of this that I would like to recognize Jade Beall and all of her models as #InspirationalWomen.
Many women from all backgrounds joined Jade Beall’s movement to create a stunning book of photographs and life stories acknowledging and celebrating the journey of: motherhood, aging, cancer, still-births, miscarriages, weight-gain, weight-loss, dysmorphia, and more. Jade hasn’t stopped there; her next project features “Wise Women Over 50”.
You can buy a copy of the Beautiful Body Project, Volume 1: Mothers by clicking here
Please visit her site www.abeautifulbodyproject.com to see what other amazing projects she has planned for subsequent volumes and how you can be a part of her movement.