well here they come (the women i know)
I should be editing photos of some of these women about now. I know it's 4.50am and I woke up at 3am but there is still a feeling of what I 'should' be doing. I have tea, I have a cat trying to sit on my laptop, which as the name implies, is on my lap. I can type around him though, and this obstacle is easy to deal with.
Originally I had mentally crafted a post about body image, inspired by a conversation I had Saturday night with a wonderful woman and too much gin mixed with white wine (it's not as bad as it sounds, believe me.)
I realised that although what I wanted to say was relatable, it was a re-hash of every other woman of every other size talking about bodies. That I should be more than my body, that my hips, my bust, my arse are to be proud of and what they've seen me through. It's a subject that right now I can't do justice because I'm still purging any chocolate I eat. Please, don't tell my mother.
Partly I decided against writing predominantly about body image because when photographing Grace in her pants I realised that she would say so many things that I would too. Later, when editing photos of Grace in her pants I had thoughts. See, when I first started photographing myself I disliked so many photos of myself, not for the composition and lighting but for my stomach, my thighs, my arse, my body. Part of me is so worried that when those models I've photographed see the pictures I have taken and edited that they won't like them, because it is them in the photo.
But part of me is worried they won't like the pictures at all.
To be honest though, thats neither here nor there currently, with a cat that is desperate to sit on me. I feel lacking.
I've never been one for small talk. I struggle and feel impotent. I want honesty and blood and raw humanity. So many of my conversations recently have been with such strong fierce women. Their strength, their power, their beauty, these are all qualities I wish I could see in myself.
These empowering and raw conversations are exactly what I could have used as a teenager in school, I want to say that these conversations may well have helped all of us. Now we are 30(ish) these are women that are learning their worth and expecting their worth. It's amazing to see.
I wish I could embody these women though. Right now I feel sludgy and like I have no direction. I am curious and nosy, I want to know and experience so much, but the world is hard and bites me. I don't feel strong enough to bully myself through right now. As I age I realise how little it is I don't know.
The cat is still trying to sit on my laptop, on me.
I am happy to support and champion these women, with nothing back. I get pride and a sense of wholesome-ness from seeing them achieve.
I started to photograph others because there were ideas and photographs that I couldn't recreate using myself and a self timer. There are still pictures I want to make that I can't, because of so many reasons. I can only hope that I get there eventually, for my own sense of self.
It's funny though, in some ways, to see the insecurities that plague these women, little comments when photographing them let me know I'm not alone. Which is sad, because so many of these women I look up to, to have them display similar insecurities hurts. I only want the good for the women I know.
Love for myself can only come from within. There is an acute sense that actually, even these women I know could very well write similar things - we are but human and like one such woman said yesterday "sometimes people with all the confidence have no talent".
That imposter syndrome is so well documented, makes it sound like it should be a right of passage for everyone, creators and not, to experience, to suffer through. Similar to the idea that the creative should be plagued by illness, either mental or physical that is touted about as the real touch of genius. That one must suffer so to create such beauty is a poor trade-off in my mind.
And that is in part why some of these women are so inspiring, that they have faced the world and not let it bully them into submission. It is not my place to tell their stories, but each of their stories has a thread of strength and of belief woven through it, barely visible at times so probably more akin to fine fishing wire than thread.
I am grateful for these women, for sharing their stories with me and imparting their wisdom and beauty. I see their strength and try to take a little for myself, that I too can become as humanly aspiring as these women I know. But you know, it's also 5.55 in the morning and I went to bed at 4pm.