Photo by Connie Grisley
So this is the third installment of my newest segment, Real Women Wednesday. And I thought it was about time to introduce myself. But first, I wanted to give you a little more insight into why I’m doing this and what inspired me.
One of the side effects of my chosen passion is that I am usually taking the photographs, and rarely in them! And I slowly began to realize that my comfortable role behind the camera is kind of sad for me. And for my daughter. It’s also not really my style. I have somewhat of a big personality, so it seems a little odd to me that I’ve allowed this to happen. I also realized that this same phenomena happened to my mother. She was always the picture taker as I grew up, but never in the pictures with us kids. There are a few of all of us, but not that many. And I’ve noticed time and again, that this is a pattern that is not unique to me and my family. Many women often take the pictures of their family, but rarely star in them.
Part of my goal in my business is to be sure that women get in front of the camera and that they play a leading role in their family photos. One that parallels the leading role they play in their children’s lives! So I’ve been trying to understand all of the reasons why we are not very present in the photos of our lives. One of the MAJOR reasons I’ve discovered is that as women, WE ARE SO HARD ON OURSELVES! We nitpick what we perceive are our flaws. We hate to see ourselves in pictures because what we see is a crazy distorted view that is so different from what others see.
So one day, in an effort to lead by example, I put myself in front of my camera to create the photo on the left, in an effort to remind us ALL that we ARE BEAUTIFUL!
People seemed to really respond to this image, and I started thinking deeper on this idea of inspiring people to see their beauty. I realized how many amazing women that I am privileged to know, and thought about all the reasons they are beautiful and inspiring people. And I decided to start this blog segment.
So now it has become my mission to remind us all, or maybe even inspire some of you to discover, that you are beautiful! And hopefully you too will get out from behind the camera (or whatever else you may hide behind) and begin to play a central role in documenting and showcasing what makes you awesome, and wonderful. Your family will thank you for it. Why? Because they will always want to remember how special you are!
Three is the magic number in my house, so week 3 seemed like a good time to finally come out from behind the camera and once again, lead by example…
I see and hear women be really hard on themselves everyday. I’m guilty of it myself. Recently I saw this quote: “It’s not what you say out of your mouth that determines your life, it’s what you whisper to yourself that has the most power” by Robert Kiyosaki. It got me thinking about what I wanted to say.
I could tell you that lately I’ve been whispering about the extra 10 or 15 pounds I’ve put on since I turned 40. But ultimately I feel like that extra weight doesn’t really matter to my self-worth. It mostly bothers me only because I’m just not used to it, because I had been the same weight for almost 25 years. So I gained a few pounds. I’m happy. I healthy. And I’m kicking ass!
Photo by Patrick Willey
I think real beauty shines from the inside out. Beauty starts with love and laughter and finding your happiness. I think what makes me beautiful is my willingness to try new things, my sense of humor, and my passion for living a life that I actively create.
I work hard and more importantly, I play hard. I spend my free time (and some of my commute time) riding my motorcycle. And since moving back to Charleston, I also LOVE my new-found hobby, surfing.
Photo by Patrick Willey
As a direct result of my hobbies, I have met some great people and developed some really good friends here in Charleston because of my love of motorcycles and surfing. My husband and I both ride. I ride a Triumph Thruxton and Patrick rides a Ducati. Many of our motorcycle friends are men. All wonderful, all funny, and I so enjoy our Sunday rides with our group that we call the Church of Steve. (It started as Church of Speed, but was misheard by someone once as Church of Steve, and it stuck.) But I have also met two fantastic women riders that became great friends. One tracked me down in a parking lot which led to a ride. And another friendship started on Twitter, believe it or not. A reply to a tweet, led to the discovery that we both teach at the College of Charleston and both ride Thruxton’s. So of course I had to meet my long-lost twin, so we met for a drink, and the rest is history.
Photos by Patrick Willey
Surfing has also created some new friendships. I have met a community of inspiring and wonderful women who surf. They want to reach out and support other women who love the water and have an interest in learning to surf. They hope to touch the lives of others and make the world a better place. These ladies have certainly made my world a better place! And that’s what I hope to share with you: women who will inspire you to be the best version of yourself, and help you to see that you are wonderful. And maybe one day, we will stop whispering those terrible things to ourselves!
And now that I’ve distracted you from your work for long enough, I want to leave you with one of my favorite quotes. It hung in my studio for quite a few years, and I may need to find a way to display it again. Because THIS is the lesson! And the reason for Real Women Wednesdays…
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” – Marianne Williamson
My family, my reason for being the best version of myself!