Purple Flowers.

It’s been just over a year since I began this blog. The day I actually broke went unmarked in any calendar because I’m not sure exactly what date I would go from. Breaking happened slowly, me fraying at the edges for two years before I tore apart all at once.

And I have gotten so much better. I get up and go to work, assisting other people. I come home and I work quietly, editing for photographers and carefully correcting colours and clearing newborn skin. I take my children to school and their appointments. I lie beside my small children at night and read them bedtime stories. I go with my lover to lunch and he eats the rest of my salad when I can’t finish it. Together we take the children to the beach where my daughter collects and entire basket of shells and we have to convince her to ‘leave some for other people’. I buy myself bedside tables from Ikea and he convinces me to sit on the trolley on the way back to the car and runs with the trolley until I’m breathless with laughter and fear we will crash into a column. I pay bills. I do my hair. I’m blissfully normal.

I sleep.

And this is not something I take for granted anymore. Some nights when I don’t have an early shift I sleep for 9 hours. This time last year 5.5 was normal. This time last year I woke to darkness every day and watched the rising of the sun and tried to breathe and survive. Now days I still sometimes wake before the sun and I watch it rise in my car with a cup of tea in a travel mug as I inch along with the other commuters.

I try to dream.

And my dreams are of fairy lights and lace. My dreams are of plaster dust and lavender. The crown of a newborn head, tiny crescent fingernails. My dreams are of wrinkles and white hairs. I throw the tablecloth of my life out before me and smooth it flat, I am careful to choose what I lay upon it. I watch the wheel of life turn and feel no sadness at it’s passing.

I wake one morning and reach for my camera. My four daughters and I escape the house like puppies set loose and we enter the outside which is different with a camera. Inside the lens everything fits into a box. We find some purple flowers in the grass by the side of a road and we stop to shoot in them. Inside the lens it doesn’t matter that cars are driving past and construction is happening beside us. It doesn’t matter that this spot is actually an overgrowth of weeds. The mosquitos are invisible in the shot. Inside the lens it only matters that there are purple flowers on the ground springing from the grass like hope and that is all I show you. Life is different, so easily distracted by the noise of everything you barely notice the purple flowers. I had driven that road every day but I didn’t see them until I went looking for magic.

That whole year I spent trapped in my own mind, fighting for a way out. Looking for a door.

I was the door.

IMG_1276.JPG

You are Real.

I hate the ‘real women have curves’ trend.

It’s not because I happen to be a skinny woman. I haven’t always been a skinny woman, I’ve had curves once (and boobs – God, I miss boobs sometimes). I was a real woman then, and I am a real woman now.

I hate it because it does exactly what magazines and society did to curvy women for years. Pits one body type against another. Builds up one type of woman at the expense of another type.

It’s a whole lot of, check out what women use to look like and check them out now. As though the ‘good old days’ were great for women. Let’s just take a stroll through these offensive ads from Business Insider including this gem.

Women weren’t empowered and letting their natural beauty show in the fifties. They were repeatedly told how their attractiveness had a direct correlation to their worth.

And now, in 2016 we are supposed to hold up that standard as the ‘good old days’?

Fuck you. Fuck you so hard.

I guarantee you women have been made in all shapes and sizes since the beginning of time and will continue to be so for the rest of humankind’s existence on this planet.

I have shot a lot of people. I have shot women of all ages and all shapes and sizes. Curvy women, slim women, young women, older women, mothers, daughters. And every single one of them have been beautiful. I have never had a client I looked at and didn’t find beauty in.

Real women? If you identify as a woman – you are a REAL WOMAN.

Stop letting society tell you it’s okay to be beautiful only if someone else is less beautiful.

In fact, stop letting society tell you that your beauty is just a sum of your physical parts. And you KNOW this already. You know. You’ve been told your whole damn life that beauty is only skin deep, that a kind heart is worth more than a pretty face.

Celebrate yourself. Your laugh, your kindness, your fire, your wildness, your scars, your wit, your sensuality, your brains, your empathy.

There is a little divinity in all of us.

image