Monday, February 16, 2015

Honest. Raw. In Other Words, REAL. And Unapologetic.

I thought I was ready when I began The Chrysalis Project.

Little did I know that there was more of a process for me, that it had so much more to teach me before I'd be prepared to share it with the world. 

With all the social media hype bringing more awareness to "real women" (oh I'll come back to that one momentarily for sure), my mind kept calling to me "come on Jenny, it's time! The world is ready; jump on the bandwagon!"

Something in me kept saying no....most likely my ol' pal FEAR.
"Things have changed", I'd say to myself. "I'm single now. My body has changed over the last few years. My old life has burned down to the ground. How do I explain that I wasn't ready? That I was afraid?"

For the last few days, my Spirit has been nudging me to do this... you know that racing heartbeat and quivering gut response.... The nudging has become more of a push, and the quiver has made me nauseated. This has become a or die. Now's the time.

Briefly, I wanted to do something significant for my 50th birthday. 

At first I thought I'd do something wild and crazy like have my friends paint my body a la Chris Zydel. 

That's when I began to realize the issues I had with my own body.

I needed something more intimate. I needed to get to know my own body and recognize its beauty.

Since I was a child, I'd been shamed and told I was fat and unattractive. A few years ago, I discovered some photos of myself from my teen and young adult years. I was shocked to see that I wasn't just NOT fat, but I was pretty as well!
During my Chrysalis shoot, rage came up for me, along with tears, when I realized how much had been stolen from me in my earlier years. 

It was difficult to look at my photos alone, without anyone there to do any coaching, but as I sorted through them, I slowly began realizing that I was beautiful just the way I was--- overweight, body altered by bearing and nursing 5 babies and ravaged by years of chronic illness. 

Let me tell you something--- 
We are ALL beautiful.
There is no such thing as "normal". The term "real women" sticks in my craw a bit as well. All of us are REAL women, Ladies. ALL of us.
Perhaps what is meant by "real" is HONEST. 
RAW even.
In my photos, you will find an honesty and a raw-ness that you may find uncomfortable. You might even be offended. That's ok. That's your issue.

A lot has changed since this photo shoot at 50.
Am I comfortable in my own skin?
I can't say that I am completely....yet....
Certainly more so than I was before this process. 
And even more so now at 53.
This shoot changed the way I viewed myself completely. 
I'm ok.

And yet, this still requires an enormous amount of courage, sharing my photos with the world.
My desire to help other women see their beauty has grown larger than my fear. 

For more information on what the Chrysalis Project entails, and how it came about, please visit my Chrysalis page.