What is beauty really?

It’s dark. I’m at the park.  The sun will be popping its head over the hills within the next 30 minutes or so.  Puget Sound stretches in front of me.  The lights of a boat quietly makes its way along the shore; I think it’s a tug, but it is still too dark to properly see.

A small factory is nearby and I get caught up watching the steam billow from the single chimney  I sip from the coffee I brought with me.  I have music playing from my phone – a song that I seem to play a lot lately.  And I mean… A. LOT.

Scars to your beautiful

She just wants to be beautiful
She goes unnoticed, she knows no limits
She craves attention, she praises an image
She prays to be sculpted by the sculptor
Oh, she don’t see the light that’s shining
Deeper than the eyes can find it
Maybe we have made her blind
So she tries to cover up her pain and cut her woes away
‘Cause cover girls don’t cry after their face is made

But there’s a hope that’s waiting for you in the dark
You should know you’re beautiful just the way you are
And you don’t have to change a thing, the world could change its heart
No scars to your beautiful, we’re stars and we’re beautiful
And you don’t have to change a thing, the world could change its heart
No scars to your beautiful, we’re stars and we’re beautiful

She has dreams to be an envy, so she’s starving
You know, cover girls eat nothing
She says beauty is pain and there’s beauty in everything
What’s a little bit of hunger?
I could go a little while longer, she fades away
She don’t see her perfect, she don’t understand she’s worth it
Or that beauty goes deeper than the surface
So to all the girls that’s hurting
Let me be your mirror, help you see a little bit clearer
The light that shines within

There’s a hope that’s waiting for you in the dark
You should know you’re beautiful just the way you are
And you don’t have to change a thing, the world could change its heart
No scars to your beautiful, we’re stars and we’re beautiful

And you don’t have to change a thing, the world could change its heart
No scars to your beautiful, we’re stars and we’re beautiful

These lyrics, the words bounce around in my head.  I suppose they strike a chord.

Beauty.

Beauty is something so fleeting… so changeable, and yet so many of us strive to embody it. But what is it really?

We have this image in our heads and hearts of what the perfect version of ourselves would look like, and yet…

In nature – it is often the unique…

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the renegade…

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the inner play of co-existing dualities that are some of the most beautiful.

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Beauty can be simple and can be complex.

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For too many years now, I have looked at myself as not beautiful. I’d turn such critical eye to my perceived faults instead of celebrating that which makes me beautiful and unique.

Enough is enough.  Maybe it’s the state that the world is in lately, maybe it’s just a strange burst of frustration mixed with heartbreak and hope … but damn!  If I can’t love myself, how can I possibly expect the people in the world around me to spread love? Enough with the hate.  Enough with the judgements.  Today… I celebrate myself.  Today – I will celebrate you, your neighbor, your mother, your friend.  For today – and every day to come, I will find a reason to spread a smile, and lift someone else up.  The world must change. Let’s put away our walls.  Love yourself, and love others.

Thanks for sharing a moment with me.  Off to work now!  Much Love!

Free to roam

In the past month or so, I’ve been attempting something a bit unusual for me.  At night, instead of wearing my pajamas or nightgowns, I’ve been doing the sports bra and undies thing.  For one, it’s hot.  But more than that, it’s my attempt at learning to become more comfortable and confident in my own body.

Now some of you may be thinking … “what’s the big deal?”

Let me try and explain.  I have never lived alone before.  There was always someone else in the home.. be it a family member, a significant other, a roommate and if not one of those, most definitely a child or two. Privacy is just something I don’t get a lot of, so the idea of wandering my house naked isn’t really a fantasy that I have.  And lastly – I’ve just never been that comfortable in my own skin.  I’ve never been the girl to feel confident living in my own body.  I hate my post-babies tummy… and the idea of baring it, even to myself just isn’t something that I’ve EVER been comfortable with.

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I’ve been tossing and turning.  I can’t sleep.  I hurt too much.  Apparently I have a cracked rib and the discomfort is keeping me from getting much sleep.  I got up and wandered to the kitchen for something to drink and for the first time in my life, I didn’t put on a robe.  I just wandered out there, grabbed the tea and swigged a big gulp straight from the jug.  And as I walked back into my room, I caught a glimpse of myself… and smiled.  I’m looking good!

I may not be at a point where I’d feel comfortable with the world seeing me like that, I’m content enough knowing that I like what I see in the  mirror these days.  That girl staring back at me … she’s a pretty cool chick.  🙂

Damn…. life is good – even if I AM awake at 3:30 in the morning.

Good night Neverland.  Sleep well.

Taking a leap

I’m taking the summer off…

(pause)

I’m taking the summer off, and starting a business.

(longer pause)

The weight of that statement is heavy… and yet… it just feels right.

Maybe it’s stupid.  Maybe I’ll regret it.  Maybe it will be a total and absolute flop.  Or…. Maybe it will be amazing, and maybe I’ll be able to sustain the way we live and will feel end up feeling refreshed and recharged and return to work or just keep going… who knows?!

I have a job interview, well… two of them, next week.  I’m excited for these opportunities.  But I also know how slow the big companies typically are when it comes to actually bringing someone on board, so in the mean time, I’ll happily play with my new camera.

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It was a risk to buy it, but I’m fairly convinced I’ll be able to earn back the money I spent to buy it.  And things are oddly falling into place.  I’ve been invited to be the only photographer at the northwest writers convention in a couple of weeks.  I’ll have a booth set up that I have to figure out what I’m going to put in there.  Sometimes, it’s all in who you know.  I feel a little silly getting this opportunity, seeing as I don’t have tons of experience.  But then another friend saw my work and asked if I’d do some photos for her business, and I’ve got a couple of people inquiring about boudoir work.  Even a dude who wants to do dudeoir!

Today I had what was my third official boudoir photography session – where I was the photographer.  It turned out to be an amazing shoot.  I got SO many good shots, in such a short amount of time.  My client was thrilled, and of course, so was I, as this is more work I can put in my portfolio – she happily gave me those rights. 🙂

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I reached out to quite a few of my friends and people in my network… I want to capture life.  I don’t have much desire to shoot weddings, but I’d like to do just about everything else.  Births, engagements or couples shoots, events, kids & pet portraits…. and of course, boudoir.  Especially Boudoir.  Some day I’d love to have a trailer set up so that I could take a mobile studio and shoot at the race for cure.  Give people a sense of empowerment over their own self esteem.  Show them how beautiful they really are.  I want to document love.  Something real.  I want to show people what I see of the world in front of me.

I think that’s why I like photography as much as I do.  It, along with art, are the few ways I can show someone else the world through my eyes.  In this case, seeing the world through my lens.  The camera makes me feel brave and secure.

I’ve added links to my instagram and business facebook page to the sidebars of this blog.  I do hope you’ll at least peek at my work and give me some feedback or a kind word of encouragement.  🙂

Thanks neverland.  Much love to you tonight.

XXO.

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Hope is a beautiful thing…

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Yup.  I saw this in my pinterest feed today and it really struck a nerve.  In a good way.  At some point, you have to get on with living.  Whether a person is recovering and grieving the loss of a friend, a relative, a broken relationship, a failed test, or even a disappointment at work.  There comes a point where you have to let go of the dreams and expectations of what was…and embrace what IS that is right in front of you.

It’s been a whirlwind of a few weeks, between dealing with my daughter and her ever changing needs, my son – who turns 5 tomorrow! I can’t believe it!!, work and my ever challenging but still amazing boss, or a whole host of other things… to say it has been busy is simply an understatement.  But what I’m finding to be quite interesting, is that I’m not feeling beat down by it.  Sure, I’ve had a few days here and there where I’ve questioned myself or felt a bit unsure, but I still plowed forward.  And today, was a good day.  🙂

At work, I had the opportunity to sit down and do some design and innovating.  It’s funny, it’s what people hire me to do for them, and yet I rarely actually get to sit and DO it.  It seems most of my days are filled with meetings and coaching and overseeing.  Rarely do I get the luxury to sit and just dream and let my imagination flow.  So because I got to do that today, I’m riding a bit of an inspiration high this evening.  I came up with something very interesting today.  Something incredibly unique, and it might not be THAT hard to pull off from an engineering perspective.  I’m very excited about it and can’t wait to take another couple of days to really bring the idea to life with more comps and drawings.  Then next week, I’ll pitch it… the company I work for would have to be bonkers not to do it.  🙂  It’s very exciting.  🙂

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One of my closest female friends challenged me almost a year ago to do an experiment on myself, in regards to my self esteem.  She told me to take 1 selfie per day.  Doesn’t matter if I hate it, I have to keep at least one from each day.  Now, truthfully, I didn’t remember EVERY single day… but I have put in an effort and have managed roughly one a week.    I HATE pictures of myself.  In fact, there are very few photos of me that I like.  I prefer to be on the other end of the camera. 🙂  So when J challenged me to do this, it wasn’t something I was enthusiastic about doing.  Tonight I flipped through them.  She was right.  As a collection… viewing them changed something for me.  I laughed at the ones that looked HORRIBLE.. I smiled at others that reflected how happy I was or how sleepy I was.  And as I finished up… the overall opinion I had on them, and me, and how I look….

I’m pretty!  And cute.  🙂  My god, it only took me 34 years to really understand and be able to say that and mean it.  I love my dimples, and freckles, my frizzy curls, my eyes that oddly change color when I’m wearing different things or near certain colors.  I love my nerdy glasses and the fact that most days I’m in a hoodie, yoga pants and flip flops.  I even love my squishy tummy.  It is me.  This body has been through so much, and it’s so damn strong!  I have curves, and a waist – something that I didn’t have years ago.  Here’s a few from the last few weeks.

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I’m enjoying life right now.  I’m enjoying finding myself, learning to be a home owner, spending quality time with my children and my family.  Is it strange that I can say that life is good right now?  Even with all the turmoil we’ve gone through in the last few weeks?  And that’s not me burying my head in the sand.

For the first time… maybe in my entire life, I truly have a sense of comfort.  I’m content.  And I have so much hope bursting in me for the future.  For my kids… but more than that.  For me.  Hope.  It’s a beautiful thing.  It’s not something I’ve felt in a very long time when it comes to me personally.  I think, as much as I don’t like to admit it, I’d been a bit burnt out.  Perhaps taking some time off was a good thing.  🙂

Well neverland, it’s time for me to get some sleep.  But if you’re still awake.. here’s a goodnight kiss to you.

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Hello you

One of my best friends wrote this to me… had to share.

Hello you—

I know that your eyes are filled with the watery beauty of other peoples love and that your heart has taken on an empty thud that echoes for longer than even your mind wanders. But I have something to tell you…

One day, someone will love you just as you are on that day. Perhaps you’ll change a little before then—start on some of those nagging habits you’re trying to pick up or drop—but you’ll still be you. And one day, someone will want every wonderful corner of you.

It is not your responsibility to strive to be someone who can be loved. You already are.

The magic that makes the love you yearn for is the absolute perfection of your uniqueness.

I know you still torment yourself with regretful thoughts of “if only I could change”—but darling, you are a fool. For the moment you begin to change your unchangeable heart, and its steadfast compass, is the moment you know (and you do know, don’t you?) that the hope you had placed within the eyes and fingers of your lover was more about yourself and less about love.

Of course you wanted it to work—anyone who comes out of a relationship not wishing it had worked was never really in it at all.

But it wasn’t you.

Sure, you’re nuts. I know. You have a complicated heart. But have you ever looked inside a flower? Have you seen the complexity that makes up that beauty? Or a forest with its random trunks and patterns of leaves? Or a cloud, ever changing? Or the stars?
Beauty comes not from being simple.

The trick here, really, is to be brave. To trust that you are enough. Of course you could work out a little more and drink a little less. You could read more books and lie under stars more often—but none of that is “you.” You are the sea bed underneath the tides of habituation, procrastination, optimism and discovery.

More than anything, I want you to know this: That you—just as you are—are quite simply, perfectly beautiful.

That you are not loved yet is because a wave breaks at just the right moment and not a minute sooner. And yet, it was caressed by the moon many miles before it broke. You are still a wave even if you are yet to crest. You are being loved by the sky and then sent on your way to travel—to build, to see and to learn—before one day, unknowingly and quite actually out of the blue, you’ll find yourself beginning to tumble. This is all part of that final thunder on to the shore.

Be more still than you’ve been. You’ve got nothing to do, other than being you.
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