I spent the weeks before the photo shoot running a lot.
The last year my body had changed in dramatic ways, matching the drama I was feeling in my life I suppose.
My cycle had changed as I welcomed a child into a young woman under my roof, her cycle holding the more powerful force, clearly.
My body wasn’t fitting its clothes anymore and I felt like poop. Poop emoticon used many a time.
My metabolism, already slowed, came to a screeching halt, as happens to many my age who also find themselves slowing down their pace, no longer chasing after toddlers and working more on the computer. Read :: sitting on the bum.
I need motivation, deadlines, a reason. I am self motivated for sure in my work, so matching my body feeling good up to my work became a tiny secret weapon.
Photo shoot with Catherine Just in Portland, Oregon in July. Bam. Deadline. Motivation. Put a chunk of cash down and know that it will be real soon.
The running had already become part of my deep desire for quenching my thirst. But now I had a way to challenge myself and see if I could change into a high functioning, beautiful feeling, filled with light and energy body. I had tried before and failed. Being no stranger to failure, I knew I hadn’t stumbled on the right ‘formula’ for myself yet.
One day I realized that there was this huge mental block that had been stopping me from shifting my body into a more sensual feeling/looking place, and it stopped me with shivers.
For the last few years I had been living trying not to diet. Not dieting equated with not losing weight. So I gained weight and refused to allow myself to lose any.
Learning to live as a person who does not severely restrict their food creates this huge pendulum swing for many of us. We want to rid ourselves of disordered eating but it can go so far to the other side. Then we are stuck on the opposite end in refusal to make any move to change our body, for fear that we will fall right down the hole into our disorder.
I had to sit with myself and ask if I would be able to handle to emotional component of losing weight. Would I be able to lose weight and feel proud, strong and beautiful? In control but not controlling?
The past two years I have felt myself falling deeper in love with my skin, my body, who I am. I have been on a path to heal pieces that had been shoved down deep, to layers where I could only feel them in my physical body, but not my heart and spirit.
With this love was I ready to watch my body transform into what would represent a physical form I could feel proud of, walk inside of with joy and allow to become my guide?
I felt so flipping ready.
So I ran. Ate intuitively. Let myself experience hunger when I felt sad and alone rather than filling the hunger with constant feedings that my body no longer needed.
Feeling hungry gave myself space to realize how thirsty I was and to drink glass after glass of water to quench this deep thirst I had been holding onto for so many years.
I became waves as I ran, drank my water and let some pains become mirrors for my physical body.
This was not controlling my pain with control, it was controlling the slow ease back into feeling it all, quieted and dehydrated for so long as way to keep time with choices and changes.
You remember being a kid and you would say, “I’m hungry!!!” And you would hear the soft words back… you might be thirsty, have some water first.
I tried it. Turns out those soft words are usually right. You might be thirsty but hunger is so familiar to us, so comfortable almost. We know how to feed, and feed and feed, repeat.
Thirst is sensual, alive, raw, moving. It is our moon and waves and blood and the element of spiritual regeneration. It is psychic and love.
I avoided water on my skin and inside of me. I don’t like showering until I am in the shower, once every 3-ish days. I love being at the ocean edge but not jumping into the waves.
I held myself back from water and became so fucking thirsty.
My intuition, my love, my flow was being drawn out and replaced only in the smallest amounts.
So I ran. Drank. Peed a hell of a lot. Figured out what I needed. And watched my body start to shift, change, become fit and strong.
I found a love for my hunger, my thirst, my needs.
Soup is my favorite way to feed myself. Some protein, veggies, broth, salt.
I went to Portland for my photo shoot and held a bravery in my body that came from holding myself, my layers, my joys, my pains, my deep desires to know my intuition and choices belong to me.
Permission to change. To iterate. To begin again each morning in full knowing that you are brilliant and beautiful and to make movement from that knowing.
Catherine is permission behind her camera. She already sees you as brilliant and beautiful and coaxes it out towards her lens.
She returns the investments you have put into yourself through photo.
Photos that will redesign how you see you.
Those weeks before the photo shoot so much happened. All the stories won’t be poured out onto this page.
Look at the photos, the stories lay inside of them, words not needed to show the journey of who I was becoming as I stood (or laid) for Catherine’s camera.