I was terrified.
But, my perfect friend held my hand and said "Do It" and stood with me and photographed me.
For OVER half of my life I rarely exposed the skin on my body.
Wearing Long Sleeves and Long Pants. Summers were sticky and hot.
I AM a photographer. I take over 50,000 pictures a year on average. I cover events, weddings and private retreats... I even have a photography movement I've founded known as THE I AM MESSAGE.
(my website can lead you to the Facebook Page http://www.iamkatiejo.net/)
But I have SHIED away from being in the pics.
For a few weeks My soul sister Debbie, Red FoX, and I planned on taking some shots at Bear Lake. I was "covering" a New York Times Best Selling Author's Writers Retreat there and facilitating a Drum Circle on the last eve... Sunday Morning... we planned the photoshoot.
We walked along the beach and Debbie wrapped her arm around my waist.
I borrowed the outfit (from a friend who is NO LESS than 4 sizes SMALLER than me "It's okay- the waist is stretchy!" she said and I've been checking the pics freaking out because how tight the band was.... )
But here's the thing.....
I KNOW I get to honor my body.
I get to acknowledge my body and my vehicle of light and beauty.
It's taken me over 20 years just to NOT HATE it.
In fact, Getting to the place of Neutrality has been a journey through the desert and wind rarely finding water.
And I'm proud of myself for being NEUTRAL.
And then...... Drum Circles Manifested.
The Girl who never spoke to anyone or in front of class or touched or hugged people... Now stands in front of hundreds of people every month....
Sometimes I stand in the Center of the Circle and feel 360 degrees of eyes staring at me and I begin to shake.
I ask my Soul friends to stand with me.
Steve Price usually walks to the center with me and begins speaking. He watches me and knows when my nerves are balanced enough.
It's the MESSAGE- the WORK of UNITY that fuels me. The DRIVE to encourage us ALL to be ONE CIRCLE- ONE TRIBE that calls me to stand in the Center. So I process my fears and I STAND for that, Speak for that, Dance for that.
But .... the pics........
Debbie told me to send them to her if I couldn't edit them. If my head got in the way.... and to be honest... it has taken me 2 weeks to face them.
I realize it's time. It's time that I AM vulnerable.
It's alright to embrace MY body as PART of the GODDESS I Am.
I claim healing and this has been part of it.
It's important too that I clarify that I ADVOCATE MODESTY.
Modesty in the way of knowing my body is a sacred gift. I AM modest, I AM most comfortable being modest... but For me... I distorted and twisted MODESTY into a cloak to hide my body shame behind.
For me, the "stretch" of honoring my body is in being fearless to show skin. (obviously- not all of it)
It's ok to face comments or ridicule or judgement. If I DON'T embrace it... how can I set the example for my own Children to do the same.
Honor and Reverence.... Beauty and FREEDOM.