I was telling a friend today that so many people have images of me that I have never seen. So i decided to treat myself and get some photos done. I wanted something Afro futuristic, daring and new. I wanted to explore and challenge myself to represent my image differently . Yes I am a Nubian Queen, Mama Africa but what else am I?
Identity is not static but sometimes I think that is what I have become. Its all too easy to get locked into the conventional, comfortable representations of Africans women as either seductress or mother.
Right now I need a challenge, something that is going to encourage me to push beyond my current boundaries and expand.
Life is about growth and death and right now on a personal level I feel I am experiencing a death as there are many aspects of my life that are changing. My mother is terminally ill, my marriage has come to an end. It’s interesting as its happening at the close of the year. I’m reflective and I’m asking myself what next?
Before the shoot I was thinking about stripping away the layers that I have accumulated, the titles, the perceptions, to reveal something i didn’t know what. But I felt I had to take a creative risk. So I decided to do some nude shots.
Honestly I wasn’t ready but I thought what have a got to loose? Would something new emerge?At this point it was more about the process not the outcome.
The other day a friend of mine posted something on FB about women who were happy with their bodies. How many industries would go out of busy? Like a lot of women I can always find something to complain about. My droopy breasts or my wrinkly belly. Its sad really. And so I embarked on a session of nude and semi nude images. Don’t get me wrong at first I was very self conscious, as the naked body had me thinking about sex and all those lewd thoughts we have when we see the naked form.
I realized this shoot wasn’t about me being perfect, but about allowing my essence to shine through my naked form, because ultimately when i strip everything away my name, title, body and mind, I am a soul who is not tied to any of those things. As is the case when trying new things I was very scared. I kept thinking about those women in Vogue and Elle and comparing myself.
Fortunately for me I was being photographed by a very creative mind who appreciated all those natural nuances of my form.
So at first I was afraid, what would people say? Would I handle the criticism or praise and not be phased either way?
But the more I breathed into my centre the easier it became, I wouldn’t say it was effortless but there were moments of surrender, when I allowed myself to be without judgment.
I don’t know whats going to happen to me creatively or personally but I know I am open to receive. To put aside my anxiety, fears and doubts. I want to empty myself. To put aside all those things that are holding me back.
If I was to relate this stage to nature I would say I am the mush around the pupa- full of nutrients, reconfiguring, redefining in order to emerge as a beautiful butterfly with a long tongue, drinking my fill of nectar until saturated.
Images by benjireid.com
Last night a close friend told me that I was a house slave, wanting to work in the ‘big house’ and get the scraps off the big table. This was an analogy for my need for gainful employment , the regular monthly income. The security of knowing no matter how little I am getting in salary, I’m still getting something.
This conversation arose because right now I have to move house. I’ve located a house which is beautiful but more expensive. He tells me I should act ‘as if ‘ I have the money and keep my mind focused on attracting what I need, not on what I don’t have. It’s all very esoteric ,but does it work and am I really a house slave?
I am a mental person. A poet, a thinker, a creative and I have realized that the mind is a very under used resource. We spend most of our thinking time either in the past or worrying about the future. Seldom are we in the present . We also tend to be quite negative having those bad thoughts either about ourselves or others. So in total we tend not to be very productive mentally.
After having a conversation about the house I call the new landlord. I love the house but I can’t make 4 months in advance. To my surprise he tells us that he would accept 3 months. Wow this is great as I have 2 million already, maybe it’s possible to raise 1 million more. These are the times I have to remind myself how dynamic I am, well connected, creative but it’s a challenge, in my mind all I know is I don’t have that 1m.
In energetic terms this is what keeps people impoverished. When we focus on what we don’t have that’s exactly what is given back to us by our environment. Everything, when you break it down is based on atoms which are units of energy. So it really is an energetic equation. There is a part of the brain called the Reticular Activator System (RAS) which acts as a magnet drawing and scanning the environment for what we need, so it’s about us training our minds in a different way. The brain is not bound by time so when we visualize ourselves having or doing something it’s like the brain is actually having that experience. It doesn’t know it’s not real. So all we have to do is see ourselves doing or having the object of our desire. We have to act ‘as if’. Ok. now I have to shift my thinking to one of ‘yes I can, yes I will’.
Now onto the next question. Am I a house slave? If I’m honest , I do like security, I need to feel grounded. Even though work in the big house was just as traumatic there was a certain degree of comfort. But when I check myself again I realize that I’m also quite rebellious, I ‘m challenged by authority and prefer to be autonomous. So why do I always look for the Job?
I think it’s got a lot to do with fear of taking risks and possibly loosing. When you work for yourself you have to be prepared to try new things, to take calculated risks (as opposed to being spontaneous) and to sometimes get it wrong.
For most of us this is a big barrier to doing something different. We don’t like to get it wrong. I see it a lot in the students that I teach, they would prefer not to try which means they won’t fail. So I have to build their confidence, to let them know it’s ok to try and fail as long as they realize they will always learn something from the process. So maybe I am coming to a time in my life where I have to go out on my own and trust my skills and abilities. When I post on my facebook page I’m teaching myself what I most need to learn and in the process inspiring others. How hard can it be to depend on myself? It’s definitely scary but as the saying goes the journey begins with the first step.
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