Body love isn’t a trend, it’s a lifestyle.
#projectBRAVE is about seeing that we all have physical insecurities, no matter our size or shape or colour. But more than that, it’s about getting that we all can and should grow to embrace these “flaws”. It’s about not just living with our imperfections and insecurities, it’s about learning to love them and seeing that they are beautiful. That was the task that Dale-Anthony and I had to execute- photograph one or more (as it ended up) physical feature that people were insecure about and have them see it as beautiful. Easy ting, yea? Ha!
Today marks one year since I first expressed out loud my idea for what would end up being #ProjectBRAVE . It took almost a year to have all the stars align so that it could be executed in line with my vision. I am grateful for the team that I had (see credits at the end) especially my photographer. We took SEVERAL pictures of each participant, emailed the pics to them and I asked them to pick their top five and From those, I’d select a few to post. To show all these pics, I had to break up the reveal over the course of a few weeks. This week you’ll see the first four: Tracey, Jordan, CC and myself.
I hope you enjoy the pictures and that you too are inspired to be BRAVE.
“My battle with body issues began at an early age. There was seemingly always something I wished to change. I grew up stick thin and bloomed later than most in the curve department. I was made to feel bad about myself by other girls as well as men. When I finally gained some weight, I was beside myself with excitement buuut, these few extra pounds came with stretch marks on my bum. Pop culture and standards of beauty planted an idea in my head that stretch marks meant I was fat (and there were some people who would confirm this) so I tried my best to cover them and by extension my body in an effort to avoid all the comments. When my journey to self acceptance began, I decided to embrace my flaws. Let me be clear and state that I am still a work in progress but being gentle with myself and working with what I have seem to be helping. Positive feedback on my body from friends is a plus as well. Hail to the stretch marks! ‘They show character’.”
“At first I was a chunky baby. Then I started to get tall and skinny with minimal tummy flab. Then all this hair came out of nowhere. Society says a man should always have a certain look, but I never fit into any of the categories. Always wanting to be more but always being told I don’t fit in so it makes no sense. Your outside needs more work because you don’t meet the idea of what people think I should be. But if I can’t learn to accept me, and see myself as worthy, then why should anyone else. That is my daily goal. I may not reach the ideal but I will be happy to be in my own skin.”
“After battling cancer of the liver (hepatoblastoma) I was left with this [scar] across my stomach. The scar had always been a symbol of hope to my family members but I’ve never seen it as more than this ugly reminder that I am not entirely whole (as they had to remove the right lobe of my liver and my gall bladder). To add insult to injury I’ve always been 2 sizes bigger than most of the children my age; having to deal with the ugly scar, I also had the family members and family friends, sometimes even strangers, commenting on my weight (and more recently my eczema). In 2014 I took the initiative to begin a self acceptance campaign for myself and Project BRAVE happened to fall in the 1 year mark of my dedication to accepting and loving this scar that I will live with forever.”
“I didn’t think anything was wrong with my navel until I got teased about it. Once, I used gold nail polish to try and cover my navel because it was the closest I could get to it sparkling like the ones I saw on tv. ProTip: don’t do that. It burned me up to my eyeballs. I eventually pierced my belly button (well, above it) to hide it. I used to only wear navel rings that dangled. Then I realized how special I am because I travel with a yin-yang symbol at my centre. Balance.
I learned what a sternum was after it was pointed out to me that mine sticks out more than normal. Before that, I didn’t notice it. After that, it was all I could see especially when I’d lose weight and my breasts would decrease in size. I loathed wearing certain tops because they only seemed to highlight my “deformity”. Then it got to be too much to cringe at the sight of that part of me. Self preservation kicked in and I had to accept that this wasn’t going anywhere.
I didn’t think these features were things to be ashamed of until others told me. So I had to unlearn those messages. Teaching myself to love myself- best course I’ll ever take in life.”
Thank you so much for stopping by. Check out
Nastassian Brandon: Project and Creative Director, Photoshoot Coordinator
Dale-Anthony Hines: Photographer
Tracey-Ann Mullings: Creative Consultant, Photography Assistant
Courtney-Claire Haynes: Photography Assistant
Until next post!
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