And the participants in Volume 1 from Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 are living that life! I cannot thank them enough. Thank you for trusting me, for trusting Dale, for putting yourselves out there. Thank you!
This is the final Part of Volume 1. It features: Francine, Jilleen, Janielle and Dionne. I hope you are all inspired by their stories to be BRAVE.
“I was born with three birthmarks. Two big ones on my belly and knee and a tiny one on my right hand, just above my thumb. The one on my hand faded by the time I turned 8. I had hoped the other two would fade as well, but they never did.
“When I was asked to participate in the #ProjectBRAVE , I had a little trouble identifying a feature to showcase. This wasn’t because I had no insecurities, but because I had many. Ultimately I settled on the one I had overcome the most, my lips.
“‘Smile please?’ “Send me a pic & doh screw up your face! Smile!” “Fix your face.” were the general words from people who like my face. I’m not quite sure when it was but i realized I would always hear those things because i would never smile or I would make up my face because I didn’t like my face…maybe it was sometime around the age of uploading pictures for likes and everyone else would look so gorgeous and one glance of me would garner the response “Ew.” followed immediately by “Delete it.”
This never got easier to overcome with comments from boys I liked telling me if I was ‘brown’ I’d be pretty, if I relaxed my hair I’d be pretty (I had natural hair until upper 6 & relaxed it for a myriad of reasons including this) – basically if I didn’t look how I looked I’d be pretty. And along came acne – HA!- then came acne scars – HA HA! – and I just wanted to hide everyday.
Slowly, eventually, I taught myself that these person’s opinions do not matter and I’m still teaching myself this. I’m still not 100% comfortable with my face. I do try more frequently to be ok with it than not, because bottom line is, it’s mine. My first thought when I see pictures of myself is not ‘look at the flaws’ but ‘look at what’s good!’ Less “Gross.” and more “Yaas!!””
“I sometimes refer to my butt (currently lovingly) as Schrodinger’s butt, and for good reason. Just in case you’re not too familiar with quantum physics, Shrodinger’s cat is a thought experiment that involves a cat that can be simultaneously dead and alive at the same time. Swerving away from that minimalist layman’ s explanation, the essential reason I refer to my butt as Shrodinger’s butt is that it somehow manages to be flat but fat at the same time….huh? Some have commented on the loveliness of my booty, while others comments on the lack thereof. Despite whatever qualms or joys that my derriere may provide to some third party, I can’t help but be self-conscious about the pancake comments (more so roti since I am Afro-Indian). An unfortunate repercussion of hearing not so desirable comments about your body is that despite how confident you are, the idea tends to float around, sometimes latent but ready to strike you down when you’re at a low point. Though I may not actually get teased heavily, when I look in the mirror I constantly criticize it. “Does it look acceptable today?” “How can I get these glutes engaged?” “I wonder if chicken pill is a thing? No it’s not silly” “You need to start doing isolation exercises on your glutes, brah.” “Glutes for the slutes”. After a while, when thoughts like that would hit me, at least some time after I will look at my hips, my boobs, or whatever else I might be fancying that day and just say to myself “Hey, you have tonnes of reasons to be happy, just let this slide today.” I am sill contemplating whether this can be the mecca of self-acceptance that one can have for their Shrodinger’s butt, or if it’s just a point on a journey that’s only halfway close to acceptance.
Thank you so much for stopping by! If you missed parts 1, 2 or 3 of this volume of #projectBRAVE, you can check them out here:
As I said earlier, this is the final installment of this Volume of #projectBRAVE. It was a whirlwind of a journey. I’d like to thank every single person who joined anywhere along the way for taking it with me. You helped me bring my vision to life and I will cherish this always. Stay tuned for more about #projectBRAVE in the future. I have a feeling there are BIG things ahead.
Nastassian Brandon Older: Project and Photoshoot Coordinator, Creative Director
Dale-Anthony Hines: Photographer
Tracey-Ann Mullings: Creative Consultant, Photography Assistant
Courtney-Claire Haynes: Photography Assistant
Until next post!
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