Tuesday, February 15, 2011

"Bare It All"

As a part time photographer, I see women with make up applied, every hair in it's place, clothes ironed and coordinated and ready to bring their best smile forward. They ask me to get their "good side", "don't make me look fat", "smooth out my wrinkles" and "do something with the bags under my eyes". I'm asked to do LOTS of things to make the photographs of women perfect, and am guilty of editing my own to perfection as well.

Sessions like this make me think about  my Nana, SHE was a woman of TRUE beauty. She was a kind, genuine woman, who wasn't afraid to tell you what she thought about you and follow it up with a hug afterward, sounds familiar huh?  I can't remember what she looked like with or without make up, I can't remember what she smelled like, I don't remember a bad hair day or bags or wrinkles, I remember grace. I remember her soft touch, her soothing voice, her unconditional love and kindness to people she would meet. I can't remember her having "roots" or a "bad side", "love handles" or "muffin top", I remember her telling me she loved me " a bushel and a peck and a hug around the neck" and meaning every word. Those are the things I want to be remembered for, not for a great head of hair or flawless skin.

Now, don't get me wrong, I think women feel better when they look nice and there is NOTHING wrong with dressing up, and feeling good, I just think the emphasis on appearance is blown out of proportion. These days our young ladies are so bombarded with the medias "idea" of beauty that we are forgetting the real meaning of being beautiful. We can't expect men to respect us for what's inside if we don't spend as much time on it as we do our outside.  I want my daughter to know that real beauty is inside. Make up can't hide someone who is ugly on the inside and true beauty shines through your soul regardless of your looks.

Those of you who REALLY know me, know that I can never just take things as "face value" and that I am a perpetual "over thinker" and allow my mind to carry things off to places that dream up these ideas. And so, "Bare It All" was born.  I asked my dear friends of Facebook to pose "naked"...well naked faced anyway. I asked each lady to pose for a photo without any make up and to complete the sentence. "I am beautiful because...."

I am beautiful because I know that being tenderhearted shows my strength to love unconditionally.

I am beautiful because I know my smile lines are laughter scars that mean I have lived a life of laughter. 

I am beautiful because God made me to be beautiful.

I am beautiful because my husband reminds me each morning, my daughters laughter reminds me as she connects my freckles and God reminds me in Proverbs 31.

I am beautiful because God made me who I am. 

I am beautiful because I know my flaws. 

I am beautiful because of my God given strength, forgiving nature and ability to love and be true to myself despite my mistakes.

I am beautiful because I am alive, I am a fighter and I am strong. 

I am beautiful because Jesus Christ lives in my heart. 

I am beautiful because I've learned how to have compassion and love despite my heartache.

I am beautiful because God MADE me. 

I am beautiful because I am not afraid to show my strength. 

I am beautiful because I am Bekah, not Barbie.

I am beautiful because I love openly and forgive easily. 

I am beautiful because I always find something to smile about. 

I am beautiful because I can forgive people who greatly disappoint me. 

I am beautiful because my personality is contagious.

I am beautiful because my age shows I have earned my place on this earth and I've learned that true beauty doesn't fade with age.

I am beautiful because I know that true beauty doesn't come from hair products or make up but from the reflection of God in my heart.

Final Thought: 
As usual, after spending time with a bunch of awesome ladies, my cup has ran over with emotion.  I have laughed, cried, laughed and cried some more. I have ladies from age 4 to age 67 "Baring It All" to show other women true beauty is all on the inside! I hope everyone reading this really gets this message. If you have a teenage daughter, I urge you to send them this link. We are women, we are strong, we are beautiful and together we can rebuild the meaning of true beauty.


Tricia said...

I love this! What an inspiring post. But I'd still punch anyone who tried to photograph me without my makeup. :)

Kelly said...

Wow, this is such a powerful project! I bet you could keep doing this and put all these pictures and the womens' statements into a book. That would be so lovely.

claire said...

Why aren't there more comments here? You are such a great writer, and your project is awesome. I wish we could manage a project together to get women to feel great about all that they do.

Anonymous said...

Another great project Jamie, wonderful pictures & beautiful women inside & out!

Niki Linne said...

I needed this reminder more than you will ever know....I just sat and read each one of these out loud to myself..Wonderful work Jamie!
Love ya

Crystal Hawkins said...

I was introduced to you through a photo contest and a friend, and decided to check out your blogs. This one made me laugh and cry at the same time.
I've been needing this reminder, but couldn't find it...till now. I'm a future-photographer, and school is tough, my kids drive me crazy, and my husband does too...but through all that, I think I've lost myself...my goods and bads, happys and sads. Thank you so much for helping me find me again!

Eddie said...

My favorite, most poignant comment is "I am beautiful because I can forgive people who greatly disappoint me." This takes great strength and energy. Beautiful, creative post. Thank you!

Annette said...

I just revisited this blog project and am once again refreshed, inspired, and humbled by the women who chose to show their authentic side. (and of course, I especially love Eddie's comment) :P