tinie shares her light
You can't miss the cascading silver emanating from her crown. It's those curly grays after all. And I am admittedly biased. I have always wanted ringlets.
Whenever I spot another woman going au naturale, I am able to catch an objective glimpse of what I look like. I sometimes find myself staring deeply as if I might see clearly how to deal with the challenge of aging and a changing bodyscape. It is a frontier most of us will navigate at some point in our lives.
And even though we all stare in the mirror on a daily basis, we cannot ever truly see ourselves. The layers of distortion from cultural biases and old tapes are on re-wind in our heads.
“Personally, I never felt like the norm,” shared Tinie. “I did Dippity-do and foam rollers as a kid. In the 80's, hairdressers permed my hair thinking they could somehow control it. And now, years later, I never thought anyone would think my hair looked good. Then, all of a sudden, it seemed everyone was commenting on it! And you gave me the confidence to have my portrait done."
Tinie and I talked about taking her picture for months. Every time I saw her, we talked about the "shoot." “Soon,” we would say, and then time would fly by. "Remember, don't cut your hair!" were always my last words to her.
We finally talked the photo shoot into happening on a warm sunny day, late summer, at Ivy Creek Natural Area. We chose the opalescent sequined dress for Tinie because it matched the sheen of her silver locks.
"Let's sprinkle flowers on the ground and in your hair!" I prompted. "It's time to tiptoe-through-the-tulips!"
I began arranging the flowers and had just gotten the entire "set" in place when a large group of kindergartners arrived. Tinie was laying on a curtain in a field amidst flowers; I was functioning as set designer, stylist, and photographer; and there was a single-file line of kids making a beeline right for us! "If they start asking questions..." I lamented, "I'm not even going to be able to focus!"
Amazingly, the kids paraded by without a peep. Tinie told me after the session that the presence of the schoolkids that day connected her back to her mother. "She was a true stay-at-home mom. She was a nurse and teacher to her family and the people around her. She was always there for us and other kids. She loved Princess Diana, not for her beauty, but for her humanity towards children."
At the very end of our shoot, when the sun was going down, I think I caught Tinie connecting with her mother in a brief moment — a nod from the other side that all is well. (First image above.)
In what ways have you made peace with your body over time?