All my life I’ve considered myself a weak person. I was never athletic. I was never physically strong. I never really knew how to stand up for myself, and, as my family often told me, I was “too sensitive.” I felt too much, and was very susceptible to hurt and heartache. I had skills, but was almost always inept at the things I needed to have skill at. I was “heavy.” I was never conventionally “pretty.”
Following Michael’s death, everyone told me how ‘amazing’ I was, what an ‘inspiration’ I was, how ‘strong,’ how ‘courageous,’ and all I could see was the girl who was so weak, she was falling apart inside. All I could see was how I couldn’t keep my sh*t together, the myriad of spinning plates crashing down around me.
So when my friend, Anna, asked me to be a model for her art photography project — a project about the modern lady warrior in all her independence, strength, and confidence — I almost turned her down. “Why on Earth would she want me for this?” I wondered. “I’m the weakest link!”
But I’m so glad I didn’t turn her down. Though I’ve never done any modeling before, and though the session was a bit awkward due to my inexperience and *ahem* lack of photogenic-ness, I donned the things that made me feel confident — my motorcycle jacket and my cross — anyway. I grabbed my rapier that J. modified for me and had some fun. I left her studio with crossed fingers that she had gotten some good shots. She sent me some copies of the photos this week and they are… amazing. Looking at them, I find myself moved great distances.
I don’t know how she did it, but somehow she managed to capture that inner strength I’ve never seen. Somehow, through the power of her lens, she focused in on that side of me I never knew existed. Looking at those photos, I see a woman of confidence. I see a woman of grace under fire. A woman who is capable and resilient and strong. A survivor. I see courage, and spirit, and perseverance against all odds. I see a warrior, a quiet champion standing against the every-day dragons that seek to destroy our lives.
It was there, all along. Hiding just underneath the surface. I’ll never look at myself the same again.
Because even when we can’t see our own strength, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. Look a little harder, probe a little deeper.
We are, always, more than we think we are.
The show is scheduled for April 21st through 25th, with the artist’s reception from 6-8pm on Friday the 25th, at Washington State University in Pullman, WA.
To view Anna’s portfolio, please visit: thecreeativeanarchist.com