...I was raised by an abusive father who just utterly malaied my mother's self esteem by constantly body shaming her. The words "fat ass" were associated with everything that was wrong in the world, as though a gentle butt cheek could ever orchestrate dastardly deeds from its innocent presence above the thigh, and its cherished service in protecting the sit bones. My booty and thighs have been numb for most of my life, a natural protection mechanism formed from those early days, they became a storage space for all the emotions I was unable to deal with at the time. It has been a journey of years of hard work to say that I am finally in there, cleaning house and giving heart wrenching thanks for the healing and transmutation. I knew the sup would give me so many gifts, to be on my knees, to be in my thighs, one of the strongest places in my body this great femur bone. To reclaim my seat as one of strength as is natural to my state of being, a return to that Amazonian energy well that is every woman's birth right. In humble gratitude I received these holy gifts. Beyond that, to be seen in my skin, just as is. All my bits under sunshine, caressed by wind, surrounded by so many beautiful women who not once looked on me in judgement or criticism, or even curiosity. So utter was the unconscious acceptance of all body bits and bobs. Your example Billy, is one I honor most deeply. To witness my beautiful sister do yoga in her bikini with no reservation or second thought is akin to bearing witness to the first female president be elected. Do you grasp the enormity of that seemingly normal action? I know you mentioned the lovely Hawaiian ladies who helped you evolve to this place, but for me I just see this magnificent creature who is so at home in her glorious skin, you offered me a invitation to find that way home, what an exquisitely rare treasure you are in showing me what it is to be free. Every time I think I know, Spirit offers another level and I'm like ooooooh, like thaaaaaat Hahahaha.
And then another aspect. I graduated from a film and drama degree when I was 20. Another experience of criticism and negativity since that is sadly how we tend to teach, with a focus on what didn't work rather than what did. I didn't have any particularly personal experiences of negativity towards me regarding my participation in film etc, but you see the internal dialogue was already established from the childhood and also I have a natural aversion to being photographed that goes deeper in mythological ways that are another story. I had to recognize that being photographed is in some ways verging on a phobia, I hate it, have always run from it. To consciously allow myself to try and find a place of comfort within that experience...Eish mfwethu. Hard hard hard. I hope one day that I will be able to look at the person who is looking at me through the camera, without shyness, shame or repulsion, then I will know I have done my work in this aspect. You offered me such an opportunity to begin this work, you are such a sweet soul and your celebration of the divine feminine is so apparent in all that you do. Thank you dear sister for offering me your gentle and appreciative gaze in helping me work with is terrible aspect I'm struggling with. I honor your skill as a photographer, these pictures you sent of me sitting on that rock while we were all bathing have a quality to them that makes it look like a dream. The beauty of the landscape and light, and the beauty of this dear body friend I have been gifted with. To see my body from the back, and not have any ugly thoughts associated felt like a christening. Knowing you did not judge me even when I was in resistance, you held such a loving playfulness, shit stix but I appreciate you so much Billy. I appreciate the space you are holding for all my sisters to find their freedom. To have the honor of witnessing the beauty and grace of Sam and Terae in their photo shoot was such a gift, to be able to roll around butt necked on a rock in the middle of the river I love and have a picture of me canning myself doing it is so damn Kiff..."
Lina, South Africa