I did it. I saw a famous photographer’s work, emailed her and by golly, she emailed me back.
It was as simple at that and there I was sitting in her adobe studio/home, village kalim rugs from Turkey covering the cement floors, Mexican pastel colors splashed on the walls, cushions all around as a woman named after a precious stone of the earth beamed her warm as the sun smile at me.
“What made you decide to do this?” “Are you afraid?” “What does your husband think of it?”
I told my story. I spoke what was in my heart.
“And what would you say your body image is?” she asked.
“Oh my God, I have quite an incredible body!” I responded.
“Let me see!”
And she put her camera in front of her eye and I got up off that little sofa that was tucked in the corner and danced.
She clicked and cooed “Perfect,” as I moved and she clicked and called out, “More,” as I twisted and turned my hands and arms and legs this way and that and soon I said to my body,
“Welcome back you glorious body. You’ve been gone a long time.”
She had been stolen by poison 6 years before and she had been fighting for her life since.
I had been sad for her. The fight cost her. It cost her gracefulness and comfort and it cost her mobility and balance and it showed on her. It showed in even more sagging, even more wrinkles and dimpling and in an even greater accumulation of fat—everywhere.
“Who are you?” I would ask. “Who is this dimpled, wrinkled body that used to run marathons and lift weights and walk 5 miles a day?”
I didn’t know her.
Oh how, at the same time my body was fighting to stay healthy and alive, I was grieving for who she used to be and struggling not to abandon her or reject her.
Then the photo shoot happened and while we were dancing–my body and me–she came back and she came back full of life. In fact, she came back with the promise that she’d be happy to be full of life for around 10 more years than I thought she would be.
I was so glad to see her. To really look at her, exactly as she was. So full of joy was I to be alive in her again; my body—the keeper of my secrets, the teller of my stories, the witness to my struggles—my body, the friend of my life.
“Thank you,” I said.
Thank you for leading the way back to joy.