I welcomed the big 4-0 a little over a month ago, and while I was feeling quite accomplished, I still felt a void (which I continue to feel, but don't dare dwell on). So, I decided to make tribute to myself and my hard work in the gym over the past year with a "40 Fit and Fabulous" photo shoot. I called my sister Katlyne, over at Katlyne Hill Photography (katlynehillphotography.smugmug.com) in Atlanta, for the photos. Following that conversation, I casually mentioned my plans to another sister from another mister, Camille, who is Owner and Creative Director of June Plumm Events (juneplummevents.com) in New York City, and the rest was history! Katlyne made time for me in her busy schedule, and Camille, without hesitation, booked a flight to Hotlanta (along with a few other dear friends, who would later, and unbeknownst to them, become my wardrobe assistants). I had a plan, a crew and plenty of wardrobe ideas!
If ever you're feeling a void in your life, but you know you've been putting in work, I urge you to love on yourself in the form of a photoshoot. It's exhilarating to say the least! It's a confidence booster and mood enhancer all in one! At first, I admit, I was a bit stiff and feeling awkward. I've never been one to show off my assets well, at least not without a little liquid encouragement, but......... By the time the camera was on its 10th flash I felt at home. Of course having a great photographer and creative director, with whom comfort was no issue, helped. However, no matter the familiarity, I think it would eventually become effortless for anyone. And if you've worked hard and disciplined yourself, why not show it all off?!
Why did I choose a "Fit" and "Fabulous" shoot?
F I T: To be fit means to be of a suitable quality, standard, or type to meet the required purpose; or to be in good health, especially because of regular physical exercise. To stay fit takes dedication, perseverance and most importantly LOVE for yourself and your life! So I decided to give honor to the love I’ve grown to have for myself over the past 40 years! And to the motivation of mostly carnival costumes and fete outfits, but also of myself!
F A B U L O U S: To be fabulous means to be extraordinary; tremendous, stupendous, prodigious, phenomenal, remarkable, exceptional; amazingly good; wonderful.
It means having no basis in reality; mythical. I felt it was my time to shine and feel magical! It was my time to let my fabulous glow and put my Black Girl Magic on display! After all, I had been bottling it up inside for long enough!
For too many years, I felt I had to hide my beauty and physical accomplishments, if they didn't fit with what society thought was acceptable. I wore bangs to cover my large forehead when my skin was flawless, glowing and admired by many. I wore long shirts to cover my larger than normal derriere, when today people risk their lives and pay top dollar to get as close a replica as they can. I felt ashamed, but not anymore. I now feel sorry for the old me and for anyone who continues to feel boxed in by society's, or family's in some instances, views of what is acceptable when it comes to THEIR body, or life. Acceptable, in my opinion, is what YOU, as a person, feel comfortable with.
From my heart to yours: I urge you to love your body and yourself! Work out consistently, eat well, care for yourself, inside and out. Beauty and health starts from within, but nothing is wrong with building a strong outer shell as well! And never forget that your journey should remain in line with your goals and not someone elses. Be fit. Be fabulous. Be you.