13 May Leaving Marks: Chapter One
This was the first group. We came together nervous, nobody knowing what to expect- not even me. The new light modifier I planned to use conked out when I turned it on. New plan. The medium we were to use to paint each other was makeup, which I thought an apt metaphor, but the eyeliner pencils I had broke under the unexpected stress of their new role. I ended up calling a friend who lives near the studio- the sort of friend everyone should have, who has a creative answer to every problem and the grace and style of an old time starlet- in a quiet panic. She brought soothing words and high-end MAC products and an I-believe-in-you smile and we were off.
We took off our clothes and looked at each other, and it was awkward. But not a bad sort of awkward; the start of something new. A way of opening up and being vulnerable. And as we worked together, painting on first strong words of hope and affirmation and then our secret fears and shames, the atmosphere was one of perfect acceptance and support. We laughed as we found that spelling on naked bodies is no easy thing- words take on a funny tilt, and nudity-induced dyslexia caused endless hilarity and rewrites. Using flowing scripts or choppy block letters, choosing the placement of the words to add deeper meaning, this thoughtful group of women took the chance to make even the ugliest words into something beautiful. Everyone in that room brought such compassion and loving kindness that it took my breath away.
Each weekday I will add a set of photos to the blog. Please remember what an enormous act of bravery this is and honour these women with your support in the comments. And maybe next time you look in the mirror, look kindly.
The photos: Beautiful Deviant — Sexy & Strange — Bravely Flawed — Hairy is Natural — Probably Not a Robot
The Stories: The Hard Part