They say a picture is worth a thousand words. I think they can be worth far more than that.
This is a photograph taken of me by the talented Ana Gherasim in November 2013. Ana was taking photographs to promote a burlesque workshop that her dance studio, Azucar Latin Dance Company, would be hosting the upcoming Valentine’s Day. My instructor, Emilie Phaneuf, had asked some us girls if we’d like to get dressed up and pose for a promotional shoot. Never one to be shy around a camera ;) I happily volunteered.
I had started taking burlesque dance classes with Emilie just a few months before. And looking back now, deciding to take that first class really was the beginning of something truly incredible in my life. My third child, Gwyneth, was only 7 months old. Still on maternity leave, I was in full ‘mommy-mode’. Home all day with 2 young kids, never straying far from my yoga pants and rarely wearing makeup or shaving my legs - I was overjoyed to have a baby girl (after 2 boys) but a part of me was slowly slipping away.
I signed up for the burlesque class at the encouraging nudge of my husband. I’ve always had a love for dance. I can remember asking my parents to sign me up for classes as a young girl but living in a small town, we didn’t have access to stuff like that growing up. So it didn’t take me long to completely fall in love with burlesque! Emilie was so inspiring and encouraging - learning the moves got me in touch with something I’m not sure I knew existed within me. After only a few weeks, the classes had ignited something in me that I would never be able to snuff out again.
So when Emilie asked us to be in the photo shoot I was more than willing. I had a newfound feeling of being sexy and desirable and I wanted to look my best for the shoot. I got a fresh haircut and treated myself to getting my makeup done professionally.
Once Ana was finished taking the promotional shots I asked her if she would mind taking just one up-close shot of my eye makeup so I could use it for reference. I’m not sure what prompted me to make that face except that I was feeling more confident and beautiful than I had in a long time. Perhaps more than I ever had before in my life.
When I got to see the picture a few days later, honestly, it made me cry. Even to this day when I see it, it gives me a little thrill. I keep a copy of it on our bedside table - I see it every day. This photograph is my talisman - it anchors me to a feeling, a time and place I never want to forget. Even when I was nursing my fourth baby at some ungodly hour of the night, I’d see that sassy face staring at me - a constant reminder of my best self - despite my yoga pants and hairy legs.
Thanks for reading,