A few weeks ago, I attended a TEDx women's conference. I had the privilege to participate in Jill Valle's I Am A Woman Who project. The website says that,
I AM A WOMAN WHO uses portrait photography and confessional writing to explore the threads that connect women to other women in the world, no matter what their backgrounds or experiences. It inspires the release of raw, uncensored truths captured in the moment through stream-of-consciousness writing coupled with imagery that serves as both catalyst and canvas.
I was given about five minutes to answer the prompt "I am a woman who." It was stream of consciousness. The blank page seemed a bit daunting. It caused me to (quickly) contemplate my womanhood, my essence. I ran through my life motto, my qualifiers (religion, activities, work, roles). I thought about God's will and my greatest battles in life. I handed the paper over to Jill and she took Sumi Ink (which I particularly loved because it was the same ink that I use daily in my calligraphy) and she wrote my words on a giant, white paper canvas. Then, she asked me to pose in front of it. I got pretty camera shy (I later saw some pictures of the young high schoolers who did this and they were jumping around and having a good time - I was unable to do much more than smile when she said "what pose embodies your words?). Here is the final result:
Photography: Jill Vale, I am a Woman Who
I am a woman WHO BELIEVES that beauty will save the world who is a catholic a recovering alcoholic a yogi an artist a sister a daughter and a friend whoSEEKS God’s will in all things and who is learning and growing who battles depression and anxiety and who has found that LIGHT and love always win. I AM A WOMAN WHO is constantly surprised by the joys and sorrows of life who believes there is DIVINE providence and that I Am Coming Into MySELF.
I chose (without much thinking) to be vulnerable. Too many times I find myself wanting to edit who people see. They can see the parts of me that are beautiful and acceptable to society. But there is so much more. There are so many other things beneath the surface that make me who I am. They add to the beautiful parts and should not be left out. I strive to be truthful, authentic, transparent and real. So that is that.
Here is a video that I took of Jill while she was writing.
And the best news is that if you are in the LA area, you can participate, too!! She is holding an open call:
I Am A Woman Who Open Call Saturday, June 27, 2015 New Roads School 3131 Olympic Blvd Los Angeles, CA 90064
You can register here.