This photo was taken 6months after Zora was born, when I found myself feeling unfamiliar in this skin. My arms and legs broke out consistently. I had stripes I wasn't confident in claiming. My body did not feel like my own.
Alex Elle & Erika Layne had reached out about taking pictures, and I remember one of them saying that I could be as nude as I felt comfortable. Wanting to be more comfortable in my skin then I actually was, I opted for nothing but underwear. Never mind the new sag in my breast or the formerly taut skin that hung carelessly.
Lately, I've been feeling a lot of the body consciousness that I had when posing for this photo almost two years back. However, my past self did something my current self is grateful for. This photo reminds me that even when I am not fearless, I can be damn brave. I am damn brave, y'all. As affirmed by sister friend Sasha Banks, "If I am afraid, I will do it afraid. Courage is not beyond me."
So, here's to my 27th year. To a body that has gracefully carried me the entire time. To accepting myself wholly and with open arms. For being bold in who I am, even when I'm still discovering who that is. For rejecting every shame and reclaiming the confidence I was born with. A confidence I rebirthed in Zora & likely received from the ancestors. This body is a blessing from the ancestors. Curse the days I spent time busying myself with ungratefulness. This body is filled with gratitude.