The lie started to unravel like the bottoms of over worn, stained jeans. The Beauty Lie. The minute my eye got comfortable behind the lens I was blind no more. This was simply one image. A fabricated captured moment where I could turn someone into anyone I wanted them to be. I could make people sexy. I could make them beautiful. I was in control of what people would see. It became most apparent to me when one of my models had just broken up with her boyfriend. Needing to meet a deadline, her puffy face and red eyes were no match for my determination. We had to do the shoot anyway. With the skills of a magician, I used my expertise to liven up her face with makeup and lighting. I was having second thoughts about this. She really did look like shit. At this point though, I had to give it a try & began firing away. With each frame the cool mist of my own innocence evaporated, until I could finally see. I had erased any indication of pain from her face. I created an image of confidence, happiness & enviable good looks when it wasn’t even there.

Strong is the new skinny, something to really get excited about. Some of us will never be skinny, but strong? Oh yes, we can! Madonna was the turning point on this one. The first big name to make muscles on a woman sexy. Watching her dance & thinking fuck I want those legs so bad, but never of course getting off your ass and actually committing to the kind of regimen it would take to get there. Close to seven days a week of torture & whoever doesn’t call it that, is an asshole. It is damn hard work. Now no one is saying that it won’t make you feel amazing especially when you’re done, but it’s really almost sweating blood, hard.

Camouflage Asics running shoes are my favorite item of workout gear. I’m on a mission, fighting the old and sweating my way down the long, sometimes winding road to fitness. At war with F-A-T. What an ugly little word that is. An ugly little word that is given so much power. Our bodies are our temples. The vessel, our tool, this elaborate machine. Instead of feeding it nourishing, healing ideas we pollute it with things like the word Fat. I am in a love/hate relationship with my body. I don’t really like talking about it because it’s confusing and complicated and I feel like my head is going to start spinning around…Here’s a fairly new observation, lifting weights gives me an ego and I like it a lot. The endless repetitive cycle.  Military press, 60 pound bar = feelings of being invincible and unstoppable. Sitting in that feeling, loving that I’m lifting more than the silly guy next to me. Smiling confidently at my strong, sleek body in the mirror. Then ever so quickly and quietly the moment shifts completely. The imperfection police have come a callin’ like they always, always do. Knock, knock. They try so hard to be polite but I know they are up to no good. Jumbled whispers and accusations of a little too much here and here and not quite enough there and maybe…there. Covering my ears and eyes isn’t a substantial enough defense mechanism and already I can see this new image begin to materialize in the mirror. Sitting in this feeling. Never entirely good enough. Hating myself for letting everything around me create some kind of pre-conceived notion of what perfection is in my head.

Fueling the negative will only produce more negative. Scrambling to find a way to not be affected. I spent most of Valentine’s Day this year upset by something I had read. This is even though I have a partner, and had a wonderful holiday once I made a conscious decision to get over, this. I read something that said 78% of women preferred Botox on Valentine’s Day and it crippled me. This was such a sad fact. I think if someone bought me Botox for Valentine’s Day I would punch them in the face. Imperfection is good enough and it is actually what makes beauty that much more attractive. Keeping up with the fakeness can sometimes seem like an exhausting process. Where has the truth gone? They strut their stuff all around me without knowing. Mismatched colour schemes and patterns. Enough clashing to warrant a good pair of dark sunglasses. Not just because of necessity or economic status women in parts of Southeast Asia don’t seem to have any conventions when it comes to wardrobe. The colour wheel and common rules of fashion do not prescribe a standard with which they base their confidence levels.  Freedom! They have seen the light! Without being influenced by mountains and mountains of bullshit, the truth shines through. There are no guidelines dictating what this outer shell should look like. For in the end, it is only a tool for the soul that resides inside.