On the way to the airport, you keep looking at your nails and try not to let the nerves really kick in.
You feel like a school-girl, just before her first kiss. You're not sure what's ahead on this crazy trip away. A trip you have been looking forward to for what feels like forever.
You glimpse at yourself in the mirror and the butterflies in your tummy do a dive & roll. What are you doing here? It's been so long since you've really loved the way you look. Life somehow got so busy and the things you once did for yourself seems to have taken a backseat to everyone else's needs. It's a choice you made with no regrets. You're so proud to have raised such amazing kids. But, something got forgotten on the way.
There's that twinge again, oh god, why did you decide to do this just for yourself? Maybe it's too indulgent, maybe the money would be better spent somewhere else? Hang on, you’re in your head, you need to do this for you. You are doing this for you. You don’t normally do this sort of thing. It’s ok.
You need to like you again. What if you don't find your beautiful? What if you don't have one? Have you ever?
What if she can't find it? Butterflies again. You’re not sure if you should laugh or cry as you pay the taxi and get your case starting the walk to the terminal gates. With every step, anxiety rises up and becomes your companion. What is the worst thing that could happen? Well, at least you are having an adventure and facing a fear. What if I'm like all those other women who found their beautiful.
What if I am and I don't see it?
Your husband doesn't seem to notice when you make an effort. You remember when he would look at you with desire & passion in his eyes. It has been so long. As your bag goes through the security checkpoint you look at all the other women busy loading up the conveyor belt with their belongings.
Your tummy flips again, there's no turning back now, as you head to the gate. They are about to start boarding your plane. You don't enjoy flying as much as you used to. The seats seem to get smaller each time you fly. As you gaze out the window you watch the ground crew finish loading the suitcases preparing for take off.
You close your eyes and take a breath in an attempt to push away the fear. You check off the clothing in your case for the millionth time. The black dress, the white shirt and the multicoloured tent, I mean top, you hide in. You should have shopped for more. What if these choices suck? Deep breaths, as the cabin door closes and you taxi down the runway.
You arrive at Avalon with a feeling of dread. It's a tin shed in the middle of a paddock, oh no, what if she forgets to pick you up? Don't be silly, after you spoke yesterday she said she would be there, is that her grinning at you?
CHAPTER 2 ..
Oh, crap the "before shot" seriously! I hear her saying something about because we are all just girls but my heads screaming noooooooo ..
Ahhh just 1 shot. That wasn't too bad, I'll pretend it never happened. I'm ushered towards the makeup chair and my tummy does a complete flip. I'm at the point where I'll just have to grin and bear it I suppose. Crap this makeup chick is perfect. What am I doing here again? Ok , breathe, breathe, hot flash, Shit, now, really? Ok think of cold water .... it's ok, I don't think she noticed. God my eyes feel like they have just been glued together.
Breathe. Just breathe... The smell of hairspray fills the room and I know this means it's almost time. I move towards the mirror and see a complete stranger looking back at me. I look closer and she's a bit more familiar. Wow, my hair is huge, I hate it, how do I tell them?
What do you mean I'll lose 30% in camera? Your gunna need to lose 90% or I'll look like a drag queen I'm screaming inside my head!! Focusing hard on not crying I take a deep breath and think about all the money I've wasted coming here.
So I sit in front of the camera hating every minute of my life and wanting the ground to open and swallow me up, as I pretend to act cool, and like this is something I do everyday. Annie tells me to stick my chin forward like a turtle, WTF? Now I'm going to look like a drag queen with a neck injury!! I laugh out loud to cover my horror as she tells me to push my face even more!! I want to runnnnn.
I've paid for this?? Surely I've booked the wrong photographer. I've must have called the clown school and not the woman who does all those amazing transformations on Facebook. She looks at the back of the camera and asks someone to move the cardboard forward. Cardboard? Are you serious? Not even a fancy studio light?
My husband is going to kill me.
I stretch myself as tall as I can and push my face forward...she keeps saying no smile & smile with my eyes, what does that even mean!!! Ok, we got through that one and she wants me to change into the multicoloured top, oh good, at least I will feel like me.
She stands me near the door and twists and turns my body for me. This girl’s an idiot, how can this look good?? I don't want to do this anymore, I'm about to scream it and I laugh just to pretend this is funny for her. She twists my head around so far I think it's going to rip off, she pulls me halfway down, I seriously must look like a drunk drag queen holding up a wall.
We go through the no smile, that one I can do! Then work up to a smile ok I laughed just a bit as she pretended to fart.
She says "great job" and gives me a funny look. She moves towards me with a crazy big smile and lifts the back of camera up to my face.
It takes me a second to focus and holy shit that's not me.
The woman on the back of the camera is stunning, she's leaning casually on a wall, she's looking at me and my head goes into panic mode as I try and work out how she switched out the photos of me and is showing me someone else. The room is silent, I push the camera away and laugh saying that's not me. She looks at me, dead in the eye and then back to the picture on the back of the camera. Oh crap, she wants me to look again.
I inhale as I look again, this time looking past the makeup and looking into the woman’s eyes. I see something in those eyes that feels familiar. I see my soul, I see the fear, I see her pain and then I see me.
It's too hard & I push the camera away.. this can't be real, I don't look like that.
Annie just stands there, her eyes looking at me, she’s looking at me like no one else has ever. Her eyes look back to the camera, and she nods just slightly to let me know everything is ok. I am in safe hands and I can now see me.
I can now see the real me, not the makeup or the hair, but me... the girl who hasn't looked at herself for years. Me; the girl who feels like she was behind the door when they handed out great bodies and good looks.
Me, this is me!!!!
My eyes fill with tears and I see me. I am beautiful, I am worthy, I am special I am me!!!
I look at the photographer again, she's all soft & gooey eyed as she's reading my mind and she knows I just found my beautiful. I just found me again and it has nothing to do with my body, my hair or the makeup, it's me. Shit it's really me!!!!
I am beautiful... as the tears spilt from my eyes now all I'm thinking is that I don't want to ruin my makeup now I know I look beautiful. We start to laugh as I give her a hug, I know what all the fuss is about now.. .I really did find my beautiful.
Me! Yes me!!
Ok, so now I'm happy to push my face forward and do these weird poses... if she can make me that beautiful I would walk over hot coals for her right now.
The feeling in the studio has changed, just slightly. Maybe it's just me starting to relax & trust them more. I look in the mirror as I change into my next outfit... how did she do that? As I catch myself smiling brightly, which makes me smile just that little bit more.
The rest of the shoot is just great fun. I would N E V E R have thought I would ever actually enjoy a PHOTOSHOOT !! Go figure. We have a little play in the studio wardrobe and I feel like that child playing dress ups with my best friend. Why do we grow up and become so serious? When did that happen? Who cares, I've found her again, she's still in me after all these years.
After a few more poses and a lot of laughs they call it a wrap. I am standing there not believing this just happened to me!
Back to reality as I start to think about my flight home. Hahaaa will people look at me stupidity with all of this makeup on my face? Oh stuff them I'm beautiful and they will have to deal with it now not me.
We head out for lunch on the way back to the airport. What an amazing day. After years of hiding away and working hard to just blend in, I walk into the Resturant with my head held higher than ever before.
I was...no... I AM that woman I always admired from afar. Something about their self-confidence that makes them so damn beautiful. I caught a glimpse of myself in the salad counter, wowzers! Yep, still beautiful.
I'm dropped off at the airport to be home in time to have dinner with my family.
I walked back into the airport a completely different person on the inside. I found my beautiful and all of a sudden I realized it didn't matter who was or wasn't looking at me. The only thing that really mattered was ME liking ME!!!
Back to my family, Would they see the old me or the new me?
We would soon find out as I paid for the taxi and unlocked the front door.
Since finding my beautiful nothing has changed but yet everything has changed.
Everything just seems easier, lighter, sexier?
Within days there’s a connection happening in the house that feels happier and lighter with everyone; including my husband.
I take the time to listen to my daughter and connect with her on a deeper level when she talks about herself. I think changing the way I see myself has had an impact on my family I never ever anticipated.
My photos are safe in a box and a couple of faves are hanging on the wall. Every day now when I look in the mirror and see the daggy hair and the tired eyes I smile as I know that beautiful side of me is in there, ready to be pulled out whenever I need her. She's smouldering just under the surface and doesn't need to be out everyday, because I know she's within me. I know that I'm prefect just the way I am. Flabby, saggy bits and all. I am me and me is pretty freaking awesome!
Since getting my photos I see my girlfriends differently. I feel sad when I glimpse the self-hate and pain. I see they are just like I was and they look at my photos and say "Yes, but you were beautiful before you went." The reassurances run, but the pain is still here.
You know what you have to do next. Yep, back to the airport to drop off your best friend. You know Annie's going to be there at the other end, and you know she's in great hands.
You know Annie's going to be there at the other end, and you know she's in great hands.
You push her out of the car and laugh. She's in for 1 hell of a day!