About a year ago I made the promise to you to a do a shoot that represented a call to action.
It represented a movement.
When I came up with the idea I, of course, was nervous. How would people receive this? Would I be ridiculed? Talked down upon? Picked apart? But, you see, it was those types of thoughts that ignited the fire. I felt a responsibility to open up the floor for conversation and to shed light on the age-old topic of body image.
For decades, we as women have been told what our ideal image is; what we should wear, how to wear our hair, what body type is the most beautiful. For decades it has been drilled into us to try to become anything but what we were already given.
Well, I wanted to change the conversation.
With the rise of female bodybuilders, Olympic lifters, crossfitters, runners, etc., I feel we are finally taking that back. We are rising up and saying, “Hey, this is me. Flaws and all I am strong and beautiful and I embrace that despite your ridicule and your harsh opinion. I am who I am, and I love her.”
This photoshoot is a manifestation of that mindset. I love the girl I see in the mirror, fully bulked and stronger than I have ever been. I felt it was important to put that message out there. I mean, isn’t that the beauty of the female body anyway? The way we can change, mold and recreate ourselves? We are literally the bearers of life itself; there is nothing we cannot do. We are so much stronger than we think.
Being shredded does not make you better or worse than the girl standing next to you. We all have different goals and we hear the ridicule enough from the outside. So next time you see a girl working hard in the gym or see her struggling to reach her goals, whatever they may be, uplift her. Motivate her. Show her that we are in this together and that there is nothing more powerful than women encouraging each other.
You are not the accumulation of your flaws. Who you are now is the representation of every lesson, every happiness, every hardship and every uphill battle you have faced and come out stronger for. You are everything worth having and more. You matter, you contribute and your voice is important. So be loud. Love the skin you are in. We get one body.
All photos taken by Mark Castenada @shortyboyy_
Check out the behind-the-scenes footage of the shoot below.