After Seeing

July 27th, 2017

Vallejo, CA

It was July 16th. A beautiful Sunday in Downtown, LA. Tahra and I walked into Dante's studio and I realized I left my make-up bag at home. I'll just put on my ruby woo and brush my 26 Malaysian inches out. Should be fine. "No. I want to shoot you, as you are." I didn't even know him like that. Agreed to be his muse for the day because, well, earlier this year when Alex asked me to send her a picture for the Hey, Girl podcast, I was embarrassed that the only pictures I had of myself were in my classroom. It was indicative of my current social life: I never go anywhere anymore. My school year is all about school. Summer? I was so busy writing and reading and publishing Soundless Cries last summer... I hadn't had a real summer break since Cuba. And even then, I hadn't really taken any pictures of myself. So every photo-op that I got this summer was a yes. I don't want to look back on my life and only remember myself as working... I mean, that is my reality. My life is of service but still, I need to live my life enjoyably. So, I took this summer to find myself, outside of being Ms. Clay. I just wanted to be. 

Fast forward to this morning when I looked at the pictures that Dante took, all I could see was the soul beneath my eyes. Haunting really. My spirit didn't speak beauty to me. I looked so uncomfortable with myself. I didn't feel it during the shoot but when I look at myself in all 48 of those frames, all I can see is what it looks like I truly feel inside: empty, not beautiful, without love. 

But in real life, I do feel beautiful. I feel loved. I really do. So why is it that it's not coming through the photos? My eyes, they were so telling. They revealed a truth to me. Maybe I have been avoiding seeing myself in such a raw way. Maybe I saw but ignored it... whatever the case, there was no way to hide from myself after seeing those. No way. 

I talked to Dante about it and he said when I was talking about my classroom and my work, I was glowing and vibrant. But as soon as he turned on the camera, "I cowered." I finished his sentence. But why? It couldn't have been the make-up. Couldn't have been the clothes. I don't usually care about any of those things. I am comfortable with my skin. What is inside of me that doesn't feel good enough to shine on the outside? Am I only alive when I am working? Have I lost the ability to be free? 

This is spiritual to me, on many levels. I don't expect myself to get the answer right away. But I am aware of it now and I will work toward understanding it more and more as I journey each day. I want to look as good as I feel and feel good as I look good, too. 

It's not about not having pretty pictures, it's about the energy. It is about my true self. Not my work-self, service-self, Ms. Clay-self. It is about my true self. I have to tend to my true light.