This is me, age 7. Fearless, jump from the highest step, climb the biggest tree, scraped knees, no one messes with me, 7 year old me.
I’m not exactly sure when it happened, but looking back I can understand why. Why this wide eyed hopeful, full of spirit and guts kid all of a sudden was afraid of everything. I suppose it was because the steps I used to jump from also led to the house where I never quite felt good enough. My accomplishments seemed insignificant and my dreams were dismissed. It happened when suddenly my changing body brought attention that was neither asked for nor wanted and left me feeling ashamed and small.
I was a lucky one, because although these things had held me back, making me doubt myself, finding myself in situations where I was influenced too easily in an attempt to find the acceptance I was so desperately seeking, my spirit never completely died. I was a lucky one because a handful of special people in my life recognized my thoughts and dreams and validated my ideas, and believed in me, so my hope stayed alive.
Not all girls are so lucky. Some will have their spirit and hope ripped from them at an early age, never to realize their full potential. Others it will happen later in life, maybe when they’ve reached an age where their bodies begin to change again and their value and self worth is dismissed now by a society and its demands on being young and perfect. A society that demands you look and act a specific way all at an attempt to fit into an impossible mold. They may never have the people in their life that took the time to notice, or they may not have the spirit and hope left to celebrate their 7 year old self.
I notice. I notice it in the eyes of every woman and girl I meet. I notice it in the lines that have formed around their mouths, or how high they hold their head. This is what I wish to express in my portraits. The strength, courage and tenacity in every woman.
Because everyday a girl or woman is left unnoticed, is a day too long.
Don’t miss the Girl Notice Launch party on Dec. 10th at Gallery 2014! https://www.facebook.com/events/745010892214844/