Recently a friend of mine offered to take some photos of me. Going in I was honestly so nervous. No one has taken photos of me since I lost some of my hair and decided to shave my head. This seems irrational as I sit here in public writing this post, but the socially constructed phobia of hair loss is always lingering in the back of my mind even when I love being bald. And while I’ve never been one to worry much about my physical appearance the off-handed comments or lingering looks (okay, gawking stares) that I so often receive from others are enough to knock my confidence down a few ranks. Don’t get me wrong, I love my little fuzzy head, but every now and then I find myself yearning for the protective blanket of hair I used to obsess over. However, that’s all it is: a blanket. A place to hide, to blend in, and above all remain comfortable. That’s not really the kind of life I want to live, ever.
So although I was nervous as hell and a bit self-conscious, I asked Olivia to take my photos. The thing about Olivia is that she is such a comforting soul to encounter. I mean you can literally feel the love for life and for Christ and for you flowing out of her and wrapping you up in some kind of metaphorical blanket; the only kind of comfort I’d ever want to be swaddled in. While our encounter was brief, a mere 20 minute shoot, she managed to make me feel so beautiful and so loved in that time. I guess I really don’t know how to accurately express the way this small favor made me feel, but I want to say I felt… feel empowered. Because I am sitting here in a coffee shop as I look at these photos and I can’t help but smile at the strong girl I see. The girl who has been through hell and back and still managed to press on, find hope, and spread light and love in the midst of a rather dark situation. I want to thank Olivia a million times over because now I get to gawk and proudly say that strong, brave girl is me.
P.S. You guys should definitely check out Olivia’s amazing photography work on Instagram @oliviastrohmphotography or on Facebook @ Olivia Strohm Photography.