Hello… it’s me, Mell Bell. I wanted to share a little story behind this self portrait. I took this back in 2020 on my birthday, and I loved how the stylist, Sarah Pearson, did my hair and makeup. I liked the lighting and moody feel, BUT… but… but….
I wanna talk about feelings… how was I feeling in my mind and my body. To sum it up, I was unsure and was trying to hide my body. I was trying to make myself smaller. I wanted to feel comfortable and confident, but I was so concerned with the lighting and the posing… BUT mostly, I was trying to hide of my body. I felt ashamed of the size of my stomach and my chest. I was sweating because self portraits are HARD to do too! I felt gross. I was struggling with feeling ok in my body exactly as it was.
I didn’t want to listen to my body, and I just wanted the image I created to show my dear clients that I understand the intimidating factors of getting photographed. I’m showing my worries in my clenched hand and tight lips. I didn’t care as much about my cellulite on my leg because hello heredity ?!?
So why? There’s always something much deeper under the surface as to the why behind the discomfort. This image was taken:
Shortly before I was finally diagnosed with ADHD after living my whole life with it, but not understanding a huge part of myself.
Almost 1 year after my last child was born. I was struggling with PMDD and only having about 10 days out of every month where I felt mostly ok and not like I had a the flu.
A few months into the COVID-19 pandemic, and I was trying to figure out how to still work and support my family.
A few months after the government mandated shutdowns, school closings, and moving to online school
And those are just the recent BIG things. My being raised in certain types of churches/belief systems, added even more layers of guilt and shame of just existing in my body. Add to that losing one parent when I was 13. Add to that growing up with a verbally and emotionally abusive parent. Add to that not understanding why my eating habits were disordered. And just keep adding…
Each person is complicated, and I think we all long for a space where we can feel safe, loved, appreciated, and that we’re not broken. Life is messy, and we can still grow and learn. Below is a self portrait I took on my phone right after I wrote this blog. My goal was to show joy, comfort, and of course some messiness.
“People Have All Kinds Of Sides To Them, Mei, And Some Sides Are Messy. The Point Isn’t To Push The Bad Stuff Away, It’s To Make Room For It, Live With It.” Jin Lee from the movie Turning Red
I’ll add to learn and grow too. Until next time friends, may you know that you are loved and lovable.