A crayon, a piece of paper and a love note

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If you only had one piece of paper and a crayon, would you write a love note to someone? I would! But I'd also feel overwhelmed by the many people who'd deserve to have it.

Mom, Dad, my husband, my best friend my sister...

But then I'd think, "Am I forgetting anyone?" And the answer would be yes...myself.

I talk a lot about portraiture as a love poem to the self and there's a good reason for it. You see portraiture is an investment that we make when we're ready to come out to the world and say, "This is me. I'm proud. I'm alive. I write my own story."

I think back to the time when I was coming out, how alone I felt, how afraid I was of the identity I had been suppressing because it was new, it meant that I couldn't hide...I'd have to become visible.

But images helped me through it. They showed me how happy I looked being myself, how ready I was to shed all of that fear and uncertainty.

They helped me embrace myself for who I was, not who I thought others expected me to be.

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There are 101 reasons we all make to avoid being in front of the camera, but they come with a heavy reality. There's a fundamental truth we have to accept for each of them, because every one of those reasons is a reason why we're not fully loving ourselves. They signify a fear or block that is holding us back.

I truly believe that we cannot go forward in our jobs, our relationships or our goals in life without fully embracing who we are. Uncertainty, fear, mistrust, anger...all of those things come into our hearts when we leave the space designated for self love vacant.

So today, rainy as it is, I invite you to spend an hour and write a poem, list or story...

Write all the ways that you love yourself. Give Shakespeare a run for his money! Then keep it in your purse or wallet. Never be apart from the love you deserve because it starts with you.