I don’t want to show you this photo.
It’s the most confronting one for me to look at from a recent shoot I did at sunset on one of Bali’s black sand beaches.
I worked with a particular photographer for this shoot because of her skill in evoking and capturing what we often don’t see. My brief to her was clear: I wanted raw, primal and dark. The feminine archetypes that, for most of us, are hidden in the shadows. I wanted to let them loose in myself, on a public surf beach, and reveal them to you.
And – I also don’t want to show you.
Because we don’t see photos of women like this so often.
We’re used to seeing nice, smiling, friendly and pleasant (and our beauty norms tend to be more white than black – big respect to Kelly Diels for calling it out with intelligence and heart) . We’re used to seeing sexy (or the version we’ve been told and sold of what sexy is). We’re definitely getting used to seeing women who aren’t the snack but the whole damn meal (deep respect to Lizzo, Taryn Brumfitt at Body Image Movement, and every other woman who’s loving their body and encouraging us to embrace our own). We’re starting to get more used to seeing women - and men - who don’t fit the so-called norms around sexuality.
But what about the snarly bitch? The destroyer? The hag? The wild woman? The one with claws she’ll use to protect her young and her truth? The one whose stare could either freeze or crush you? The rager. The predator. The whore. The one who squats and bleeds and offers her fluids back to the earth. The one who is untamed, selfish, lustful, manipulative and makes no sense at all. The one who’s fierce and as fiery as fuck. Yeah, that one.
When you see her, or she rises within you begging for expression, do you welcome and revere her? Or do you shame her?
Do you try to put her back in her cage by telling her she’s inappropriate and unacceptable and might upset someone?
Do you tell her she’s crazy, blame your hormones, or simply say there’s something wrong with her?
And if you witness her in someone else, how do you respond to her? Do you judge her?
I am all of the aspects of the feminine I mentioned above. And I’m not used to seeing myself this way – not publicly.
But I’m on a mission to get used to it. I want you to get used to it too and, if you dare, in the name of your power and truth - to meet and come to know and love these parts of yourself too.
I long to own it all, dark and light. All my power, all my truth. Because I know that that’s where the gold is: more aliveness, freedom, energy, inspiration, radiance… pleasure and joy too. Yes please, I’ll take it.
Let's make the dark the norm too.
Tricia Karp is a sacred femininity teacher. She stands for our pain, silence, rage and disconnection… and our beauty, authenticity, sensuality, truth and pleasure as the path home. Tricia offers private coaching programs and retreats for women in Bali, where she lives with her teenage daughter.