Recently I was asked what is my favorite part of being the editor of The Lady Project Blog. I like giving women a forum to use their voice and speak their truth. To me, The Lady Project is special because we ask women to show up as they are and we celebrate their voices as they are. From the recent college graduate trying to find her way to the woman in her 30s who just quit her job to make her side hustle her full-time career to the woman in her 60s who is retiring and is starting a new chapter of her life and wants to make new friends. We all have a story to share and they are all worth listening to.
Sometimes when I get submissions, I get a follow-up message saying that they were happy I posted their article and they’re happy I liked it. Thankfully I have yet to get a submission that I don’t like but honestly, it doesn’t matter if I like it or not. This is their story. This is their journey. And I will give them that platform to share it and express themselves.
Even though I am a photographer, I still struggle with expressing myself through art. From what I have been told, I am extremely good at expressing other people through my photography. I’ve been told that my portraits of people feel alive, that their personalities exude from the photo. Other people are better expressing my photography than I am. It’s almost hard to listen to. Not that I don’t like listening to compliments. I love compliments. But don’t ask me to repeat any of them about my work. I can’t remember them. It feels like there is a block in my brain that is preventing me remembering. I can tell you what you said three years ago word for word but I can’t remember a compliment I got about my work that was said to me last night. Maybe somewhere in me, I don’t think of my photography as a form of self-expression and more of a job.
I express myself best through teaching, activism, and advocating for others. There was a time when I didn’t know my worth and felt like my voice didn’t matter. Now I know my voice carries and people are listening. I have a way with words. I am by no means a great writer or public speaker but I know how to get people to listen and to act. That brings me the most joy. That makes me feel my expressing myself is inspiring others to do the same.
Self-expression for women is vital for our mental health. Be it through art, dance, writing, personal style, or whatever speaks to you. Let’s be honest. We can bottle in our emotions for the benefit of someone else. That’s not going to fly any longer. Get it out. Follow along this month to see how Lady Project members express themselves. I'll leave you with Madonna’s Express Yourself because why not? Have a dance party at your desk.