Warning: The Following Contains Nudity

Now that I have your attention, that’s actually not true. Nudity is anything but contained here.

Here’s a sneak peek of a little project I’m working on- an exposé if you will.

 * Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13


If you would have told me a year ago that a Boudoir photoshoot would be in my future, I would have launched into all the reasons why that would never happen. Actually, no, I would have asked you what a Boudoir photoshoot was. I honestly had no idea. 

I think the only way I would have considered it is if I was dating someone who wanted me to. Because really, why else would anyone want to share nude photos of themselves unless out of a desperate need for attention or vanity?

So clearly there’s been a dramatic shift in my perspective. There’s no boyfriend in the picture (literally and figuratively). And yes, I did it for attention, but more to be heard than seen. Because whether we like it or want to admit it, sometimes we have to be seen to be heard.

As far as vanity goes, that’s precisely why we’re here- to dismantle the assumption that our desire to exhibit our bodies comes from excessive pride or need or validation, versus a celebratory expression of our sexuality. More importantly, we need to sever the inextricable ties that still exist between our sexuality and shame.

* Note: I define sexuality as the array of characteristics our gender embodies, including, but not limited to, our sensuality, intellect, courage, empathy, resilience, creativity, intuition, and yes, our power.

This all started as a revelation I had while working on a women’s empowerment project. I would have previously thought this to be a contradiction- how can women be empowered when they are presenting themselves as sexual objects?

But I thought about what the word empowered means. To empower someone is to help them gain strength and confidence by reclaiming their rights and taking control of their lives.

So how are we objectifying ourselves if we decide, on our own volition, to honor the physical form we were born in? No, we are not our bodies. But our bodies are essential for becoming who we are. We can’t exactly work to expand our minds, cultivate our talents, find ways to challenge ourselves and overcome physical and mental hurdles if our heart stops beating.

But I don’t think anyone is arguing against honoring our bodies. It’s just when we choose to do so by showing our bodies that the celebration becomes problematic.

I realize this isn’t a new phenomenon. We have been enduring, resisting, and rejecting rules and restrictions imposed on our bodies for centuries. But even when the “collective we” acknowledge how antiquated this obsession with covering our bodies is, women are still being judged and shamed when they reveal “too much.” And let’s be honest, the majority of those doing the shaming is women.

So I ask you to ask yourself: if looking at these photos makes you uncomfortable, ashamed, or embarrassed, whether for me or just in general, why is that? Where does that come from?

I had to ask myself this question to realize that it was my shame about my sexuality that made me scrutinize the motivation of women posing or dressing in a “provocative” manner. It was my shit, not theirs.

Until relatively recently, my body was always a source of shame. I was either too provocative or too prudish. If I was too thin, I was competition. If I wasn’t “thin enough,” I was undesirable, and not just physically, but in every capacity. 

These beliefs were so entrenched at such an early age, the battle against my body started before I even hit puberty. When my body did start to change, it became an all-out war, and there was no escaping. I was attacked at home, at school, and by all the same messages every girl receives from the media and society as a whole.

This belief that my body defined me and how I used and expressed it was shameful– no matter what I did or didn’t do– destroyed my confidence, thwarted my potential, and obliterated my power.

It has taken me over three decades to realize that my sexuality was not my enemy, is not my enemy. It is, in fact, an untapped source of power.

So this is my declaration, for all of us to reclaim our power. Anyone who has been shamed, judged, humiliated, exploited or abused, we deserve to express ourselves fully, unabashedly, knowing we are invaluable, inside and out, and perfectly flawed.

We are all works of art- rich with texture, radiant colors, and an irresistible shape, all perfectly orchestrated to reveal the complexity of our minds and the depth of our spirits.

It’s time to own it.

No more hiding. No more self-loathing, playing small or resigning ourselves to saran wrap and spanks. It’s simply time to embrace our bodies- every curve, fold, and imperfection- be bold with our desire, demand pleasure as our inherent right, and stand our ground until it’s understood: SHE COME FIRST!!! (Men, for the love of women, PLEASE read this book!!!)

And we must eradicate the deeply entrenched belief that we can’t be smart and sexy, that we have to repress one to be the other. F*ck that.


Denny’s Magic

Initially, I was set on hiring a female photographer. But when I saw Denny Fenbers’ work, I was all in. His photos are works of art, which is exactly how he made me feel- like a muse inspiring creative expression, not an object being exploited by someone’s gaze.

There is something transformative that happens when we are completely exposed and liberated from the power we give our reflection. I was no longer reduced to my imperfections. I was the essence of the bold, playful, uninhibited girl I lost when I let my scars define me. And she felt stunning, almost ethereal, teasing the light and dancing with the shadows that shaped my silhouette.

It was a magical experience that can’t be stripped down to nudity or vanity. It was a chance to celebrate the qualities that make me beautiful that have nothing to do with my body- which I personally think is the least intriguing thing about me.

I’ll leave it at that for now and linger in the memory of my experience, mainly to distract myself from the sheer terror of releasing these photos into the ethers…

 Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?
 – Maya Angelou

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Boudoir.Woman.Up.

Boudour.back.Revised

Burying the Dead

Just not this year

I didn’t think it would happen this year. Not that I thought I wouldn’t think about it, I just hoped it would come and go before I realized it.

But then the Christmas lights went up, and the ghosts came down.

And there I was- standing in the middle of the store, trapped between boxes of stuffing and cans of cranberry sauce that towered over displays of pumpkin pie- sinking to my knees, watching them die…one by one by one.

But we weren’t going to do this again, remember? That was the deal. I just had to make it through one more Thanksgiving and one more Christmas, and then next year would be happy. This year would be happy.

But it was too late. The countdown had begun, your ghosts unleashed, and we were going straight to hell…

Back to the accident.

But this year, it’s more than just the memory of it. It’s now morphed into this fucked up source of shame. I mean, honestly, it’s been three years, and they’re dead, and I’m not. It’s time to move on.

And then shame turns to guilt. Because what kind of person could just dismiss it and move on? And then comes rage, because I keep ending up in this horrible place. And I don’t want to write about it anymore.

But every night, they find their way in, under the covers and into my head, seizing my thoughts, ravaging my sleep, demanding words in exchange for peace.

And the hope, maybe next year, they’ll let me bury the dead.

It’s always the same scene that haunts me. But, it’s not of the accident. It’s a memory I’ve never had, in a place I’ve never seen.

I have no idea what his house looked like or how big his family was, or if he even celebrated Thanksgiving. But that’s where I go, to his living room- his family seated around a long table, lined with white porcelain plates, matching bowls and platters, all strategically placed around an elegant flower arrangement, candles on either side.

A younger version of him, maybe his little brother, strains to grab the bowl of stuffing his mom is passing to him, both reaching across the empty space between them, the one she always sets, where he no longer sits.

The Persistence of Time

Dalí’s clocks came to mind,
As I studied you from the side.
The way your head tilted back,
Pouring down your spine.

On my knees, shivering
Staring at my phone,
Pulling up blades of grass,
One by one by one.

The silence, deafening,
Now drenched in blood,
No one was going to call,
No one was going to come.

Could you taste it, the smell:
Charred rubber and gas?
Could you feel it, the injustice…

I was holding my breath, while you were taking your last.

 

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The same place she always sits, that’s always set,- scene isn’t any less tragic. have been all the trees piling up ont or  feeling in my sto

Echoes of Paris

I pushed through the splintered door- weathered from centuries of rain and neglect, that never seem to relent. The smell of Frankincense and Myrrh lingered, cutting through the damp chill and deafening silence echoing across the room…

The day, beginning its end,
Poured through the stained glass.
Drowning out images of sin,
And my redemption.

Flooding the room with gold,
Holding the shadows at bay.
Forcing my eyes to close.
And your resurrection.

paris.girl.                                             
                                                   * Painting by Emanuel M. Ologeanu
                                                         

 

* Painting by Emanuel M. Ologeanu

 

 

 

 

 

Cream or Sugar

Maybe in another lifetime,
Our fates liberated from the confines of continents,
The injustice of timing,
The pre-existence of her and him.

Maybe then… you’d know.
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Naked Guise: Poetry Undefined

We need to talk.

I don’t think this is working. It’s, I just, the timing is bad. We’re both in different places…

But I swear, it’s not you, it’s me.

Okay, I, for one, don’t need to hear that conversation again…ever.

So instead of torturing you with a dramatic exit (when you know I’m just going to come back when I start to miss you), let’s try this.

This isn’t goodbye. We’re just going on a little excursion, an adventure of sorts…and you know how I love an adventure.

It’s not as mysterious as it seems (probably less so for you, than me). And, they say there might be magic to find, summoned by a girl...hiding behind a naked guise.

If you need time to think about it, I understand. But when you’re ready, I’ll be waiting here, where Poetry’s Undefined.

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Have to say, this is really f*cking good. (Published in Voyage Denver Magazine)

I think we have a tendency to blame the demise of our society on social media. I get it, the constant stream of everyone’s “all things good” can make us feel like we’re failing miserably at the whole life thing.

But, there are some legitimate positives- getting to see snippets of our friends and families all over the world, for example. It can also be a gateway to connect with people and opportunities we wouldn’t otherwise have access to, ones that can change our lives for the better.

Here is one such connection:

Voyage Denver Magazine is featuring a series, The Trailblazers: Rewriting the Narrative, “…to highlight and celebrate female role models, encourage more equal and just representation in the media, and help foster a more tight-knit community locally helping women find mentors, business partners, friends and more.”

Long/short, they saw this photo I posted on Instagram and wanted to share it on their site.  They followed up with an invitation to do an interview for the series.

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Photo by Jenna Sparks

My first reaction: Ummm, are you sure about that? But I knew the focus was on empowering women, and god knows, I have a substantial amount of knowledge on what NOT to do. And, I have acquired a fair amount of insight along the way.

So even if just one woman is inspired to rise up and “…take the world by the lapels,” (to quote Maya, the ultimate role model) then I did what I set out to do.

So thank you, Voyage Denver, for inviting me to share my hard-earned lessons-learned.

And I have to say,  I read it and thought, damn girl, that’s really fucking good. ;o)

http://voyagedenver.com/interview/life-work-brooke-breazeale/

Voyage.Denver.Image.Basic

 

 

Fall Reminds Me that Everything Can Come Back to Life (Thought Catalog)

The previous post, Redemption, was inspired by a writing competition I entered for Thought Catalog. I wasn’t expecting it to be published so soon.

So although not a ton of variety this week, here is a slightly altered version of my experience of Fall…this year, anyway.

Fall Reminds Me That Everything Can Come Back To Life

 

The Heartbreaking Truth (Thought Catalog) 

Here is the latest published version of my article that people either love or hate…or maybe a little of both.

The Heartbreaking Truth Behind What It Really Means To Hate Someone You Used To Love.

Living with a Shattered Heart (Thought Catalog)

 

A little ‘light-hearted’ reading to start your weekend. Okay, it’s not light-hearted, but it might have something to do with that general area.

Hope it at least makes you feel…

Living With a Shattered Heart

You Can’t Love Me if You’re Afraid of the Dark (Elephant Journal)

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A bit more darkness to spread on your Friday afternoon, but from a different angle. Apparently Dark is the new Black. 🙂 (Don’t worry, it’s not as scary as it seems.)

Stay tuned…something pretty fucking cool is happening on Monday. Maybe something to do with the Washington Post. 🙂

You Can’t Love Me if You’re Afraid of the Dark

https://www.elephantjournal.com/2017/06/you-cant-love-me-if-youre-afraid-of-the-dark/

This is the my first article published in Elephant Journal…excited to be a part of the community!

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Please check out my social enterprise, Briya, and help us empower women and children with education and economic advancement opportunities across the globe.

Briya produces fashionable bags and accessories that allow adventurous spirits and dedicated change-makers to travel in style while helping women and children to reach their full potential in underprivileged regions around the world.

www.briyabags.com

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