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Reasons I (Almost) Didn't Post These Photos - Part 1

Instagram today is a business unlike what any of us probably imagined during the time it was just a place for fun and filters.

Part of my goal now that I've quit my job and started traveling is to leverage the modern Instagram influencer market to build a career as a model. ...and that means making a habit out of looking my best and posting to my feed.

Earlier this week, I did my makeup and picked out a swimsuit for some sunset photos on the beach:

At first, I was *so* excited about how they turned out. I mean, right?! They're amazing!

But it didn't take long for me to start feeling insecure about sharing them with the public, largely in part due to my hair.

In these pictures, I'm wearing only my second ever set of braids. (I got my first set only a month or two before this for a destination wedding!) I found a braider in Costa Rica whom I thought would be a good choice, but after ten hours getting styled and only two and a half weeks of wear, they started looking messy. Multiple people - including some I didn't know - had approached me to say they looked bad, and I started feeling more and more self-conscious every day.

When I saw these pictures, my eye went straight to the new-growth at my roots. How fuzzy it looked. How unnatural it seemed. I started feeling like I should keep the pictures for myself instead of opening myself up for more commentary. My relationship with my hair is already very delicate, and it seemed better to hide than to create a moment of vulnerability.

After all, that's not all people might say. Even if they didn't notice the hair, what would they say about my body? Between the rolls in my stomach and the lack of curves by my hips and chest, I felt too heavy to be the Jourdan Dunn and too light to be the big booty Judy.

I sent the pictures to friends who helped me feel a bit more supported, but I also realized there was something within myself that I had to acknowledge in order to post with complete confidence: my agency.

Bottom line, I like these pictures!! It was up to me to assign value to my insecurities. I was the one deciding whether my natural hair and natural body were good or bad, attractive or unattractive, worthy or unworthy. Because, yes, social standards exist, but by measuring myself against them I completely erase my independence individuality. I owed it to myself, and to my community, to be authentic. To love myself in the present time and to respect myself enough to do what the fuck I wanted to do: POST!

I share this to shed light on the normalcy of occasional self-doubt. Many people are surprised when I tell them I have these kinds of feelings, but what makes me as confident as I am is not the absence of insecurity, but rather thriving in spite. And guess what? In less than 24 hours, this post has already surpassed several others on my page to become the one with the third-most reach.

This is your sign to give yourself the freedom to take a step towards your goals! Take that first step, then take the next one. The only thing stopping you from your potential is you!

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