The Embodiment Series: 1
Written by Avilda Whittmore
Painted, Photographed & Modeled by Avilda Whittmore
In India, the turtle is said to carry the world on its back, holding up the earth and sea.
In Native American culture, the turtle is the oldest symbol used to represent earth.
In African folklore, the turtle is the most clever animal.
In Chinese culture, symbols of turtles were used in burials to symbolize longevity.
Across many cultures, the turtle is symbolic of Heaven and Earth, wisdom, protection, and longevity.
The beauty of a photograph is that we can hold on to a single moment, regardless of space and time, despite the fact that we are constantly shifting between states. Nothing lasts forever. This Embodiment Series serves as a reminder of who I am and how far I've come, especially during the challenging times when I feel like I'm not "her". It's a goal post for the kind of woman I strive to be everyday. It is a reminder of a state that I've experienced, and when I look at it, I can return to that place, internally. I call it muscle memory for the soul ;)
I painted myself at home, in my room, which is my safe space, and felt incredibly liberated. I had not one care in the world about my stretch marks —partly, a reminder of my two beautiful girls— let alone any other imperfections. I simply got to be, and embrace all of me. Nature is often my inspiration, and I especially love being called to paint a specific thing, then later looking up its meaning. It always has some relevance to something I'm dealing with or overcoming in my life, and that makes the experience that much more invaluable to me.
When I started my entrepreneurial journey as a face painter about 10 years ago, what I appreciated most about it was that I could perform, be seen, and be heard, without speaking much — I was very timid and dealt with anxiety around people. I still do, but to a far lesser degree. I learned that timid people are actually very insecure with low self-esteem...more on that in another Embodiment Series post, but I've expanded beyond my comfort zone in many ways since then, and I've grown exponentially as a result.
Although I've grown in the ways that I am able to connect with people, I am still a woman of few words and rely on action, especially through my art, to illustrate who I am, how I feel, what I need, what I want, and what I value. It would suffice to say that the upcoming posts in my Embodiment Series likely won't be laced with words, however, I am communicating with you and I'm genuinely interested in how these pieces of me affect you.
Not only do I enjoy painting and photographing myself, but I enjoy creating experiences like this for others. If you are in need of some BodyHeArt therapy, or simply want to celebrate, connect with, or remember a special moment in your life, reach out to me and we can discuss how I can help. Thank you for sharing this space with me. Sending peace and love. Namaste.
Avilda is a native Brooklynite, living in Delaware with the spirit of a creative, nomad, nurturer, thinker and visionary. She loves to travel, joke around with her 2 daughters, and best of all, transform people, including herself, into human canvases to create beautiful masterpieces. This budding yogi loves connection as an expression of love, and enjoys writing about her journeys through self-exploration.