Beautiful. Vibrant. Sexy. Stylish. Chic. Fit.
That's what I see. But you wouldn't know just by looking at the photo that this woman is also a wife, mother of four kids, a registered nurse, a criminologist and she holds two masters degrees. AND she is a breast cancer survivor. She's had two mastectomies, a hysterectomy and has a scar-ridden body underneath that dress.
Don't believe me? Just look at her without the Red Dress.
***Please be advised the photos below are very descriptive
and may offend some people. They are not appropriate for all ages. Scroll down to view.***
Some may argue, but I answer with a resounding YES! Yes, she is all of that and so much more. To me this woman represents beauty, vulnerability and authenticity at its finest. I see courage. I see pain. I see struggle. I see love when I look at these photos.
Who is this woman?
Her name is Beth Whaanga. She's from Australia and she took off her Red Dress in order to raise awareness about cancer. Her friend, Nadia Masot joined with her in this effort. As a photographer, Nadia's goal is to "share imagery with more meaning and purpose" and this was the perfect opportunity to do just that.
Together Beth and Nadia launched a project, "Under the Red Dress" to share "others' journey through cancer." To me, they are redefining beauty. In my book, Beth deserves a cover photo on Cosmo, Vogue and Elle. She's real. She's beautiful. She represents humanity at its weakest yet strongest.
In reading about Nadia, I realize we all have our own Red Dress--cancer survivor or not, you have a Red Dress. We put on this Red Dress daily--this is the image that we strut around for all to see. Others look at us and think we "have it all together" but what they don't see are the scars underneath our Red Dress. They don't see the brokenness. The struggle. The heartache. The pain. "If only they knew," we think.
Friends, it's time to take off your Red Dress. It's time to stop projecting an image for what you want everyone to think about you. It's time for you to start being real with yourself and those around you. Be fully YOU. Be fully alive. You are the most beautiful when you are the most vulnerable.
So what's your Red Dress? Do you have the courage, strength and humility to take it off? And whether you do or don't, I hope you'll think twice before judging someone based on their outward appearance for you do not know what is underneath their Red Dress.