Joy came to hear about this project through my oldest daughter. They work together and my daughter always talks about Joy – how awesome she is and how much good energy she brings every day to work. I was excited to meet Joy finally and was grateful she volunteered for this project.

Joy wanted to document the stage she was in at this very moment in her life. She is happy to be 47, almost 48! She is passionate about who she is, what she believes in and where she is going. She thinks it is important to show our daughters, friends, and mothers the beauty that we all possess. She has a hard time identifying with women that talk about their physical beauty, weight, or aging. But she supports all women in they way they feel most comfortable in life. She embraces all parts of herself and can celebrate them. She has stopped dying her hair and worrying about the gray that comes in, she just embraces her natural look.

Her appreciation of beauty comes from her journey through life. She deals with health issues and her primary focus is on getting through the day, not on how her makeup looks or if her shirt fits just right. She is able to shift her priorities to things that are most important to her – energy, a positive mindset and feeling healthy. Dealing with a chronic illness has taught her how to reframe her thoughts about beauty. She describes beauty as being able to see the sun, looking at flowers, spending time with people you love. A good day for Joy is a day filled with sunshine. That is beauty to her. She can’t spend her day focused on what others think about her because she is just focused on her ability to enjoy that day.

Joy feels beautiful when she has accomplished something at work or at home. She celebrates the small victories because that may be the victory for that day. She has a physical job and recently took a step down to help her health. She has found that she is able to rest more and that has helped her in the healing process. She loves to interact with the customers and her peers now that her job has changed. It makes her happy to be at work!

When I asked Joy how she appreciates beauty in others the first thing she thought of was attractiveness. What is attractive to her? Confidence. When she sees a woman who is so concerned with makeup and looks, she is less attracted to that. But she can appreciate those women too because that is their truth. She used to be that way but has evolved out of that thought process. She loves to help women with their diet and health questions because she has researched so much on her own health, that customers search her out! She can sense and feel empathy for those that seek her out because she can them struggle. She tries to help them understand what they already have and to appreciate it. Beauty is in everyone, they just have a hard time seeing it sometimes. Their inner tape tells them they don’t have worth, and Joy tries to tell them they do have worth. Joy is very passionate and wants to tell people “Love who you are at this moment!”

Joy was on her way to see her mom that day after our session. She talked about her mom with such love it was amazing! Joy doesn’t think her mom sees herself as beautiful but Joy sees her as beautiful because of the love her mom has for her. Through her love, Joy can feel and see the beauty her mom possesses. She sees her mom much differently than she did when she was in her 20’s. She seeks out her mom’s company and loves to be around her. Watching Joy speak about her mother is when I started to really see Joy’s beauty come through. It was an eye opener that I could identify the moment when I saw Joy for who she is.

Joy is full of wisdom and love. You can see it and you could feel it. She thinks it is important to enjoy having pleasure in life. Seek it out, relish it, and own your story. Be alive, appreciate today, and love.


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