2023 Bold Beautiful Perfect: Charlotte
“I find beauty in bedhead, flaws, blemishes, and crooked smiles. I do not need the perfect pose or every hair in perfect place to be beautiful.“
Today we are honored to share this beautiful essay by our Bold Beautiful and Perfect, Charlotte!
In 15 days from this writing, I will be a senior citizen and I have never felt better. I am a winner, a sinner, a deacon, a blogger, an activist, a sister, a daughter, a Director of Public Relations, a niece, a pseudo mother, a best friend, a poll supervisor, a cousin, a foster parent, a Boutique owner, a world traveler, a Dallas Cowboys football fan, a survivor, a helper, a volunteer, a Ceraunophile, a Vice President of the Mississippi Gulf Coast Blues and Heritage Commission a CEO and an owner of a nonprofit. I have always gone against the grain, going left when everyone else went right.
Visions that can change the world trapped inside an ordinary girl. She looks just like me. Never afraid to dream out loud; though my great ideas didn’t make sense to everybody. I needed courage if I was going to persevere. Every victory comes in time. Work today to change tomorrow. Others said that I couldn’t fly, but to fulfill my life’s purpose I had to answer when I was called.
Life placed several stumbling blocks in my way. Date rape, sexual assault, humiliation, massive loss. My innocence was completely shattered, my confidence, spirit, and dreams destroyed. The pain and darkness of betrayal. I struggled to understand why someone who was suppose to love and protect me could do something like this.
How could this happen to me? Why did this happen to me? What did I do to deserve this? I questioned God. I yelled at him and I blamed him for what happened. Am I crazy because I don’t want to live like this anymore? I made a plan to commit suicide.
But something deep inside wouldn’t let me give up. One night, I found myself lying flat on the floor (I think I fainted from all the crying and depression). I looked up to God who holds the pieces to complete the puzzle. I needed the answer that could solve the mystery. God said, “The key that can unlock your understanding is inside of you. You have everything you need. Keep the dream alive; don’t let it die.” That is when I realized I was fearless. And eventually, I found my way.
One day, my church called and asked me to be a Deacon. I said, “No, no, not me. You have no idea who I am.” They said, “That is exactly why we want you.”
How did you come to understand your inner beauty?
Even as a little girl, people have been drawn to my inner light. My discernment has always allowed me to see beyond aesthetics. I could see the heart of folks and I know they could see the heart of me. I am such a girl! My femininity played a major part in me seeing my inner beauty. It’s my individuality, my mindset, my empathy, my consideration of others and my adaptability. It drives my friends crazy that I can post pictures without cropping and editing them. I find beauty in bedhead, flaws, blemishes, and crooked smiles. I do not need the perfect pose or the hairs in perfect place to be beautiful. My inner beauty comes from God in me. I came to understand it by looking beyond and by listening and believing others. I believe them when they say my humor is beautiful, my voice is beautiful, or my mind is beautiful.
What parts of your story can you share to help women to understand their own beauty?
My faith may have only been a mustard seed, but it was something. I was always able to see the good, to find a solution. It also helped me to be around others that needed my help. Through helping others, I was able recognize my own beauty.
I attended Al-anon for many years. They encourage you to say something great about yourself and the person to your left at every meeting. Pretty soon it was easy to come up with a variety of things that were wonderful about myself. To fulfill your divine purpose, you’ve got to answer when you’re called. Don’t be afraid to face the world against all odds. Keep the fire alive; don’t let it die. With every step you take, you can get closer to your destination.
Do you feel that little nudge inside? Can you look back and see how far you have come? Do you remember that “thing” you didn’t think you could ever get past? Do you see the smile you have now? Has someone told you how much you have helped them? Have you helped someone do or get something that has made a difference in their life? That is your inner beauty. That is your gift. The fact that you never gave up on yourself makes you incredible and beautiful.
Tell us about your experience with the photo shoot.
It was truly an honor to be selected for the Bold Beautiful Perfect project. It meant that someone saw my light and was attracted to it. I was in the dark for a long time, feeling sad and lonely, walking around feeling purposeless. It has been a long time coming but I do feel bold, beautiful, and perfect. It feels good to be seen that way.
The photo shoot was fabulous! It was my very first professional makeover. It is a wonderful feeling to have someone fuss over you. I felt like a superstar with all the wardrobe changes and attention given.
Anything else you’d like to share?
If you are having a hard time seeing your inner beauty, I challenge you to ask three people what they like about you. They can be people you know well or acquaintances. Listen to what they say and choose to believe what they say. You may not appreciate your thick thighs, but there is someone else out there who would die for those legs. Get out and enjoy life. Enjoy who you are right now!
Do something social. Join a bowling league, sign up for a class, take a walk in the park, join a gym, take an art class, whatever interests you and can connect you with other people. No man is an island; we need one another. We need conversation, touch, and human contact. Trust me when I say that you are bold, beautiful, and perfect just the way you are.
You are more beautiful than you know!
To book your own fabulous Portrait Session, contact us through the inquiry form below.
International Award-Winning Portrait Photographer
Brandi Stage is an international award-winning portrait photographer based in Bay St. Louis, MS. She creates an exceptional magazine-style photo shoot and timeless heirloom portraits for women, men, children and pets in her studio or on location.