Suggested Audio Candy ♫
Florence + the Machine Ft. Calvin Harris “Spectrum”
If you were put on the spot and asked to discuss the things you love about your body, where would you start? For many of us, we simply wouldn’t know where to. It’s all too easy to succumb to the belief that we don’t measure up in one way or another; that we fall short of the criteria society demands to consider ourselves beautiful. Somewhere along the line, we have fallen out of love with ourselves, forgotten what makes us unique and become fixated with our imperfections. The above question was recently asked to 26-year-old Wolverhampton-born model, Iskra Lawrence, and her response was like a breath of fresh meadow air to my ears. Without a pause, she celebrated her legs, which allow her to jump and dance; and her hands, which she uses for painting and drawing. It’s funny, we tend to overlook basic function, in favor of heading straight to the cellulite or strawberry birthmark. “There are your culprits” we cry, “It was them all along”. Iskra doesn’t. She may have done so in the past, but she’s more your forward thinking kind of gal.
I discovered Miss Lawrence recently, purely by chance, after happening across a video posted whereby she strips down to her underwear on a crowded subway train in NYC and makes an emotional plea to her unexpecting audience. By making herself vulnerable on commencement of her address, she placed a fair share of her inner demons in clear sight, before reminding them that they’re barking up the wrong tree. Lest we not forget that a carriage load of weary commuters are not the easiest crowd to win over due to the unspoken law that one doesn’t break formation on public transport. Eyes down at all times, bodily functions kept to a bare minimum, and smiling strictly prohibited – adhere to these guidelines and we shall deliver you to your destination free of incident. End of announcement. This could end badly right? Ever watched the film The Midnight Meat Train? All it takes is for some well-dressed gentleman grasping a meat tenderizer to miss his stop and you’re pretty patty missy. Iskra knew the very worst that could happen but she was also aware of the best outcome and simply focused on that as she pulled her dress over her shoulders and began her lion-hearted public appeal.
So what do you see? A beautiful woman right? Toss incredibly strong, cool-headed and self-assured into the mix and I’ll make you right. Serene is another adjective I’d say describes Iskra as she bares not only her divine body but also her soul and does so utterly fearlessly. Was she shaking in her Doc Martens? I’d hazard a guess at you’re damn skippy, but like a seasoned rock star, she channeled all that pent-up nervous energy into something extraordinary. I’d imagine the first thought her fellow passengers would likely have entertained would be “we’ve got a live one” and it’s no easy feat winning an audience over when first impressions have a tendency to last in such instances. However, one sincere introduction later and I reckon she had the attention of every last fare. Even those who appeared disinterested offered some kind of acknowledgement (although it would have been an idea for some bastard to offer her a seat) and evidently the point she made so eloquently resonated strongly. Most critically however, the world was watching. When ever is it not?
“This is my vessel, this is my home, I respect it.”
This may have appeared a small, intimate gesture but courageous acts like hers are also very much in the public interest. It turns out that Iskra is also a blogger, role-model, and ambassador for body positivity. She doesn’t permit her Instagram photos to be retouched in any way to enhance her image and challenges any body shamers who attempt to kill her irrepressible vibe. This young lady is a princess warrior I tell you. That said, while the media dictate so much of what we think and feel, brave hearts like hers have the ability to beat through the din and shake us all from its festering funk. I know where I stand with regards to the media; I pick the cherries and spit out the pips. So much of what certain influencers attempt to drum into us is bullshit and I’d like to think that the world is gradually becoming wise to that. True princess warriors crusade to fast-track us to that point of realization. Vera Lynn became the armed forces’ sweetheart by rousing the troops in a similar way during the Second World War and that’s Dame Vera Lynn now by the way. You see, Iskra Lawrence is in some rather sound company and she’s only just getting started.
One of the media’s greatest misdemeanors is judging us and proposing we judge others for actively loving themselves. It’s perfectly acceptable picking at our faults, but the moment we highlight a strength, it’s instantly labelled arrogance. I’ve spent the last four years recognizing my flaws and – do you now what? – I tired of that way back at “I’m worthless”. I’m aware that I’ve got some game and there’s no shame in that whatsoever, despite what vials of hatred the trolls can concoct to suggest otherwise. There will always be opposition, those who grunt their derision, but you can’t put the blinkers on a bright enough vision. It’s all about excision. Spiritual cleansing. Removing the stubborn grime of society at its worst and allowing your inner beauty to breathe. After all, that’s what truly makes us individual. The soul is an exclusive piece of kit and accessing it is pivotal to finding any real sense of emotional contentment in our lives. Baring it just so happens to be my thing and, lo and behold, it’s hers too. Miss Lawrence, you have my full and undivided attention.
For as much as the word “arrogance” cooks my goose to the simmer, cliché cannot help but give my tickle a playful pickle. Life is a gift – that’s a cliché. Believe in yourself – that’s one too. Keep hope alive – strike three. Bring it I say as the media’s take on cliché is so cliché. All three hold weight to me and it’s time to tune out the white noise and let some sweet music in for a change. Iskra Lawrence may be a princess warrior, but she’s also a songbird, and I’d preset the prose she delivered so gracefully as my alarm tone to rise to each morning if said timepiece wasn’t a relic from Davy Jones’ Locker. I have no idea how many people will read this and neither do I have any guarantee that it will resonate. I know the very worst that could happen is for a well-dressed gentleman grasping a meat tenderizer to read into it wrong and I’ll be spam. However, I’m also aware of the best possible outcome and, no surprise here, it’s a cliché. Should these words make a difference to just one person, then it has been worth it. That one is actually plain fact.
I urge you all to click on the link below and donate Iskra Lawrence a paltry three minutes of your time. What it means to you personally will vary from one to the next and that’s okay with her as she is fully aware that every last one of us is different. Indeed, she celebrates such. If like me you are moved enough by what you see to act upon it, then together we can get the word further out there. There’s a lot of white noise stanking up our airwaves and I’ve long since grown weary of its transmission. In Iskra, warrior princess and songbird, we have a most eloquent speaker, and I’ll willingly provide such lion-hearted endeavor the sheet music. It would seem unthinkable to close with my own prose, thus I’ll depart with a bumper sticker of sorts. “Thank you for all being so different, and special, and unique as that’s what makes us beautiful.” Well I’ll be damned it that couldn’t just cotton on you know.
Press play below to watch Iskra’s public address
I love this line, “Removing the stubborn grime of society at its worst and allowing your inner beauty to breathe.” We are our worst critics of ourselves. If we all let ourselves breathe, then the world would indeed be a better place.
Bravo, Rich for writing about this & brava to Iskra for being brave enough to go against society. There is enough to be concerned about on a global level. Body image should not even be on the radar but yet it is! We are so concerned with having the perfect BMI that we don’t work on ourselves.
I understand taking care of one’s earthly vessel but when does it become an unhealthy spiritual obsession?
Iskra should be a role model for not only women but men. If only we could look past outward appearances……terrific blog!
I had to reread this and watch Iskra’s video again. Her and I have a similar body type. There are days that I have her confidence and feel as sexy as Jessica Alba. Other days, I wake up feeling as attractive as Bea Arthur’s left armpit. Those are the days I need to reread your post to remind myself that I am worthy and I need to show the world how bright I can shine. Thank you Richard, for sharing such an important message with all of us. It is inspiring people like myself and reminds us that we are all beautiful, we just have to let it run free.