“Letting go”, it sounds easy right? I cling tightly to shields, put on armor; masks even, to protect myself, fearful to let too many people get close. Why would I do that? Well, it’s too scary to let people in.

For some odd 25 years I’ve been doing this, granted I’m only 29. I’ve lived a lot of lives, and seen a lot of things. This past weekend I had a session with my therapists and they said this, you have the survival gene, most people wouldn’t have survived what you went through as a child and young adult. The tools you used, the methods you fought with, worked and got you here. But now its time to choose to put the armor down, and stop taking everyone one out. The battle is over. Take a step back and look around where you are, you aren’t there anymore in the chaos, you are here present day in 2017. So I let that sink right in. Deep. That’s it? That’s how you let go? I think it is.                                                                                                                                                      

Over the past few weeks I’d been asking myself, how do I let go? I want to so desperately to really do it. Let go, be my best self, always. I mean that is what I am striving for. I was having a hard time connecting my brain to the actions. I was doing the actions, but my brain couldn’t make sense of it all. See, I want to have the weight lifted off my shoulders, and breathe easy. I want to stop waiting for the floor to sink out from under me. Hearing my therapist say what they did in the session, I had a light bulb moment. It’s this time where I aloud myself permission to finally surrender the flag, and start living life. In that moment, right there.

Now what? Is it as easy as saying yes I get it and erasing everything that happened in the 25 years of my life? Maybe…. See, once you know the core of your crap, where it came from, what it is, what tools you use (good or bad). You can finally start saying (to yourself) stop it. I don’t need to use that tool, it isn’t necessary, and I’m safe. What I’m talking about is, those moments where you find yourself in an anxiety-ridden tizzy, instead of running in circles around it, you face it, check it out, and you explore it. When you face it, you will know what to do with it. Sounds “kooky”, but it works.

The way I look at it is this, I have two choices, I can use the armor to fend off the Calvary, take the sward and finish them all off. – Or I can retrain myself, learn new tools, stop, and be the person who I already know how to be, kind, loving, caring. Option one works, but will be the harder road. With option two, although it seems scary as hell to put down the armor, it feels freeing to let the walls down and walk a new unknown path.

Thanks for listening friends, below are some IPHONE Self Portraits I took, and editing on my phone using the vscocam app. 

Cheers,  - Nicole 

Self Portraits - Charleston, SC Photographers - Nicole Mendicino

When we were little girls my mother would dress my sister and I up to have our photos taken. You know the ones I’m talking about, when you go to SEARS Portrait studio and have a cheesy background and some creepy guy is taking your picture. Those ones. Well my mother would dress us real “nice” with curled hair, red lips and lace dresses for days. We ended up looking like pageant princess’ by the time she was finished. Not to mention she put us in matching outfits, (except shoes). I had these shiny red ones like Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz, (because I was obsessed of course).  So every year she would dress us up for Christmas, Birthday’s, School, etc., and go get our photos taken. As I got older it would get more embarrassing because the photos were all over the walls. Its as if our parents worshiped us. I bet there are a few of you out there that just might have some of these around, or at least something similar.    

These memories and photos really got me thinking. They were just photos of us, but I have a slight feeling they had something to do with my outlook on life. I mean in the sense of how I perceived myself, or to the more pressing fact that I hate getting in front of the camera. It’s a pain, and I get these flash memories of my mother curling my hair while I sat there for an hour bored out of my mind.  So the last thing I wanted to do was get in front of the camera, seemed awful.

So I wanted to go change things, it was time to go back and explore being in front of the camera. To take some images of what is typical standard, makeup hair, so on, in contrast to well the opposite of natural and raw, no make up. I wanted to explore this not just for myself but also for others. How do we see ourselves?  To what is the standard of your own perception?

As women we often are told that we need to look a certain way in order to gain respect, power, equality, a boyfriend even. But as I get older I realize why the hell do they teach us this, why are we teaching our daughters and sons this, and mostly, lets do something about it!   Why should our value be measured in weather we have blonde hair, long hair, weight and makeup or not? 

Maybe people would say I am optimist for hoping that we could come together as a community, instead of working against one another. I still have hope for us, that slowly we make the world a better place and join as one. It only takes one. Will you with join me?

Until next time, thanks for stopping by – below are my self-portraits, leave a comment below, would love to connect!





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