Shorty with the Sage.
Shy Natives: Jordan and Madison Craig
featuring Josie Valadez Fraire
i often joke to my sistars that people always comment on three things about me:
- my body
- my hair
- my height
in that order
the comments all have to do with physicality
it’s always about my Brown body.
when i was young, i quickly learned that my widening hips and growing breasts should be hidden
or i would be blamed for the attention my 8 year old frame received.
my childhood has the bitter taste of discomfort and sexualization.
it sounds like violent comments and cries of humiliation.
i forgot what “safe” felt like
even within my first home - this body.
i don’t remember being happy with this body but i now know how hard i worked to love her.
and sometimes that love looks like
a whole weekend creating art and ritual with new sistars
having pictures taken of me
having lingerie made to fit
not hiding these fertile hips
these images capture something that i struggle to describe
they show my wholeness
my body - as i want it presented
my spirit - as it illuminates my most authentic self
my growth - as i resist the poisonous thoughts and options about my body and how it’s right/wrong/inappropriate
but they also capture much more
like the sistar magik that new connections created
the gentle energy that made me want to show myself - heart, mind, body, and spirit.
Madi and Jordan cultivated a safe place without male gaze
where my soft body was free to move and spread
wearing something made just for me
and i am reminded of that freedom every time i put the art of my sistars on my body
as my hands trace the stitches Madi so carefully worked to position
and when i look at how warmly Jordan captured my whole self
how they, together, created a space for me to celebrate this vessel
they encouraged me to be an ancient vision made flesh
it’s always been about my body
but never like this
Shy Natives isn’t about just making cute bralettes for indigenous womxn to wear
or developing beautiful pictures
it’s about fueling the power of healing through comfort
feeling the strength in our voices as we say “yes” to ourselves
and seeing the force of our raw bodies thriving unapologetically
it’s about our duty to break free of these toxic systems and what they do to our bodies
that’s what Shy Natives does
even if just for a weekend
of ceremony for Brown bodies
handmade lingerie: Shy Natives (@shynatives)
photographers: Shy Natives (@shynatives; Jordan and Madison Craig)
model: Josie Valadez Fraire (@josievf)
set design: Diego Medina (@daydreamboy)
location: Santa Fe, New Mexico
date: May 21, 2018
Words by Josie Valadez Fraire