By Kymarie McEwan
A funny thing happened to me when I became a photographer. Everything about life became a photographic metaphor. When I look through my lens, I don’t see people as they are, but who they were meant to be — uniquely gifted and confident.
When my friend Martha Cooper- Hudson asked me to visit South Carolina to cover her event, I didn’t think twice. It was a sacrifice, but I understood her vision, and wanted to do my part by capturing the special moments. In my line of work, it is very rare for women to come together in a casual setting, allowing themselves to be transparent. Imagine, being in a room filled to capacity with women from all walks of life, with varying beliefs and life experiences, women who are mothers, daughters, sisters, entrepreneurs and friends. Most of these women have never met, and in all likelihood most of them would never have exchange words if it were not for this event. I saw firsthand, mingling with the guest the birthing of a sisterhood, right here in Beaufort County. But what I saw when I started editing the pictures was life changing.
As women, some of us have a tendency to compare ourselves with others. Some of us are unable to become who we were meant to be because somewhere along the line we stopped trusting in ourselves and began conforming to the opinion of others. Many of us are wearing nicely decorated masks that hide the greatness within us. Many of us have missed the essence of our life’s purpose by being competitive, unwilling to celebrate the success of others. But even worse, many of us are allowing our insecurities to prevent us from learning who we are, so we can become the individuals we are meant to be.
Looking at the pictures from the Tasty Tuesday networking event, I saw women connected by a cause bigger than themselves. Many of the ladies took pictures to support cancer research. Purchased products from the local vendors there. They even shared things about themselves that they never intended to. They were listening to each other, hugging, laughing, dancing with strangers and just having a great time. Through the lens of my camera, this lesson became apparent. When you know who you are, and what you have to offer, the ego has no place to work. Real women stand united. Only the insecure create strife.
I am a stranger to Beaufort, and maybe things are perfect here. Maybe everyone gets along with everyone and there is no unhealthy competitiveness here. Maybe what I learned by looking at the pictures from the Women of Greatness Tasty Tuesday event was a lesson only I needed to learn. But imagine with me for a minute that things are not perfect here, and people are willing to let go of what is, in order to see what is possible.
Through my lens, I saw individuals uniquely gifted with untapped potential that the world is waiting to experience. I saw the women of Beaufort supporting each other and being committed to each other’s success. I saw women who are confident, even though they themselves haven’t yet recognized it. Through my lens, I saw women treating each other the way they want to be treated, irrespective of class or social background. Women who were not afraid to show their vulnerability. Women who are willing to see the good in others because they see the good in themselves.
Classy & Sassy Women Night Out with a Purpose
What an amazing evening that took place at the first Classy & Sassy Women Night Out Event at the Holiday Inn & Suites on October 15. More than 100 women in and around Beaufort County came out for an evening of empowerment, great shopping, awesome appetizers, networking, hot music, and a VIP area.
I would like to take the time to thank all of the sponsors for their willingness and gracious donations to help bring my vision into reality: Halo Salon, the Gullah Grub Restaurant, Smokin Planks BBQ Restaurant, David’s Crab Shack, Herban Organic Store, Sports Nutz, Ocean Tide Massage Therapy, Tasty Baskets, Mary Kay, Lynn Bryant & The Family Slide Dancers, Heaven’s Print Shop, Claire’s Beauty Salon, Body Wize Solutions, Plaza Theater, and a very special thank you to Phillip and the Holiday Inn & Suites for all of their help to make this event fabulous. To Samantha Ford, Kymarie McEwan, and Joseph and Tawanna Harrel, I thank you for capturing every moment through the lens of your camera and video equipment. To the vendors: You were simply amazing and the ladies truly enjoyed what you had to offer.
Attention women business owners who have a merchandise women cannot do without and you want to highlight your business at the next Women Night Out, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you missed this event, purchase tickets for the November 12 Women Night Out at www.tastytuesday.eventbrite.com. — Martha Cooper-Hudson