Hello and thanks for showing interest in the special “Hello Gorgeous Project”.
I’m sure you would feel more comfortable knowing more about me so I would like to share my story with you in hopes that you will understand the reasons why I have finally decided to move forward with this project.
My name is Jereme. I was born on July 31, 1970 in a very small town in North Louisiana where I was taught to respect others, especially women. My mother was a singer, piano player and comedian who traveled around Louisiana, Texas, Arkansas, Missouri and Mississippi entertaining at local shows as well as sharing her talents with our small church. In 1976, she started what was to become a very successful travel agency based out of Shreveport, Louisiana. She was a natural born leader and everyone who met her loved her. I wanted to be just like her, smiling and making people happy.
As you can see, I grew up working with the public. I did whatever I could to help others forget about their troubles and worries while they were around us. Before I knew it, I had a camera in my hand taking photographs of people on our tours as well as everything we saw as we traveled around the North America. To my mother’s surprise, my photographs were professional enough to use in her marketing materials.
In 1984, I started playing drums and became my mother’s drummer within a couple months. I had always loved watching drummers and this was something I could do while being hidden behind them so no one could really see me, a big fluffy teddy bear. I had found my security blanket and could make people smile, all at the same time. What could be better?
In the Spring of 1993, I moved to Branson, Missouri to work with Wayne Newton, Johnny Cash and Ray Stevens and throughout the next fifteen or so years, I had the opportunity to work with over 50 known acts/shows. Some I played drums for or ran sound for as well as being their photographer when needed. I also had the privilege to travel to several countries entertaining our US Troops. What a blessing that was!
Then, several life changing tragedies happened. Our mother was killed in a terrible car wreck in October 1997. All of our family moved back to Louisiana at the end of that tourist season and then a few months later I hurt my lower back extremely bad. Talking about a life changing time of my life which caused me to fall into a deep depression. It took me years but I had to come to the reality that my life had changed and there was nothing I could do about it. So, I turned my back and walked away from everything that I had loved except for my wife and three children. They are my rock!
Then, on July 14, 2018, I almost died. I had huge blood clots in my leg and part of it broke off then went through my heart. It then lodged between my heart and lungs causing a 95%+ airflow restriction. The medical term for this is known as a Saddle Pulmonary Embolism. I was suffocating with each breath I tried to take. If my 14 year old son wasn’t in the next room, heard me cry out for help and rushed in to help me, I would have died. Doctors told me that only 3% of the people who had what I had survive. That meant 97 out of 100 die. Talking about a huge eye opener!!!
It has taken me years to try to be at peace with myself and my body but after my near death experience, I have finally reached a point in my life where I want to help others smile and feel good about themselves again while not worrying about what others think. By doing this for others, I am sure it will help me too.
This brings me to this project and what has led me to do it. Remember I said that I can hide behind my drums? On a tour once, we stopped by a pub to get something to eat. The place was owned/operated by very friendly, beautiful and large busted ladies. While waiting on my food and flirting with one of the ladies, I noticed a huge sign behind the bar that read, “If We Hear Any Comment About Our Boobs ALL Men Must Remove Their Shirts Before Another Person Will Be Served, PERIOD!”. Well, wouldn’t you know it, someone did. So there I sat, shirtless, withdrawn and self-conscience about myself in a crowd of people. But, before long, everyone in the place was dancing around and having a blast which helped me forget that I didn’t have a shirt on.
A few years later, I was asked to display some of my boudoir photography examples at a private party. I had no clue it was a lifestyle/swingers party until about an hour or so into the dance. That’s when I started noticing people removing some of their clothes and mingling with others without worrying about the degree of nudity throughout the building, the age of others, their background, their careers, the scars on their skin or anything else. They were all having a blast dancing around the room, free as could be. I just sat there watching, speechless.
This is when it hit me. We are all the same underneath, our clothes are simply a way to hide the real “YOU” from others. We all have scars and flaws from past events, whether we like it or not, seen on the outside or hidden on the inside. We are all humans who all share the same wishes and desires. We are all flesh and blood, craving a life of love and acceptance from others. Unfortunately, we tend to want to judge others by the way they look, dress, the scars they have, their life partners, past/present relationships (loving or abusive), health issues and/or countless other things, which can have life altering effects on the way we feel about ourselves. When we come to realize we must embrace our life and take charge of our future, no matter what others may think, we then come out of our shell and start to “LIVE”, not just survive. We are all unstoppable once we realize we deserve better!
So there you have my story and why I feel so strongly about offering this special art project to others. I want to use this project, website and book as an uplifting tool to help participants and viewers realize they are not alone. The World is full of people living with the same issue(s) you/they are. We must “Embrace Life And Take Charge Of Our Future!”. So, go ahead and take a chance. You never know what the outcome may be. Your participation in this incredible art project may not only help your self-confidence levels, you may help save a life or two.