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All photos taken and edited by Pixie Light Photography

When I was little, I was the last girl out of every swimming pool I was in.

As early as age nine, I learned to body surf and boogie board and didn’t care when rip currents took control of my body and tumbled it through the waves.

Where I grew up, dry river beds were and still are all the rage for drought-resistant landscaping and street mediums. Such a waste. I despaired for the lack or natural water sources where I grew up. And for a long time, I wondered if I’d be able to live near the sea, near creeks and rivers.

When it was announced that The Little Mermaid, a live-action film would be guest starring Halle Bailey as Ariel, I went within to share the news with little Michelle, who, at nine years old, embodied the cartoon version as much as I could. Little Michelle was too ugly, had the wrong hair, and lacked a voice compelling enough to draw boys in. But, the movie didn’t strop me from fantasizing about being a mermaid myself. Little Michelle was thrilled for the chance to see such a beautiful underrated being such as Halle become what I always imagined to be.

And I experienced when the depiction of the Kingdom of Talokan in Wakanda Forever, I couldn’t help but relive my mermaid visions and even wished to be summoned by the Orisha Yemayá. I’d give up everything to live as Mami Wata. The African and Afro-Carribean deities who have existed as long as the Celtic ones freed my inner mermaid. Reading, Skin of the Sea by Natasha Bowen this June set Yemayá’s Sapphire further into my heart fueling my desire to visit the waters as much as I can to pretend and hold the secrets of the Earths, Oceans.

I love the water; I always have.

As grown-up Michelle, I still do and love to dress up. I spent months crafting this vision for my Moonlight Mermaid persona. I’ve studied the Orisha of the sea, Yemayá, and have often found that I too, embody the motherly traits of nurturing my suffering children and community. I too summon entitled and foolish men to my bosom only to devour them. I conjure and ride tsunamis in my dreams often fearing my own power but, also astounded by it. I can control the waves!

It was fate, or perhaps the blessing of Yemayá, that Lili of Pixie Light Photography and I met, for she captured my fantasy and manifested the perfect photoshoot to capture me in this realm.

In this fantasy, my curious nature and wanderlust tempted me to take the chance to experience the sunset on a secret PNW beach. The most beautiful I have ever seen. The high cliffs replaced human structures and a dense forest as its moats. I bathed in the moonlight which parted my tail into legs. I frolicked under the moon light and ran and splashed in the low tide before returning to the isolation and safety of the Pacific Ocean.

Thank you, Lili.

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