My blog has always been about showcasing my favorite photos from my sessions and telling the stories that go along with the images. I have yet to use it as a platform to share more personal thoughts. I had the intentions to do so but never seemed to know where to start. But today I got to experience something really amazing and learned something that I want to shout from the roof tops. I am writing this now still on a high from my experience so know that you are most likely reading this months after it was written but I wanted to put down on paper everything I’m feeling right now in this moment.
This morning I had the amazing opportunity of having boudoir photos taken of myself. Now being on the other side of the camera is challenging I think for any photographer and that is a blog post for another day. But today I want to talk about something else. I want to talk about women and why we are all so hard on ourselves. Ask a women if you can take her photo and you are bound to hear all kinds of things like “oh my hair is a mess today”, or “I don’t have any makeup on”, or ” can you take it from this side, it’s my better side” and those are just the things women say when they are taking a selfie with a friend. Ask them to have professional photos done and the first thing every women says is “I want to lose weight first”. What is that?! Seriously? Why do women never feel like they are pretty enough or skinny enough? I don’t understand it….but I kind of do. We live in a society that makes you feel like you have to be a size two to be beautiful and sexy. And that is down right sad. Women are beautiful no matter what their size. And as women, deep down we know that but we listen to all the voices telling us that if we were skinny or blonder, or if we had less freckles or fuller lips or perfect boobs we would somehow be better than who we are. Wow, is all I can say to that. What a skewed view of reality, what a false truth we allow to alter how we feel about ourselves.
I have always considered myself a very confident women. I was very thin growing up, was a competitive athlete in high school, so the time when most girls are worried about their weight was when I had a 6 pack, then got to college and was able to maintain being in pretty good shape. I have dirty blonde hair and a sparkling personality. My parents raised me to know that I was always good enough just the way I was so as I got older and the hair got darker and my thighs started to rub together, it never really bothered me. Sure, I have the same thought process as everyone else and I wish I was skinnier but not enough to actually do something about it (because let’s face it, that means giving up food and finding time for exercise, neither of which I am interested in doing right now in my life mainly because I love food and finding time to exercise would mean giving something else up).
But despite feeling pretty good about myself this photo shoot brought out some insecurities I didn’t know I had. When I booked the shoot I did have in mind that I wanted to lose a few pounds before hand but of course time got away from me and that didn’t happen. I could’ve put it off but then what? I couldn’t put it off forever and I wanted to be realistic that the 20 pounds I’ve gained in the last 4 years wasn’t going to come off in a month. So I went ahead with it. I told a few friends about the shoot. I was nervous of course, I thought mainly because as a photographer it’s very weird to be on the other side of the camera lens but it turned out it wasn’t only about that. A few days before the shoot I was out having drinks with some girl friends and the shoot came up and one of them looked at me and said that she had never seen me insecure before now. I hit me like a tidal wave because I didn’t think that that was coming out. I thought I was doing a good job of hiding it behind the excitement of the shoot. Me? Insecure? Never…or so I thought. But I let it sink in and she was right, it was bringing out my insecurities. I found myself wishing I was thinner and blonder and that my makeup was going to be professionally done. And that was all before I went lingerie shopping, which let me tell you, pretty much makes you instantly feel terrible about yourself. In a 1 hour long trip to the mall I had denounced that I was too old and heavy to be shopping at Victorias Secret, too young to be shopping at Macy’s and too broke to be shopping at Nordstroms. That afternoon I left the mall with a few pieces that I felt blah about and felt even worse about myself.
But you know what something happened, something truly beautiful. I showed up to my sunrise photo shoot with the very talented Love The Look Photography and within minutes something shifted in me and changed me forever. Yes, there was the initial nerves of a photo shoot, then add in standing in front of pretty much a stranger in your underwear in a public place and that can make anybody feel a little uneasy. But then the complete opposite of what I expected to happen, happened. I have never felt more sexy in my life than I did during that hour. I have never felt better about myself than I did this morning. And for the record most of the shoot was me in a single plain black thong topless, so all that lingerie shopping was pretty much a mute point. After the shoot I got dressed and sat on the beach to finish watching the sun rise and I was pretty much on cloud 9. It was one of those moments where you can say to yourself, right here in this moment something just changed, something amazing happened and I am never going back to the person I was before.
I am filled with so many emotions that I can’t even express, expect to say this: Ladies, stop beating yourselves up. Stop letting society tell you what is beautiful and just be you. You is the most beautiful version there is. And do yourself a favor, get in front of a camera. Stop making excuses and just do it. You don’t have to have boudoir photos taken, maybe that’s not your thing, but step in front of the camera just once for yourself, not for anyone else. Moms, make a point to have photos taken with you and your children since you are always the one taking the photos, your children will thank you years from now. Single ladies, have some pretty portraits taken by yourself or even with your girl friends, married women, have photos taken, they don’t have to be for your spouse. And do it without picking our your flaws and beating yourself down. No more excuses. No more “I will do this when I lose 5 pounds”, or “I will go to the beach in a bathing suit when I get into a size 6”, just stop, stop all of it and just love yourselves! Once you do that something changes in you as person, I promise, and it’s beautiful!
Lastly, I have decided that it really wouldn’t be fair to tell you all about my amazing experience but then be hypocritical and not feel good enough about myself to share the photos with you. Due to the nature of this photo shoot, I have only chosen to share one as they are very personal for me. But I want to share with the world that you don’t have to be a size 2 or have a thigh gap to be beautiful! And most importantly while these images are beautiful thanks to the very talented Love The Look Photography and I will treasure them for years to come I got something so much bigger and more valuable than some gorgeous photos…..I learned to accept and love myself.
Photo by: Love The Look Photography
Disclaimer: This photo has been retouched as any professional photo would but I promise you that is my actual ass and the swell in the background is 100% real.