“Most of the shadows of this life are caused by standing in one’s own sunshine.”
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
A few years ago, I was interested in having Boudoir photos taken and found myself browsing local photographers. I would tell myself, okay self, we’re going to go to the gym five to six times a week for a year and we’re going to cut out sugar and eat lots of green stuff. Then, THEN, I will have the courage to get naked in front of a stranger and pay them a small fortune to capture me at my most vulnerable.
After a solid 15 minutes of being truly dedicated to the idea I quickly dismissed it altogether and ate a row of Oreos.
As my wedding day approached, I again revisited the Boudoir photo session as a potential gift to my husband. I tried to imagine myself sprawled out on a bed making a pouty face that implied, “take me now.” I was so serious this time that I actually put on lingerie and snapped a few selfies to test what I had to offer. After wringing my body like a wet towel and a sound duck-face failure, I erased all evidence. I couldn’t see myself as sexy as the broads on the websites.
A year later, a woman popped up on my Facebook feed. I went to her website and absolutely loved her work so much that I contacted her immediately to schedule an appointment.
Her page read, “Boudoir is about embracing your sensuality and femininity – breaking down your pre-conceived notions about beauty to show you how gorgeous you really are. As a woman guilty of this myself, I see so many struggling with negative self-image. We do this because we internalize the unrealistic expectation of beauty that are set out for us by the media and entertainment industry. The truth is, you are exactly as you are meant to be, perfect in your realest form.”
Oh my goodness that last line. Who is this woman and can she just come follow me around all day? I wanted her to capture the type of beauty that others saw in me. I wanted an escape from my every day criticisms by seeing myself through someone else’s eyes (or lens).
The girls were a wonderful team and from the moment I walked in I was at ease. It was like hanging out with close friends, just, in your underwear.
It was an experience of self-love. The pictures are hands-down sexy and I still can’t believe I’m the woman in those images. She truly captured an artistic sensuality and sassiness that I knew was in there somewhere but didn’t know how to tap into. I walked away being proud and confident for having the guts to bare all and strip down my inhibitions. Not to mention the sweet bragging rights when I demand my pictures be hung in the hallways of the nursing home I’ll belong to someday.
I realized I needed to lighten up on myself and to appreciate my flaws for making me real. It also taught me not to put too much emphasis on my future self but to recognize how hard I’ve worked to get to today. To live in the present.
I continue to be so inspired and amazed by the women in our community that are dedicated to making other women feel good. The staff at RAW Fitness and Lindsay (http://photographybylindsayrae.com/) dedicate their lives to helping others feel beautiful both physically and emotionally. It’s contagious, it’s empowering and it’s so much fun to be a part of.