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November 19, 2014

Now or never: Virginia Beach Boudoir Photographer

This is a post I have been trying to write for the last three years.

It has been sitting in my drafts folder just waiting to be put out there.But every time I think I am ready to hit “Publish” I panic and decide that I will do it the next day.

But the next day turned into the next week turned into the next month turned into the next year.

I am an extremely open person and I have no problem spilling everything. Except for when it comes to my feelings. Which is a bit ironic for a Psych grad.

The fact that I am a boudoir photographer who stands firmly by self love and acceptance, confidence, and living life with unrestrained passion makes me feel like the biggest crock.

My confession: I don’t always practice what I preach.

Growing up I was constantly bullied. First it was because I had a black father and I lived in Arkansas. Next it was because I had a white mother and lived in Louisiana. The thick plastic glasses definitely didn’t help. And then came puberty in all of its glory. In 6th grade I started to develop my ginormous hips and then it was all downhill from there. I was teased for being bigger, although when I look back, I was no bigger than everybody else. I was mocked and “complimented” by others only because my reaction to such a compliment made their joke even funnier.

I was taller among my growing peers. I was incredibly awkward. I felt like a giant.

As time went on, I continued down the path of self hatred. I would look in the mirror and cry for hours. I would find solace in a blade cutting into my flesh, because at least that was a pain I could control. I wanted nothing more than to disappear and die.

I wish I could say that it was just a brief time in my life, but it wasn’t. In the darkest of times I find that these thoughts still creep back.

Years of bullying, being told I wasn’t good enough, and being cast aside because I was different have left wounds that never seem to heal.

I have an extremely hard time feeling confident about myself, which is incredibly ironic given my profession.

I spend my days building women up and having them feel great about themselves for who they are, yet I cannot do the same.

I am nowhere near where I want to be on my journey towards self acceptance. Not even close.

But I can tell you one thing: my body is a reflection of my strength.

My scars remind me of the deepest depression that I have ever felt and of how hard I worked to get back into the light.

Each stretch mark shows me just how much my body has developed into that of a woman’s.

My stomach and breasts have grown and nourished the most beautiful being that I have ever laid my eyes upon.

I am perfectly flawed.

I had my husband shoot my boudoir session because he inspires me.

We have been together since I was 13 years old and he has seen me grow into the woman that I am now. And he has loved me fiercely throughout it all.

I think that there is so much to be said about seeing yourself through the eyes of your lover.

I struggled to see what he sees in me. I never understood how somebody could see me in the morning, a mixture of morning breath, unstyled hair, and glasses, and find that beautiful. He would compliment me and i would roll my eyes. He would hold me and kiss me with so much passion that it overwhelmed me, and a small part of me was wondering why he was doing it.

Last month I attended a workshop in Canada and it was life changing. I’m not exaggerating, nor am I kidding.

The Last Forty Percent workshop forced me to think about myself and the part of myself that I had lost touch of.

At one time, I was confident. And fearless. And filled with sexual passion.

It came and went, but it was there.

And it was so freeing.

Somehow between life and motherhood I lost that part of myself.

Since returning, I have been on a mission to regain myself.

I have been on an active pursuit of self love.

I have been forcing myself outside of my comfort zone and casting aside any second thoughts of how others may perceive me and my actions.

I am saying fuck it.

I am doing what I want, when I want, and on my own terms.

Because dammit, I have been afraid for far too long. I have been insecure for too much of my life.

And that is no way to live.

I had my husband photograph my boudoir session because he is my lover, my rock, and the one person that I will always be 100% myself around.

Seeing myself through his eyes has finally allowed me to hit “Publish” after all of these years.

.

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  1. Stacey says:

    You are so beautiful, LeZandra. Inside and out. We have never even met and just the conversations we’ve had and what I see of you online is nothing but pure and raw. Thank you for putting yourself out there and taking the steps in seeing yourself how others see you. I hope that self love continues to grow. Kinda. It may be scary what you do with all that hotness, but I guess we’ll have to wait and find out. 😉

    You rock, girly! <3

  2. This is incredible. YOU are incredible! I’m so proud of you! xoxo

  3. Jen Swedhin says:

    I hate that you have ever felt that way, because I have always seen you as so gorgeous and strong and unique. I love these images,and I love the story. Good for you for finally sharing it, even though it was hard. I might just do the same thing! xoxo

  4. Dan Spence says:

    Stunning. Absolutely stunning.

  5. Lynn Clark says:

    I’m pretty sure that everything you’ve expressed here is incredibly common among boudoir photographers. So, you’re not alone. I think many of us migrate to this business because every shoot we do that helps heal a part inside a client also helps heal a part inside us. I have a different-yet-similar story, but to the same end. I’m glad you shared these. You are a stunning woman inside and out.

  6. Shiang-ling Bissonnette says:

    You are HOTTT!! I love that you are on your journey back to loving your self!

  7. Jen Trombly says:

    Holy shit, you’re so hot! I truly hope you can see that now and actually believe it. This blog post is so touching. I used to cut and was bullied as well. Had we photographers not been through that we wouldn’t be able to help people the way we do now. You’re an amazing woman, I can’t wait to live near you!!!

  8. Dave says:

    What an empowering story! Beautiful photos too. I once had a client tell me she shared her photos with her man and asked “is this how you see me??” . He said “hell yeah, that’s what I’ve been saying!”
    She finally started recovering from the negative stuff a controlling ex had said to her, along with her own echoes of the abuse.
    It’s an awesome power

  9. Hannah Isabella says:

    There are a lot of people reading this (myself included) who completely, through and through, understand where you are coming from. Everyone has scars. Some are more visible than others. I know I speak for a massive number of people when I say that I/we understand, and stand with, you, 100%. But HOLY HELL these turned out f**king amazing.

  10. Ophelia Derriere says:

    Guuuuuurrlll, you give do much of yourself to the people you photograph in the most beautiful way. I’m so happy to see you nurture yourself in the same way. Rock on, you bad-ass lady!!

  11. Samantha says:

    I can relate in so many ways. Thank you for having the courage to share your story! Beautiful photos!!!

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