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.