Updated: Feb 7, 2022
This is going to be a long and wordy post, but please bear with me. If you’re someone who is nervous about a boudoir shoot or has dealt with issues of insecurity or self-consciousness regarding your body OR if you have any doubt in your mind that I’m the boudoir photographer for you, please keep reading. It’s about to get a little vulnerable.
I've never been a particularly confident person. And I’ve always been envious of women who seem to just exude confidence and who embrace their sexuality effortlessly. That has certainly never been me. In fact, most of my life I’ve been referred to as cute or adorable. But seldom ever hot or sexy. And most of my life, I’ve struggled with feelings of insecurity and chased after a never reachable ideal of the “perfect body”.
When I was 11 I got very sick. Without getting into the details of my symptoms, I will say that the most prominent was that I couldn’t eat without excruciating pain and what I did eat, my body wasn’t absorbing. I lost a tremendous amount of weight in a very short period of time. I eventually ended up in the hospital after weighing an emaciated 60 pounds. My stay lasted a few weeks and I was diagnosed with severe Crohn’s Disease. I finally had an answer to why I was feeling so horribly and got treatment that started to make me feel better. But that treatment came with it’s own, different set of issues.
I was put on a drug called prednisone, which I’m sure some of you are familiar with. I like to call it the steroid from hell. A medicine with so many awful side-effects that I can only imagine someone or something evil brought it into existence. I was put on extremely high doses of this drug and I got to experience all the lovely side-effects of it. I gained all of the weight I had lost back (which was a good thing) and then another 40-50 pounds. The problem with this was that it was done in such a short amount of time, that my body basically went through a very unpleasant see-saw ride.. also from hell. I lost and then gained double the weight than a typical pregnancy in a third of the time. Prednisone causes fluid retention, so my cheeks blew up. This is often referred to as “moon face” in the medical world. My own moon face got me called a chipmunk in school, with other kids often squeezing my cheeks passing by. It was a very strange feeling to go from being called anorexic to having hands squeezing my cheeks for being so swollen,all within a matter of months. Fat redistribution is another known side effect, so I had pockets of fat develop in strange places on my body. Places that I did not want it. Prednisone also thins the skin when you’re on high doses for a prolonged period of time. So my skin thinned… a lot. And with the extremely fast, almost unnatural weight gain in record breaking time, I developed stretch marks. And more stretch marks.. and more stretch marks. And not just the barely visible, slightly red, need to be inches away to see them stretch marks. But stretch marks that took up feet of my skin. Deep, and indented, and disliked… Hated, more accurately, with a passion.
All of this lead to pretty extreme self-consciousness and insecurity surrounding my body. I hated the way I look. So much so, that I stopped allowing my picture to be taken and those that had already been taken, I tracked down and ripped up and threw away in the trash, where I thought they belonged. Eventually, after months of tapering, I got off this drug. But the physical and mental scars were still very much there. And I’ve bared and battled these scars ever since.
I’ve worn a bikini maybe twice in my life without some sort of coverup. Shorts, skirt, a dress etc. I used to only wear surfer style board shorts to the beach when I was a teen. And I remember being so self-conscious of my stretch marks that I used to decline invitations from friends to go to the beach or their pool. I’ve only just recently started to feel comfortable in my skin on a beach. Getting naked in front of a significant other? Ahhh…. Scary, really scary. Like almost don’t date scary. Buying and analyzing clothes so that they cover the parts of yourself that you’re most self-conscious about? Yup, I’ve done that too.
I truly, truly have chased after what I thought was the “perfect” body throughout most of my life. Perfect bodies don’t have stretch marks. So I bought serum after expensive serum. Even going so far as poking myself with a needle, medical torture-device (something called a dermaroller) in an attempt to get rid of them. Perfect bodies don’t have love handles (one of the places prednisone distributed my fat and that wouldn’t go away no matter how low of a weight I got). So, I’d do hundreds of ab exercises daily targeting the obliques to try to diminish them. It didn’t work. Perfect bodies don’t have skin discoloration, or double chins or too much fat on their thighs or squishy tummies… etc, etc, etc. It’s exhausting, isn’t it? I’m exhausted just writing it, let alone having actually lived it.
Now the point of my writing all this, isn’t to tell you some sad story. But to point out that we all have our struggles and insecurities. And I completely understand what it feels like to heavily dislike parts of your body and deal with feelings of insecurity. If this is something you’ve dealt with, just know that I understand where you’re coming from because I’ve been there too. And if I’m being honest, I still struggle with from time to time.
Learning to love yourself is a radical act. (Yes, I actually believe this) I think women are held to such an excruciatingly high standard. A standard that is almost impossible to attain. And we’re bombarded with this ideal in magazines and movies and billboards. It’s everywhere and it’s ingrained early. Unlearning all of this and appreciating and loving ourselves as we are is a radical act of self-love and self-care. And if I’ve learned anything from my decades of chasing after this unattainable ideal, it’s this:
THE PERFECT BODY DOESN’T EXIST
Read it and read it again. The perfect body does not exist. And you will be hard-pressed to find a woman on the planet, any woman who doesn’t have some kind of insecurity or something she wishes she could change about herself.
So can we please, please stop chasing perfection? A made up, stupid ideal of what our body should be. And what the hell is it even based off of? Actresses who have millions… hundred of millions to pay for cosmetic surgeries, and top of the line nutritionists and fitness trainers… and housekeepers and nannies to look after all the actual burdens of life so they have the time to go get these surgeries done and pay for these luxuries and work out till they cry. Is it based off of models who often starve themselves to meet a certain weight and are photoshopped until they’re almost unrecognizable? We torture ourselves to try and fit this standard. And it isn’t worth it. It is not fucking worth it.
Feminine Fables Boudoir is all about loving and embracing yourself as your are now.Not you in a few months after you’ve gone on a diet and lost “x” amount of pounds. Not you after you’ve “toned” an area you’re self-conscious about. You, right now, in the beautiful skin you’re in and in the beautiful body that has done so much for you.
Yes, my body may be covered in scars and stretch marks from almost two decades of living with a chronic illness. But you know what? My skin shows the struggle and fightthat I went through and won. Each scar, evidence to my own strength. And yes, I do still struggle with feelings of insecurity from time to time, thinking I could build more muscle or tone an area or wishing I had a bigger this or smaller that. Because I’m human… and even more so because I’m a human woman. But I try not to linger on any of those thoughts and feelings. Instead, I try to perform the radical act of self-love. This is me. This is my body. This body has done a lot for me. And I’m going to choose to love it.
So while, it’s a completely natural reaction to feel a bit nervous about baring your body for a boudoir shoot. Just know that I truly understand. I am the least judgmental person ever, and I’ve also probably dealt with similar feelings that you have. And if any of what I have written resonates with you, I believe I am the perfect photographer for you. My goal is to make you feel as comfortable as possible and to showcase your beauty exactly as you are. And as this is what I do for a living and specialize in, I have the skills and expertise to capture you in your best light. And it isn’t about using trick photography to hide imperfections or photoshopping excessively to erase the parts of you that you don’t like. But about embracing yourself and your body, here and now. With my expertise in lighting and posing, I know exactly how to bring out and capture your natural, authentic beauty. You are in good hands. And by the end of the shoot, you’ll feel bold, empowered, sexy and like the beautiful and confident woman you are. And hopefully you’ll continue the radical act of self-love long after the shoot. Because women deserve to love and embrace themselves… exactly.. as.. they.. are.
You’ve got this, and I’ve got you.
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