It has been a couple of months since I have written anything here. I have been so busy trying to start up a business that it seems I never have enough time in my day to just sit and share what has been going on in my head, heart and soul. Now just two days before my 49th birthday I decided to share a wonderful experience I had.
So here goes….
The title of this post seems very conceited. I am sure that is how some people may interpret it. In fact I am not trying to be conceited at all, I have had an epiphany that came from doing something I was terrified to do, but at the same time exhilarated.
What did I do you ask?
Let’s just back up a bit first. As a plus sized woman, my entire life I have felt self conscious about how I look. Every time I started to feel good about myself someone seemed to come along and shatter my self worth and self esteem to pieces. My own mom told me once when I was a single parent getting ready to start dating again that I should have weight loss surgery, because if I were to remain plus sized, nobody would love me. Can you believe that? NOBODY was going to love me because of my size. This made me terribly sad, disconnected and just plain hurt! Needless to say coming from someone who should love you unconditionally it really broke a piece of me inside. I acted tough on the outside and told her that if someone couldn’t love me for who I am then I would be fine without a man in my life. I was strong, independent and refused to risk my life and possibly cause permenant damage to my body. I was healthy and still am, despite being overweight and just because she had the surgery didn’t mean I had to do it too. Thinking back I think she just wanted the best for me but it still hurt.
Fast forward to Summer 2015. I was scrolling on Facebook and came across Belle De Muse which is part of Muse Photography a local photographer who was offering a “Boudoir” photo shoot. She posted pics of a few of them she had done. Very tasteful and the women looked so glamourous. I have been trying to take more pictures of myself and be included in more pictures with my family and friends. When I am gone from this earthly plane I want there to be something left for my kids and grandkids to be able to remember me. My husband, who loves me unconditionally indulges me with selfies and funny faces. He ‘gets me’ and knows how important and how difficult it is for me to accept myself as I am. To love my WHOLE self unconditionally. I mentioned it to him that it might be something I would like to try. I had no idea what it involved or anything but, he was completely supportive and encouraging throughout the whole process.
I entered the contest, I didn’t win but still had this gnawing desire to try this. Even if he was the only one to ever see these photos, as long as he liked them it would be worth it. Not to mention the fact that it would require me to be open and trust the process and see where it led me.
Fast forward through Summer and into Fall. One day I was scrolling through FB again and saw a sneak peek of a shoot she had done, and the woman was full figured like me. The photos I saw were done tastefully but so beautiful. It actually inspired me more and more until I finally contacted her via messenger and set up a time to meet.
JR came with me to the meeting. We met at a local Mexican restaurant and I ordered a margarita (or two) and we all hit it off instantly. It was as if I was meant to meet this beautiful, talented young woman. We laughed and talked and got to know each other. She described how she likes to work and what the process would be. Me, I was more concerned with what the hell am I going to wear!
We set a date for her to come to our home and we would shoot in different places in our house. We collaborated on lots of things. She checked out my wardrobe and found things that I wouldn’t have thought would be ‘sexy’ in this type of shoot. JR worked the day we shot photos and the younger kids went to their sister’s house right after school until we were done so that we could have total privacy and I could be more relaxed knowing everyone was taken care of.
Photo shoot day arrived and I was anxious and nervous. Despite getting semi comfortable with selfies and being in pictures with my kids, hubby and granddaughter I could pose those to cover up the areas that I still felt self conscious about. With less clothes on that was going to be a bit more difficult. I wondered about how would I pose, could I suck in my gut enough to make it look smaller yet not look blue in the face from holding my breath? I had seen her work and I trusted her artistic ability and reminded myself that I must trust the process. Other people in my life have told me I am beautiful. This lovely photographer told me I was beautiful so I must let go of all pretense and trust.
We had plenty of time before the first camera click ever happened to chat over a glass of champagne and some light snacks I had prepared. While she did my hair and makeup it felt weird at first to have someone else doing all of this for me. I have never been a full face of makeup girl before but my photographer is a gorgeous woman and I trusted she would make me look my best. When I saw my face and hair for the first time, I almost didn’t recognize myself. It was very surreal. I looked pretty, I physically felt a boost in my self esteem and I seemed to stand differently. I could see a twinkle in my eye that I had never noticed before. After all up until now I had barely looked in the mirror at myself other than to check for spinach in my teeth, or to blow dry my hair in the morning. This is the feeling I had yearned to feel my whole life. I had felt that feeling from around the age 24-26 and then I don’t know what happened but I hadn’t felt very confident or even pretty until I married my husband JR and then again now.
I feel as if my life had to lead me here to this place, this garden where loving myself, my body, my heart, and my soul was an everyday occurrence. It was euphoric for me. Very emotional in a happy, freeing way. I felt my shoulders relax, my breathing become more steady and my heart rate regained it’s natural rhythm. I was ready for my close up!!
After the first few photos were taken and we talked during the whole thing, laughing and joking I really started to have fun! We spent the afternoon searching out lighting so we could make sure to get the shots that I had envisioned as well as collaborative shots that we came up with together. I laughed, I smiled a genuine smile that wasn’t forced or fake. I felt emotions as she prompted me with things to think about while posing. I felt relaxed yet unbreakable and strong!! I let my guard down and bared my heart, soul and body that day.
Sneak peek day came and she messaged me with just ONE photo. This one!! I was blown away! I had no idea I could look like this. She told me that she didn’t change anything about the shape or size of my body. We had agreed that she would smooth out some varicose veins I have had since high school on my right leg and that was it. When I showed my husband he couldn’t wait to see more.
Neither could I!!
We waited as patiently as we could until she finished going through all the shots and finally had a portfolio for us to look through and choose which pictures would be made into prints and which pictures we wanted to put into a book as it was all part of the package we chose. Even though I couldn’t see my face or the rest of my body in this picture I felt so beautiful! Oh and how about those shoes?? I don’t walk well in them but they sure aided in making me feel sexy and they don’t look too bad either! (If I do say so myself)
When reveal day arrived I couldn’t wait to see what she captured. I was anxious and nervous, even more so than when I had the photos taken. I was stunned and amazed to look at her Ipad screen and see myself looking glamorous.
I must admit I felt a bit self conscious of the fact that I couldn’t stop looking at myself. But, I looked good, and for the first time in 20+ years I looked how I felt inside. She captured my inner being in those pictures and I will be forever grateful to her for that.
This beautifully talented and special woman and I have become friends through this experience. I can’t explain the connection we seemed to forge immediately but she is just the sweetest person. Loving, kind, supportive and just a downright wonderful woman inside and out. She told me how beautiful I was and although I didn’t believe her at first, I do believe her now. 🙂
I have to say that if you have ever thought even for just a second about doing photos like this. I say to you, find a great photographer, meet with them and be sure there is a connection before committing but I urge you to do it!! Nobody says you have to show everything, but show what you are comfortable with. I can guarantee that you will be so glad you did!
Now without further adieu I share with you just a few of my photos.
BE BRAVE, BE BOLD, BE YOU!!!