In theory, I've been body positive for years. In practice, well....not so much. It was always easy for me to see beauty in others; every size and shape seemed to elicit awe and admiration from me while my own reflection was held to a higher, seemingly impossible to attain standard. Other women had voluptuous curves, and I had lumps. Their thighs were thick and sensuous, mine were thunder thighs. They had elegant, dancer-like wrists and ankles, mine were just weirdly bony.
It's like that for a lot of women, I think. Maybe even most. It's easy to see the beauty and light in others, and completely diminish it within ourselves. And honestly, why? Why, unless we've been brainwashed by countless outside influences to believe that we're always going to be less than? Always found wanting, never good enough, never living up to the ideal standard?
I've always been self-conscious of my body, until recently. Since shifting my focus entirely onto women's portrait photography, I've noticed a dramatic change in the way I see myself. Not only do I feel completely comfortable in clothes I never thought I could wear, but I actually smile when I look in the mirror. The thoughts in my head aren't immediately critical and unkind, they're warm and supportive. "Girl. Those thighs. Yassss. Look at that jiggle."
It's a stark contrast to the way I felt about myself even a year ago, and I couldn't be happier with my new outlook. I feel like I've been deprogrammed and I'm finally seeing the world clearly. In large part, I attribute this to being exposed to so many different sizes, shapes, and types of women. Every woman I've photographed over the past year has been so different from the other in every way, and yet every single one has been a gorgeous woman. Seeing for myself that beauty has no size, shape, color, age, or type has opened my eyes to the possibility that maybe I have my own kind of beauty, too.
In addition to surrounding myself with so many different body types, I've been literally living and breathing body positive affirmations and beliefs. The things I post to my Facebook page and private group are wholly uplifting, inspirational things. I want the space I cultivate to be filthy with positivity and empowerment. In collecting these sayings, pictures, memes, and articles, I've been bombarding myself with these beliefs and in a way, undoing years of seeing "perfect" bodies in media and the status quo of what a woman "should" look like. Without meaning to, I've been fighting fire with fire, and it has changed my life!
Moreso than ever, I believe that our environment impacts our thoughts, which become our words, which become our beliefs. The best thing we can do for ourselves is to take extreme and total control of that narrative, and turn it around to serve us. Look at yourself in the mirror every day--EVERY DAMN DAY--and compliment yourself. Start with your favorite features, and give some love to things you see as flaws; your stretch marks, your cellulite, your saggy spots. Love them, and yourself, completely. Throw yourself into a world of affirmations, empowering women, uplifting company. Change your environment however you have to, but make it RADICAL.
For me, boudoir changed the way I feel about my most important possession in the world: my body. It means my daughter will always have a mother who practices what she preaches in self-love, acceptance, and finding happiness within yourself. I couldn't be any luckier to do what I do, and to have the opportunity to spread this freeing feeling to other women. Thank you to all who have supported this journey so far, and my heartfelt gratitude to every woman who has shown me what beautiful truly is. You've changed my life.