With each and every marathon I host for boudoir, I receive the same emails time and time again.
– I’m too over weight
– I have stretch marks
– My boyfriend broke up with me
– I don’t photograph well
Bottom line, what it says over all? I don’t like myself. I don’t want people to see me. I don’t want to feel beautiful. Treat myself to looking beautiful etc. etc.
Last week I listened to a famous photographer, Sue Bryce talk about how we are the only ones who hold ourselves back. And I really believe it. I took it on myself that day to try and bring more and more women into the studio who don’t fit the perfect ‘mould’ of what beauty is. We are all beautiful in our own way, and sometimes it takes taking a risk of exposing ourselves, to be able to show our beauty to others. Most importantly showing ourselves.
I began to think about what I could do. I could bring in a very curvy girl, a very tall girl, a girl with super short hair etc etc but it made me start to think….Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE has something they aren’t happy about with themselves. Those who we deem ‘beautiful’, the ‘perfect ones’, they too have insecurities. They too sometimes need the extra push to feel and look beautiful. We all have our hard outter shell which keeps us safe and protected. So maybe it was time to bring in our idea of perfect, and show they too are ‘normal’. They’re just like us.
I wanted as a photographer to be able to meet every single person out there, and try and change their mind. Realistically will I ever be able to accomplish this? Probably not, but I sure want to try. Which brought me to the night I messaged Melanie.
Melanie has graced my website, Facebook and blog many times. She truly to me is one of the most beautiful women I have ever met. From the minute I worked with her the first time, I knew this girl was not only stunning on the outside, but honestly has a heart of gold. She truly is one of those people you want to be more like. She doesn’t judge. She’s kind. She’s fashionable. She’s beautiful. She is MEMORABLE – she has features about her that make her stand out in a crowd. She reminded me of some of the most famous super models.
So I asked Melanie to do something for me, to try and help other women relate, and to show that even when we look at models on websites, TV or magazines, they too have things about their bodies they dislike. They have a story.
They are NO different than you and I.
So I will end my part of this blog by saying to many, take a chance on learning to love yourself. Give yourself more reasons to be happy about who you are, as opposed to what you’re not. You deserve it. Don’t be the only person to tell you that you don’t.
I will be the first to take my own advice. I booked my own boudoir session with someone I trust and admire. Am I a super model? No. Will I ever be? Not in this lifetime. But one thing I’m tired of? Is not loving who I am. I might not love it all, but that doesn’t mean I can’t love some of it.
Here is Melanie’s story:
““Do you floss your teeth with a skipping rope?” This is just one of the negative comments directed towards my outward appearance that has stuck with me over the years, and for the longest time had left me feeling insecure about the way I looked. I avoided smiling and showing my teeth for pictures and even considered corrective surgery to close the space in my teeth. Along with every other woman, I have struggled with self confidence. I have a list a mile long of insecurities about my body, things I wish I could change. I have not often spoken of my insecurities, fearful to draw attention to them, but I feel it is important to share them with you. After being told I had “bulgy kneecaps”, I was insecure about my short legs. I would flip through magazines and find myself envying the models with long legs and tall slender bodies, desiring to be taller and less curvy. Dark under eye circles, a backside that is bigger and has more cellulite than I would like, too thick of arms and legs, a tummy that I would like to be more toned, scars on my body, lips I wish were fuller, waking up in the morning looking like David Bowie- these are just a few body self confidence issues that I struggle with. During a photo session with Just For You Photography, Becky told me that she loved the gap in my teeth! Astonished, I told her I had a consultation booked to have it fixed! Her kind words and compliments made me feel like perhaps it wasn’t a flaw, maybe the only flaw was in the way I viewed myself. I needed to learn to love me for exactly who I was instead of constantly comparing myself to others. That one defining moment of realization changed the way that I saw myself- I was unique and I was beautiful, imperfections and all. When Becky asked me to be part of her project, I was ecstatic as promoting self esteem and confidence in women is something I am passionate about, especially considering my own struggles. Becky wanted to show how each and every one of us all have certain things we are self conscious about and that we wish we could hide, but as women we are all beautiful and should celebrate our uniqueness.
Being a part of this project with Just For You Photography was so empowering- from publicly sharing my insecurities, stepping in front of a camera without my makeup or hair done to doing boudoir photos. Becky made me feel so comfortable and when she showed me a few of the images during the session I was completely blown away. I had expected to see the images and instantly begin picking out all of the things I didn’t like about myself, but instead I found myself admiring the great qualities that she had captured! Not once did I feel ashamed or even notice the things about my body that I am normally self conscious about, she has this way of bringing out the best in people and capturing the very essence of their inner and outward beauty.
My hope is that in reading this, women will realize they are not alone in their insecurities- it doesn’t matter what body type you have.We all deserve to feel beautiful and to celebrate those qualities.”
A big thank you to the beautiful Melanie for allowing me to take some images….The first image on the left is Melanie in her state of natural beauty, no makeup, no hair done. There is nothing (honestly) more scary, than exposing to the world parts of you which you don’t like. So thank you Melanie for putting yourself in a vulnerable position to try and help others. It shouldn’t shock me, you’re amazing like that.