It may sound a little stupid, but I have gotten pretty used to being “pretty.”
A lot of people think I’m really vain, self-absorbed, or shallow… but the fact of the matter is, I am just catching up. I’m making up for lost time. Making up for all of the years, days, hours and minutes that I told myself I wasn’t good enough.
Freshman Year Homecoming… circa 2002?
Circa 2009…at karaoke with my Other Mother
All the time that I sat there and believed I didn’t deserve to be loved.
That was all, pardon my French BULLSHIT.
Your weight doesn’t determine what how much love you deserve. A bad haircut doesn’t instantaneously disqualify you from being treated with respect. It doesn’t work that way.
When someone says “You are so pretty!” I smile, and accept the damn compliment with a “Thank you!” and I always try to genuinely return compliments as well.
But there is always that one person trying to rain on my parade and make me think that those compliments are undeserved. And lately, that person has been ME.
I literally cried when I saw that homecoming photo on Instagram. Partly because that point in life is hard to re-visit in general, but also partly because I needed a reminder that no matter how I might think I look or feel at times…I am NOT this girl anymore. I am so much stronger. So much braver. So much more confident in what she deserves.
I was honored and thrilled to be asked to model for The Boudoir Divas recently at their annual Boudoir Photographer Retreat, and I couldn’t for the life of me figure out why I’d been considered in the first place!
I got there, got my makeup done, Candace came and did my hair…I put on my high wasted black panties, black bra, black bustier, and lace robe…and I felt ready!
I felt gorgeous! I felt secure!
As some of the photos made an appearance on Instagram, I started to feel less sure of myself.
As I mentioned awhile back, I ironically LOST weight on vacation in Hawaii. In the midst of my return, I was dealing with things being harder at work, Sean losing his job the day before I departed for Hawaii, and more… and next thing you know, the New Year is here and I’ve gained 20+ pounds.
I was so disappointed. I was so angry. More than anything…I was so ashamed. I pride myself on what I accomplished with weight loss, and here I was, failing. Gaining.
My immediate reaction was fear. Fear of becoming that girl again. So… when I saw these photos from the amazing and talented Agi from Agi M Photography, I was having a hard time seeing the pretty.
I was seeing the cellulite. The HUGE arms. The droopy thighs. The plain face.
(I should disclose that I opened this email Sunday morning at closing ceremonies for Relay for Life, after walking over 30 miles in a weekend, and operating on the one nap I took from 1-6 am. So, I was not the most aware of anything happening!)
You know what? My arms might be huge. But I can change that! My thighs might be droopy… but at least my surgeon said the first revision wasn’t perfect. My face isn’t plain. I’m just a tad dramatic when I see myself NOT smiling. Agi was so much fun to work with; so full of life, so excited, and so passionate about what she does. She is one of those people who you trust instantly, because you feel like you’ve known her forever (she is perfect for this industry, because you’ll recall I felt the same way about the Divas and their MUA Peggy when I very first ventured in. You can read more about that in this post)!
I decided to open the email and re-visit these images this evening, after showing them to Sean last night and sharing how I felt with him last night. If you know my boyfriend, you know he is a huge supporter, and that he loves me for me. And his perspective was not surprising. He said I looked great, and then helped me plan my next steps for fixing what’s really wrong: how I feel inside!
So… here are a few of my favorite shots. Check me out!
Check out more amazing photos from some amazing women at the retreat in this Boudoir Divas Blog Post! Also, you can connect with Agi M Photography on Facebook! While you’re at it, you need to check out my super talented friend, Candace from Ah La Mode Designs. My phenomenal hair is ALL her doing! Also, the fabulous Peggy with His Blushing Bride who did makeup for all the girls! This was my second makeup run with her, and she is still as fun as the first time I met her!
I’ve rambled on and on… but the moral of the story is… sometimes you have to learn to see past what you hate seeing. See past what you’re struggling with, and know that you are captivating regardless of what a label in a dress or a number on a scale says. You’re not defined by how small your arms are, or how your thighs look. The best thing about boudoir is that it captures your beauty at any size. It’s not about being a Victoria’s Secret Angel… but the fact that you FEEL like one. And that you are captured in a way that puts you right up there with them in rank.
It’s a gift to learn to see yourself in the eyes of those who capture you the way that Agi captured me. And once I took the time to see that, I found myself re-energized and ready to get back to actually working on those things, instead of avoiding the way they look in photos. I’ll be sharing more from these talented ladies, as I receive them!
That’s all for now… but I won’t be gone for long!