The relationship I have with myself has always been a complicated one. I’m an over thinker, a people pleaser, a plan ahead-er, and I hold myself to standards that are usually unattainable. You can imagine the impact these self-proclaimed traits have had on my physical self-perception. It’s been a life-long, up hill battle to truly love myself, my body, and the reflection that looks back at me from the mirror.
That being said, you can imagine that that a boudoir shoot with Homebody was a very, very, scary thought, initially. However, the photographer that reached out me, Ben Elsass, was one I had worked with for both my engagement and wedding, and I trust him. I was intrigued. Why not!? Let’s do it, I agreed.
I’ll be completely honest with you, I hardly ate the day of the shoot. I didn’t want to be bloated, or feel uncomfortable in the looks I had chosen. Plus, I was nervous, and I typically feel sick to my stomach and have no appetite when I’m nervous. I must have curled my hair 3 times over, and I couldn’t stop fixing my makeup. I took an Uber to the shoot and nervously made conversation with the driver who was originally from Cincinnati, but had moved to Phoenix. I acted overly interested in Arizona weather and his job in real estate. Anything to slow my racing heart, and dry my sweating palms.
When I made it to the location of the shoot, Ben showed me around the Airbnb and I fell head over heels with its modern industrial style. My mind wandered to house decor and Pinterest ideas, and that was a comfortable place. I was early, so Ben and Mackenzie, a second photographer, were testing lighting and scoping out the particular places in which they wanted to shoot. Fine with me, more time to let my mind wander.
Of course, the shoot had to start at some point, and we went right into me lifting the black dress I was wearing up my leg so my underwear peeked out. I worried that my fear and racing thoughts showed all over my face, but luckily I got to look at the floor for the first couple of shots. But I mean, they had to have worked with more fit models, I thought. The light is probably highlighting my cellulite, and they’re probably wondering if I think really highly of myself. I hope they know I wish I looked better, and that I’m working out, and hopefully I’ll get there one day. My stomach better look flat. I wish my legs were skinnier and my butt was perkier. My mind was a black hole of negativity.
But something happened, I’m just not sure when. It must have been somewhere between taking my dress completely off over my shoulders and head, letting it fall to the floor, and ending up in front of the man who had shot me in my wedding dress not 3 weeks earlier, and a total stranger in only a bra and underwear. That’s when it must have happened. I started to feel…dare I allow myself to say it, sexy. Strong. FIERCE. I allowed myself to relax into my body, all of it’s curves, and dimples, and stretch marks, and cellulite, and I don’t know, I became proud of who I was and what I looked like. My heart rate plateaued and my palms stopped sweating, and I began to eagerly switch poses, and confidently stare into their camera lenses.
My body may not be exactly the way I want it, but my body is a beautiful thing, and so is yours. I decided that instead of hunching over and trying to hide from imperfections that other people would probably never notice, I would stand tall, chest out, shoulders back, booty proud, and love myself. Shooting with Homebody was such an amazing opportunity, and I knew I wanted to send a specific message: Your body is beautiful, you are beautiful. Despite all the imperfections you find with yourself, you are sexy, you are fierce, and you are worthy of love! Don’t ever feel ashamed to feel confident, and don’t ever ask anyone’s permission to flaunt what your mama gave you. Loving yourself, every inch and every curve is a long journey, but it’s essential to living your best life.
So, know that taking these photos was terrifying, but that I’m so very proud of them. I was nervous people may think they were for attention or to fish for compliments, I told you overthink!, but I can honestly say they’re to inspire, and empower. I hope you feel inspired to love yourself, because you’re exceptional, and know one is quite like you.