18 May Learning to Love my Body (Boudoir Photoshoot!)
I recently partnered with Kate Timber’s Photography (katelens.com) to bring empowerment to my clients. When my clients purchase a 5 session package with myself they will receive a free boudoir session with Kate! Why is this significant? I feel the boudoir session is an incredible way to heal yourself emotionally and to release stuck, negative energy patterns, such as shame, being held in your body. This photoshoot is how I have started to change my relationship with my body and hopefully, if you relate to my story, this post will remind you that you are not alone.
I have always disliked a certain area of my body, my “baby-making hips” and the luscious belly that come with them. As a young girl, I had nightmares about the much-hated birthday pool party. As I got older I found myself dressing to draw awareness to “my girls” and away from my midsection. I constantly wore loose dresses and oversized tanks, hiding what I perceived as the worst part of myself. Even today I’m a strong yogi who dreads catching a glimpse of her twisted body in the mirror, stomach rolls revealed.
We are taught to love our bodies the way they are, but this is much easier said than done, and no matter how many “real women” campaigns Dove has there will always be girls and women wanting something they don’t have.
Yes, I could achieve a “fit” body by swapping a few lazy hours for more running and eating less sugar and more kale, but I love lazy days and wine! So how do we enjoy our lives, not deprive ourselves, and learn to love our bodies at the same time? Start with yourself.
That being said, let’s be honest, other people’s opinions do make a difference to most of us. So when we hear the cliche “love your bodies” we roll our eyes and sigh. Who are we kidding? It can seem impossible to love our bodies when people around us make us feel otherwise.
However, there will always be someone who disapproves, so we must do our best to disregard everyone’s opinions. This even includes the positive, the compliments and attention from others are obsolete. No matter how many men in my life have shown interest in my body it hasn’t made a difference. Why’s that? Because in your self-esteem really does stem from the self. I have “thought” my confidence was unwavering. After all, I love many parts of my body…but when I stand in front of the mirror, stripped of makeup and clothes, am I happy? Do I like what I see? For some time the answer had been no. And it’s not until recently that I accepted that this begins with me. Not with society’s view of me, not with men’s view of me, but my view of me.
Even though I realized all that mattered was my view of me, the problem was that I still didn’t love me. So what did I do? I upped my daily activity and replaced one meal a day with a doTERRA Trim Shake. I anticipated the day I’d reach my goal weight and finally be happy with myself. Problem solved, right? Wrong.
One day I woke up and realized that I should not have to take any measures at all to force myself into self-acceptance. After all, is that really self-approval? No that is self-improvement.
Then I decided to try a boudoir photoshoot and literally strip down in an effort to find my love for myself. I intentionally did nothing to prepare, I continued to have my wine at night and was a little bit lazy. The weekend before I ate an entire bag of puppy chow in the course of three days. Not the healthiest thing in the world, but I was determined to be myself entirely. At one point I had second thoughts, feeling fear that was trapped, poisoning my tissues, and causing mayhem on my energetic, physical and mental being. Fear that was rising, fear that needed to be felt.
The big day came and it was definitely an experience. I was vulnerable, no way to hide. I made a conscious effort not to suck it in, not to neurotically place my hair behind my ears, I focused on just “being”. It was stunning, for the first time I felt truly raw.
Looking at these photos of myself I feel moved. I’m not perfect, I have flaws, but that’s me. It’s tough looking at myself without criticism. Its a struggle to transform any negative self-talk. This is me, I’m comparing myself to me and I am gorgeous. This is my body, my vessel; my soul chose this body for a reason. This body is on borrowed time and it is remarkable because it is worthy of carrying the soul that is me.
I’m not saying that this is a cure to my insecurities, but I would never want to rid myself of all my insecurities because this is what makes me human. I am a spirit living a physical experience not a body living spiritual experience. Part of living this physical experience is having flaws, a monkey mind, and occasional self-doubt.
Now my hopes are that I can inspire you to start to love yourself without exceptions. Maybe I can encourage you to bare it all and shed your fears. This project has gotten me bounds closer to loving myself completely. I’m one step closer to believing in myself.
So I share these photos with you not in an effort to get your approval but to shed my insecurities, to love myself despite my insecurities, despite my humanity, and despite some people’s opinions. I shed my fears and accept myself, AS IS. This is me at this moment, no other moment matters. I’m not dwelling in the past, reminiscing of my sixteen-year-old self, I’m not dreaming of the future where I hope to become more physically “fit”, I’m concentrating the mind on the present moment.
Here I am.
“Because one believes in oneself, one doesn’t try to convince others. Because one is content with oneself, one doesn’t need others’ approval. Because one accepts oneself, the whole world accepts him or her.” ― Lao Tzu