I have been doing some boudoir shoots for clients, and thought I should be the model for one so that I know what it’s like for my people. I wanted to be able to help them feel confident and happy.
My first thought was to figure out a diet or amp up a work-out plan, and lose a little weight. However, after some thought I realized that’s not how I wanted to live my life. In-fact, I have worked incredibly hard to not live life that way… So I decided to do this boudoir shoot as I am. Small boobs, large hands, crazy curls, hips and tummy. I wasn’t going to do it shamefully, but with absolute confidence and happiness. I was going to wear lingerie, and thank my body for getting me where I am today. I was going to laugh, dance and be fully present. I was happy, excited and confident. It was going to be a self-love date, and a good one at that.
Michael and I had talked about it, and I decided my day trip to the city was going to involve some lingerie shopping… I woke up last Thursday, and was on a mission.
I walked into La-Senza and explained the shoot to the lady working. I told her I’m an artist, which means most my clothing is oversized and boho (insert denim over-alls I was wearing today).. not sexy lingerie. The girl was trying to be helpful, looked me up and down, and said, “well, you have a large butt and legs… You should get a cute kimono to cover them up.”
I felt dirty, worthless and like I really wanted to disappear at that very moment. My body suddenly felt really under-qualified, and I almost felt like I shouldn’t be in public. I looked at this girl, and already knew she looked like what I tried to be for years. She had a perfect body shape, I don’t think she knew what fat was and her boobs were still bigger than mine. Her skin, hair and body were flawless. She was the kind of girl who everyone comments on, because she is the picture of what society tells us we should look like.
I walked to the change room, looked at the lingerie and didn’t even try it on. I left it in the change room, put my head down and walked out of that store. I started thinking about how I could cut meals out, get another gym membership and make losing weight a priority.
There was a four hour drive home after that, and I did a lot of thinking.
It went something like this:
Me: “Am I fat? How fat am I”
My heart: “so what if you are.”
Me: “But if I’m fat, I’m not good enough. I’m definitely not good enough for a boudoir shoot… Or good enough to be confident in my body. I’m not good enough to be a successful business owner… AND don’t get me started on my worth compared to other girls! Worst of all? I’m not good enough to be wanted, loved and accepted”
My heart: “If you are fat, you are fat. If you are skinny, you are skinny. If you are in-between, you are in-between. That is it. Your size is only a size.”
Someone tell me, when did our body shape give us so much identity? Why is our confidence intertwined with being a size 2 or 12. Why are we reading books, writing words and investing so much thought and emotion on something as trivial as body size?Why do we try and lose weight before a shoot? Why do we think we need to? Why is our size mixed up with our worth?
I bought lingerie, and guess what? I’m still freaking pumped for that shoot. I’m pumped because I’m not a size 2 with big boobs – I’m pumped because I’m okay with that. I’m pumped because I know what makes girls and guys look beautiful in photos. I know it’s in their love for life, in their contagious laughter, in their smiles and don’t get me started in their love for their people. My god, if you want to see beautiful people, watch for the way a bride and groom look at each other in the quiet moments of their wedding. Or look at the eyes of a parent as they gaze at their newborn baby. Look at the heart of someone helping a sick loved-one. I promise, size has nothing to do with it. Nothing.
I’m glad I have a “big butt and legs.” I’m glad my body is mine, because it has gotten me through a lot. My body has survived battles that I have never talked about, and it has survived battles that people see within the scars of my arm. My body has gotten me through illness, it’s gotten through trauma and it’s never stopped fighting. My body has given me the ability to laugh in hard times, and persist when my mind wanted to stop. My body gave me life when I attempted to end it. That is what we need to be thinking about as we prep for a photoshoot. We need to find our confidence in the bad-ass body we have. We need to find our confidence in knowing what we, our mind-body-heart, are capable of.
Guys, that is what needs to show up for shoots.
Why am I sharing this on my blog? Because it is my wish for each and every one of my clients. I know it’s not that easy. I still get triggered, and I have moments of thinking I’m not good enough until I lose some weight. I know this message about body-size has been so widely marketed that we struggle to see the bigger picture. I know it can be done though – we can stop trying to fit into a box that we were never meant to be in. We can be confident, which is so very sexy.
So next time you’re getting ready for a shoot? Put the pants on that make your ass look real good. Wear the shirt that makes you feel like you are a goddess. Dress your style. Treat yourself to a good glass of wine, and have a delicious meal that makes you feel good. Make a list of all the amazing things your body has done for you. Throw yourself into that shoot, and let you be seen. Show off that radiant personality, show off the body that has gotten you to where you are today and know that you are beautiful for it.
Know that you are enough, because you are you.