Raise your hand if you Love your body.
Raise your hand if you think you look amazing.
Raise your hand if your self-image is positive and strong.
Don’t know about you, but I ain’t raised my hand yet. I could write a list that covered multiple pages of all the things I don’t think, but KNOW are wrong with me. I would map out every lump, bump, blemish and flaw that screams at me every time I look in the mirror. And if I see it, I know you can too. It didn’t matter how many times my husband told me I was beautiful; I would whip out that list and counter every compliment with a plethora of reasons he was wrong.
There is very little photographic evidence that I existed for the first 45 years of my life. I made sure I was the one behind the camera, so I didn’t have to see the ugly that I felt showed up on the film. I can’t think of one picture of myself that I liked, so why waste the film?
About 5 years ago, after a devastating bout of depression, I came to a realization. I’m not perfect, never have been and never will be, but I’m still important and special, just because I exist. I don’t have to do or be anything other than ME. Every roll, scar and stretchmark are validation that I have lived. I wouldn’t trade a single line across my tummy, because that is where my babies grew. Comparing myself to some 20 something super model is ridiculous, because they haven’t lived my life, nor I them.
I also needed to begin validating my husbands feeling. When he told me I was beautiful, why did I need to argue that? Maybe I am sexy and desirable to him because he
did pick me to be his mate. I don’t find every man equally attractive and not all the men I am attracted to are super models. My biggest light bulb moment came when I came to the conclusion that if someone finds me unattractive, so? If I’m not your cup of tea, drink elsewhere. Not everyone has to like me, but I do, and that’s enough.
So, in the last few years, there has become more and more evidence that I existed, including a shoot at Big Sky Boudoir. I was able to attend a shoot with a friend before mine, and it was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. Like me, she is a bigger girl, and I found myself in tears watching her come to life through that lens. I also got to experience her husband breaking down in tears as he saw the love of his life in pictures for the first time. The entire experience was a magical. Some months later, I found myself at a shoot of my own. It was a beautifully organic experience that began with a shoot for me and ended with pictures of my husband and I that I will cherish forever. Nothing about the experience or results was about my flaws, but about capturing a moment in time that I hope to never forget.
When you walk out of your house, do so with your head up, chest out, standing tall and know that you are special, just because you exist.