Sensational headline? Check.
Real Talk? Check.
When I had my first boudoir session, I had only begun to scratch the surface. I begged my best friend to let me take her photos and I was hooked. But I had no idea where to go from there, so I jumped at the chance to help another local photographer out during her Valentine's Mini Sessions. And she was wonderful enough to offer me my own session.
Whoa, lady! I am not ready for that! I'm the photographer. I am terrible in front of the camera. -- yeah sounds stupid to me now too. But I had never considered being in front of the camera doing this. She asked a question that has stayed with me since, "How can you love something and believe in something if you aren't willing to do it yourself?"
Well, damn. I didn't commit that day, because I know once I make up my mind, that's it. So I spent the next TWO WEEKS pretending I was going to start eating better and actually use that gym membership... but what I actually did was drink more water and look for the PERFECT sexy outfit. And I cried, a lot. I cried in a dressing room, which was beyond embarrassing for me. But I chose a few lace bra and undies sets from Victoria's Secret, and a few over-sized sweaters - ya know just in case.
Going in, I was nervous as hell. I had been in the same relationship for 5 years - and in the two weeks leading up to this was less than interested, I believe "You know I don't care about lingerie or that kinda thing" was thrown around during my last try on the outfit and fashion walk through the bedroom. I wasn't very promiscuous prior to that either - in total 6 people had seen me naked, and two were best friends and roommates. So here I was, several pounds heavier than when I was last single to stand in front of someone new for the first time, nervous as hell.
The Rachel's were so kind and chatty that I was completely at ease working along side them. Talking to all the beautiful women who were getting their photos done. Most of them had a glass of champagne, barely anyone ate. I, on the other hand, was eating my feelings as the end of the day was drawing closer and closer.
And then I was standing in the bathroom, in my safety sweater, staring at my dreadful stomach and cellulite thighs, near tears when I switched gears. I was determined to pretend to not notice. Determined to believe, I am this sexy badass and I was going to remember that. The session was a whirl wind. I gave good face and I owned pretending to be the girl who KNEW she was sexy.
When I saw my boyfriend, I was on a high. I was feeling more like myself than I had in years. I was feeling light as air and was so ready for him to see the girl he fell for - not the one I had let myself become - and reignite everything.
Unfortunately, he couldn't see the flames of my soul were on fire right then. He could only see that my make up was "a bit heavy" and "not quite the right shade". BUT he hoped, I had a good time. *le sigh* I had been having the time of my life, but maybe I was still pretending. And when I saw the photos, I would realize that.
Now - let's be honest. This relationship was rocky to say at best. We were rarely intimate, and argued constantly. He was so distant that I felt like I was living alone. But I was comfortable - kinda - and felt like all relationships go through these phases. I was going through the motions.
When the photos arrived in my inbox, I was hesitant. I didn't open them for days.
What if I look terrible? What if I've built it up in my head so much that even if they aren't terrible (cause let's be honest - Rachel is an amazing photographer) but I am still disappointed in how I look?
When I looked at my photos for the first time - I saw my flaws, I mean how could I not -but more than that I saw HER. The BADASS. The GODDESS. The girl I wanted to be, staring at me daring me to not believe. I was in love with myself. I couldn't believe she was there. I couldn't wait to show my boyfriend. It was undeniable at that point. This is who he saw when we started dating. She was staring back at me like she never left and I knew he would recognize her.
"Told you the make up on your face didn't match."
Dagger to the heart.
"Babe, you know I don't care about stuff like that."
"I'm glad you like them. That's what matters."
I was heart broken. HOW CAN HE NOT SEE HER!?!
I was livid. I needed him to see her.
I showed my best friend who let me do her photos. "Holy Shit! These are great! You look amazing!" "I can tell you love them." "ok, I've seen them! Stop showing me!" - ya know the normal best friend reactions.
The more I looked at them the more I loved them and myself. I started doing my hair and make up more. I tried caring about what I wore - more than just a t-shirt and jeans every where. The more he noticed - I was making him look bad. Like a bum, because he always wore a t shirt and basketball shorts.
The more I loved myself, the more I realized he didn't. At least not in the way I wanted or needed. I needed someone who could see HER, because she was not going away again. She was everything I hid about myself yet loved. She was my confidence and self worth that I let slide because I want people to like me and I want to be a people pleaser.
So to say boudoir ruined my relationship - isn't far from the truth at least.
Boudoir introduced me to myself in a way I had never experienced. I could see what other saw in me. I saw a goddess and a badass. I saw the girl who went for it and refused to look back. I saw the girl I always pretended to be, but wasn't sure she was actually there.
Boudoir gave me the confidence to demand more from the people in my life and not settle for less because it was comfortable and easy. Because let's face it - I wasn't comfortable with it and it wasn't easy acting like I was.
[ALL IMAGES BY BRASSPENNY PHOTOGRAPHY]