Boudoir Photos Made Me See My Own Beauty

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boudoir photosI recently took a leap and bared it all in a boudoir photoshoot. It took me taking all my clothes off in front of a camera and a few friends to start to recognize that my body could be objectively beautiful. For the last year (and to be honest many more previously if not so seriously) I’ve been trying to work my way towards self acceptance and self love, of my body as well as my soul.

This was not just for myself; This was because I was now a mother. 

At around 1 year postpartum I had a realization. I wasn’t going to bounce back, not today and not ever. In fact, the bounce back was a lie I had been sold along with a whole host of others about my body and whether it was deemed acceptable by society.

I had been told for as long as I can remember that my body wasn’t the ideal.

Even at my thinnest I was still going to have curves. So after building another human inside myself, why would I possibly end up so? Additionally now that I had built said human, I was no longer the same inside both emotionally and physically, so why would I want to appear so on the outside?

I was done trying to bounce back, to conform, and on the road to self love and giving up self hate.

It’s a goal. It hasn’t been achieved but it’s where I’ve been living for almost a year. 

I had changed, made space, and filled myself up with love and kindness for this tiny person. And I didn’t want to tear myself down emotionally or physically anymore. I was done.

I was now going to focus on strength, not size or numbers. I was going to focus on eating what felt good, not just in the moment but long term, and accepting that sometimes a brownie was definitely in order. That balance is what keeps us sane, a balance of exercise, fun, and food.

After a year of living this lifestyle I do feel that I’ve made progress.

I’m not constantly comparing myself the way I used to. I don’t hate myself for my sweet tooth and see it as a fatal flaw, and I no longer sneak eat. I joined a pole dancing studio which I love and makes me feel sexy while I’m there and often even after I leave. I had made it this far knowing that I wanted my daughter to grow up seeing a woman who loved herself to fight against all the negative body messages in our society.

However I had yet to have a moment where I could look at myself and say “I am beautiful” and really truly mean it.

So when my friend who is a photographer decided to expand her business from maternity and newborn shoots to boudoir photos and offered an amazing deal with hair, make-up, and champagne at her very professional studio I jumped at it. Plus it was almost the anniversary of when my husband and I eloped 5 years ago. This would be my moment to look at myself and see what possibly other people have seen when they’ve said I’m sexy or beautiful. Because I had never viewed myself that way. I could say I have great hair, or a pretty face, but sexy? Nope not once had I ever been like, “yes that is an adjective that describes me.” 

I had yet to have a moment where I could look at myself and say “I am beautiful” and really truly mean it.

The day came and I had almost backed out more times than I could count. There would be five of us from my moms group posing that day, each of us getting the undivided attention of Amber from Naturally Newborn.  I thought I’d be nervous, and I was, but once I stepped onto the set and the fan was blowing and the curtains and the lights were just so I felt like freaking Beyonce.

I felt like everyone should bow down. I was the QUEEN.

I walked out of that studio like I was floating on clouds. And right into a gig I had booked that night. My energy had changed. I could feel the electricity in the room when I walked on stage. I could feel the eyes I had garnered with my confidence and talent and beauty.  

Now I don’t feel that way every day, but since seeing the images I can pull them up at any time and say “Yep that’s me, I’m pretty hot,” and mean it.

I have days where I am a hot mess, but I still know inside is that queen.

And that energy will translate to my daughter. I won’t be faking it. I will mean it when I say,

“Yes I’m round, but I’m am built like a brick house and I like it that way.”

I will teach my daughter that though our culture may value thinness over all else, in our house we won’t be. We will be valuing strength and confidence.

We will value all body types because they are all good. That we will see the beauty in ourselves as well as others no matter the build. No matter the images in magazines or movies.

And I want to ask you, when was the last time you saw yourself as truly beautiful?

Your wedding day? The day you first held your child? Can you conjure up that feeling and put it out there so your child can know that beauty is in our souls and how we express it is different in each of us? If not then maybe it’s time to take a step back and see what could help you get there. It doesn’t need to be boudoir photos necessarily. I can’t tell you what it will take, but you’ll find it. What do you need to feel beautiful?

boudoir photos

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Liz McTan is an entrepreneur, blogger, singer/songwriter and above all a mom. On her blog The Redheaded Rambling Mama she focuses on the necessity of connection and establishing our own village. Liz also writes about maintaining a sense of self after children, and beating the illusion of perfect parenting we see throughout social media and keeping a sense of humor to stay sane. She is a proponent of traveling, protesting, and even attending festivals with your kids. Through her battle with post-partum depression and anxiety she has found a new sense of self and purpose in her writing and music with her band Echo Hill. You can read more of her work at www.redheadedramblingmama.blog or on her social media pages www.facebook.com/redheadedramblingmama and www.instagram.com/redheadedramblingmama

2 COMMENTS

  1. I’m crying as I read this because I so needed to read something like this today. After giving birth 6 times, I do not recognize my body anymore, and to be honest, I haven’t tried to get to know it. I hide it, I shame it, and I ignore it whenever possible. I need to change that. Thank you for putting things into perspective.

    • Christina it’s so hard. But we can’t hate our bodies into loving ourselves. Sometimes we have to get out of this idea of “once I’m this shape or size or weight THEN I’ll feel good enough about myself to do that thing”. I am nowhere near perfect but I am growing.

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