In fact, when I first started my business I didn't even know I needed to be saved. I'm not talking about being saved by another person either, I needed to discover this passion I didn't know I had. My entire life I felt as if I needed to be accepted by those around me. I was so insecure in my marriage that it completely fell apart. My own insecurities led to a huge lack of inner self confidence and it was truly all my fault. I didn't feel beautiful, I didn't feel accepted, and I didn't feel loved. For a long time I blamed someone else for all these reason's of feeling insignificant, but I was never going to feel these things unless I accepted myself.
It wasn't until I began to pull out confidence in other women, that I began to pull out the confidence in myself. I tell women daily to love themselves, to accept themselves for who they are at this time in their life, and to love their bodies at every stage hereafter. A bit hypocritical because I would have been the first person to put myself down. I hit a realization a couple of months ago when I watched my work start to transform. I was steering away from the "Pinterest pretty" shoots, and started photographing real women while bringing out more simplicity, beauty, and raw emotion (thank you Denise Birdsong for challenging me to step out of my comfort zone). Not only that, I was bringing out a piece of myself in each of the clients I shot, and to me that was a beautiful reflection of my work. It was what made me stand out from other boudoir photographers; a question that had been frequently asked and until recently, I'd never be able to explain it!
Slowly but surely I have been building up my acceptance in myself, and here I am sharing self-portraits, its something I never thought I'd have the confidence to do. I have been pregnant 4 times, I have two living children and have lost two children, I have been through 3 deaths of people extremely close to me in the last 10 years, I have been through a divorce, I have looked in the mirror countless times and not recognized the person looking back at me (internally and externally) all because I had lost sight of myself and who I was entirely.
I am the heaviest I have ever been in my life, and although people would tell me that I was beautiful, I didn't believe them. I had to love myself and appreciate my body for what it was and what I have been through, and also overcome. I learned I would never love another person, unless I could love myself more and be 100% confident in who I was knowing that I didn't need to change to make someone else happy.
I can honestly say, immediately after looking at these self portraits I took today, I started to tear my pictures apart and then I realized a few things:
One- these were the best self portraits I have ever taken (3 sessions total).
Two- if I were to be editing these of another client (and not myself) I would have been damn proud of the work I had done.
Three- I saw what I had been trying to express in my work BUT with myself.
I will love and adore myself even at what I considered my worst, because I am a fucking beautiful, strong woman, and I will continue to share this feeling of gratitude for oneself with other women. Every woman deserves to feel this way, and I am lucky enough to have a job that allows me to do just that!
With every challenge I have had to face in life, I have died just enough to let a better part of myself be reborn.