I climbed the steps to the studio my knees were knocking, my heart was thumping, and my mouth was dry. Why did I do this again? The idea of doing a boudoir shoot with my body fully exposed had me in fits of terror. I was looking for an escape route just in case I really couldn't do this.
As I got to the top of the stairs and saw the studio, I breathed a sigh of relief. It wasn't the dirty hotel room that I envisioned. It was open, spacious, and well lit. I saw the bed in the corner sheets rumpled, greenery and a chair in the corner. TRIGGER "I held my breath, I can't do this!" I wanted to hide, sink into the floor, run. You see, I survived sexual abuse for 12 years. I have been overcoming it for many more. But these women are strangers I'm not going into that. So what do I do? BREATH. I don't want to make this about me. I'm doing this because I keep my word. No matter how much it freaks me out. That's who I am.
I go to the bathroom and give myself a pep talk. My pep talk goes something like this "You are a badass. You are a badass." I have no other words. This photoshoot is for my husband, for my friends, not for me. It's not about me. That's what I kept telling myself.
I set down in the makeup chair. The girl asks me about my style. "Make me wild," I said. I figure if I can paint the badass on, maybe I can feel it. They all pick up on my uncomfortableness. I'm sure they thought I was unappreciative, but I couldn't put words to my emotion. Generally, when I feel that way I stick with the stone cold RBF, it's easier that way no one asks. They are doing my hair complementing me and trying to put me at ease.
Next, we move into the "room." The photographer starts arranging things and telling me how to pose. "BREATH"
"I don't do SWEET poses. I'm more about strength and dark." In my head, I'm thinking if she askes me to smile I'm going to cry and that isn't happening here today. "Why?" she asks. My mouth says, "Because darkness always seems to have more power." Mic drop -- did I say that.
I had this realization deep in my soul. This is about me. It's all about me. Why do I equate sensuality with darkness? Why am I ashamed of my body? Because it's wrong, it's flawed; it's fat...no because it was used darkly. I'm not darkness. I am light. Strength is not darkness; it is power. Sexuality is not darkness it is made to be beautiful; that's why we all crave it. My confidence in myself had nothing to do with how I looked and everything to do with how I felt.
All of a sudden, I wasn't focused on my stretch marks, my skin flap from my last c-section, or the extra 50 pounds I was packing. I was focused on how it felt to be a star. To be seen in the light, for an artist to admire my eyes, my curves, the way I held my head and the million other things that make me, me. It was like all of a sudden; the universe was showing me how to be thankful for her design.
These stretchmarks where the roadmap of my motherhood; this extra weight proved that I was content and loved. And that fire in my eyes was put there by a man that loved me to wholeness.
I walked in a sheep and walked out a lion. I will not hide in darkness, and I will not carry the shame of my youth. Today I choose to bring what was hidden in darkness to the light. Today I choose to love every scar, every stretch mark, every abnormality. Today I choose me.
Photo Credit to Stormyraye Photography Thank you so much for being the woman behind the lense that you are! Thank you for seeing the beauty beyond the ashes.
Makeup by Vasti
Hair by Tarah