Women's intimate portraiture

Be Bold | Orange County Boudoir Photographer

May 29, 2018

I was recently on an airplane, taking a flight to a place unfamiliar to me. Somewhere away from home and everyone that I love. I was taking a trip to meet other people in the same line of work that I do.  A feeling of sadness came over me. I felt out of my element and torn away from my comfort zone, even though it was my decision to take this trip. I felt like I would be completely lost and alone in this time, which for me, isn’t normal. I love being alone. I find my peace when I have a few days to get my mind together and show myself some love. I long for these trips, but not this time. I wanted to get off the plane. BADLY. However, by the time I could even think it, the plane had begun moving and I had no choice but to hope my feelings would change by the time we landed.  Oddly enough, a quote popped into my mind and stayed there during my entire trip.

“When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.” – Henry Ford

A thought crossed my mind, so I let myself marinate in it for the duration of my flight. My eyes were wide open. I find myself giving into my homesick feelings quite often. I decline trips and adventures simply because I just don’t want to leave home. I have familiarity here. Comfort that I wouldn’t trade for a million trips around the world or to the moon. I feel safe at home, where the laughter is familiar and I can tell who’s coming up the stairs by the way they take steps. Home is my safe place and I’m guilty of letting familiarity keep me from doing things that would make me happy.

I’m also guilty of not considering my body my home. I realized in that moment, what my real problem was. I figured out what I was truly fearful of; I wouldn’t be around people who knew me personally. I’d be meeting new people from all over the world, and I was aware that they would look at me. Almost too aware. I knew they’d be judgemental of my unconventional lifestyle and my visible tattoos. I started planning ways to cover up the things that make me who I am. I started mapping out conversations that would steer them away from knowing anything real about me. I already had it in my mind that they’d say I was too young and foolish to be in a position of power. They’d judge me based on the cover of my book, and not the story inside.

By the time my plane had landed, I was nearly in tears. I started to panic. I didn’t want to meet new people and have to go through the process of letting them get to know me, even just a little bit. I was petrified by the thought of all of my hard work in self love taking a backseat during this trip. I know now that I was feeling this way simply because my body’s changing and I feel a bit uncomfortable in my own skin. I have bad days, too. I’m not perfect and I don’t aspire to be. I just want to feel proud of myself and feel comfortable in this skin that is my home.

I believe we tend to do this with our bodies. We hide in them. When we don’t like something about our bodies, we cover that part of us up and often times, we dwell on little things that nobody else can see. I am guilty of wearing pants, not because I wanted to, but because I wanted to cover up my legs. I’m guilty of wearing things that will cover up my tattoos, because I’d rather not feel like that’s all people will see. I’m guilty of letting myself judge a woman’s body. That woman is me. Why is this wrong? Because I preach self love to every young girl in my life. Every woman who needs to hear it and even the ones who don’t. Yet, here I am. Judging my own body and allowing this feeling of insecurity to be the reason I hold myself back.

Let me tell ya somethin’. None of the negative things that I thought would happen, actually happened. The people I met were welcoming, friendly and so much different than what I had thought they would be. I only thought these things because I had seen a group photo of them beforehand. They all seemed so polished and professional. They were older than I am. Much more experienced in my field. Had I done the thing that I feared they would do to me? Did I judge them based on appearance? Yes. I absolutely did. I felt so much shame after meeting these people and finding that they were incredible and influential.

I ended up wearing a sleeveless dress, which completely displayed all of my tattoos, because this is who I am. I told them all about my family and my friends. I let them in. We chatted about our goals and how we can make them our reality. They treated me as their equal. This group of people changed the way I will feel whenever I need to meet a new group. Sure, there’s eventually going to be a less pleasant experience. However, I know that I have the strength and power to move past it. I hope that the next time you start to let fear get in the way of experiencing something absolutely wonderful, you think about all of the reasons why you SHOULD and disregard the reasons you shouldn’t. Life is all about experiences and growth. I grew stronger by facing my fear of judgement and ridicule.

Boudoir gave me strength in my time of weakness. I have to remember that. When I felt most uncomfortable in my skin, boudoir was there for me. It helped me find strength in everything I considered a weakness. Whenever I’m in a bad place and I just can’t seem to find my strength, I look at photos of myself. I find the strength by reliving my first boudoir experience. I put myself back in that place of vulnerability and I begin to understand just how strong and capable I am. Every woman deserves to feel on top of the world. Especially you. The woman who reads this and struggles in similar ways. The woman who finds herself in a dark place, but absolutely wants to get out of it. This one’s for you. Face your fears. Conquer them. Don’t let feelings of self doubt control you. You are in control, always. Be the bold and powerful woman that we all have inside of us. 

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