When I was little, my mother was so full of life. She took care of herself and I could see her self worth. She was the person I wanted to be like. I remember sneaking into her room to play with all her make up and try on her bras. Once I even snuck one of her bras with me while we went to my grandparents house. She was so embarrassed when she saw me come into their living room wearing it over my shirt. Thinking about how she chased me through the house trying to get her bra back still makes me laugh to this day. She was such a different person than she is today. Over time, I have seen my mother go through so much. Life has just beat her down. She has been battling depression for about 20 years now. Yes, you read that right.. 20 years. I watched her lose herself, physically and emotionally. With depression came the weight gain. And with the weight gain, came the self hate. It was very hard for me to understand, because all I could see when I looked at her was someone that I loved more than anything else. It hurt me to see her that way, but through it all I learned that I should never let my outward appearance effect so much of my life. I truly believed this and lived by it for quite some time. Of course I was really young, so outward appearance didn’t even matter that much.
As I got older, my outward appearance did become more important to me. Especially during high school, which is normal. I felt content with myself and I felt pretty. I didn’t feel that I was anything like my mother. I couldn’t understand why she didn’t want to put make up on every day or why she didn’t just exercise if she was feeling like she needed to lose weight. I know, thinking that way was horrible of me. But I didn’t understand the effects of depression quite yet. As a teenager, I couldn’t understand why you couldn’t just go out and get something if you wanted it. I didn’t understand how depression physically and mentally impairs you. I looked at her as if she just didn’t want to better herself, while she was feeling like she absolutely couldn’t better herself.
It wasn’t until I had children that I started to even begin to scratch the surface of understanding some of her feelings and emotions. It also wasn’t until then that I for the first time looked at myself and didn’t like what I saw. My body had changed, and I was no longer the person I used to be. I didn’t see my stretch marks as “tiger stripes”, as a lot of women call them. I didn’t see my soft layer of fat as “extra padding” for my kids to love on. I saw it as abnormal and disgusting. I looked in the mirror and I just cried because nothing I could do was changing it. I suddenly could feel myself becoming a victim of that horrible trap that my mother was in. The trap of self hate and depression and I couldn’t go there. I got to a point where I was absolutely tired of feeling that way and forced myself to get out of it. Luckily I was able to. It took a lot of work on training myself to see myself differently and to tell myself that I am beautiful and that these stretch marks that will probably never go away, are a reminder of the beautiful children I brought into this world. I would absolutely feel like a failure if my daughter ever told me that she thought she was ugly, it would break my heart. I feel that as a mother, we get to teach our daughters what beauty is in a woman. Even though my mother has spent most of my life saying negative things about herself, she has still taught me what beautiful is and I still see it in her.
The reason I have chosen to be a boudoir photographer is because I want to show women what beautiful is, and that it is within each and every one of us. I never want to see someone caught in that trap of looking at themselves and not seeing that they are worthy of being called beautiful. Boudoir is not about sex. It is about reaching within yourself and being brave enough to show yourself how amazing you are. We all have so much more under the surface that we refuse to show because we are scared or because we have never had the opportunity to really shine. I want to make the boudoir experience about that. Find your beauty, declare your beauty, and don’t hide it any longer.