As a body positive boudoir photographer, body image and self love comes up a lot in conversation. As a woman, it is my life's work to educate about, bring light to, and promote self love and the beautiful, emotional, freeing journey it will take you on.
I was emailing back and forth with a woman who wanted to know HOW I got here - how I went from hating my body/myself to loving every bit of me and who I am. It's a long long long story that I share a bit here and there over time - the best way for me to help you is to talk about my own struggles, because that's what I know.
I've been asked many times to hold self love boot camps and self love workshops to guide women on their journey - the bottom line is that I'm not a councilor. I'm not an expert. Well, I'm an expert in my OWN self love journey, and that's all I can comment on and share. I want to give you steps to follow but the reality is that what worked for me may not work for you - I can share with you how I did it and you can take from it what you will. There are, however, a few tips in general that I can share that you need to do/work on/keep up with. They are as follows: getting used to trial and error, perseverance, ambition, WANTING IT. Just like anything else, self love is work. It's a journey. It's tears and ups and downs and it's emotionally draining and it's difficult. But it's worth it. The work is worth it. The journey is worth it.
That being said, it's important to keep in mind that there is no destination. As our bodies are constantly changing, we have to keep up with our own journey and we need to find what works for us. Find our truth. HOW we do those things will be different for each of us. For me, it's about connecting to my body. Thanking my body. Touching my body. Journaling about what actually matters in my life. Journaling about the universe. How small I am. How big my mind can be. Journaling about people I admire - why I admire them - as well as thinking about their struggles and knowing that their lives aren't perfect, just as mine isn't. Coming to realizations (over and over and over throughout the years) that there is SO MUCH MORE TO LIFE than appearances. Than Instagram. Than work. Than my body. Than my jiggles. Than weight I've gained or lost.
Self love for me was taking CHARGE OF MY LIFE after years of letting my appearance and what others thought of me/my body (at the time, they were 2 separate things) get in the way of my entire life. I was not living. I was miserable. I isolated myself. I constantly thought I was being scrutinized and made fun of. I thought about my body 24/7. From the moment I woke up until the moment I fell asleep. Dreaming and wishing for the day I could afford liposuction because, in my own mind, there was absolutely no way I'd be able to lose the weight and then tone up and then I'd be perfect and I'd be HAPPY. I wished that I could just have been born skinny. The reality was that I was not over weight. I was sick. ***VERY IMPORTANT: Even if I had been overweight, that does NOT JUSTIFY HATING MYSELF***, Regardless, my mentality was so bad that I had NO IDEA I was even ALLOWED to love myself. It wasn't even an option in my mind. I only ever saw skinny girls with conventionally thin frames loving themselves. I never knew that anyone else was allowed to feel beautiful and attractive and worthy and strong. I was 16 and I felt like my life would forever be miserable because of the way I viewed myself.
If you feel like you need permission to love yourself, consider this it. I don't care how much you weigh - thin or medium or big or extra big or extra extra big - IT IS OK. It is ok. Wherever you are on your journey - whether you've lost control and have fallen into an eating disorder (wether it be anorexia, bulimia, or binge eating), or you work your ass off every day and obsess over maintaining a perfect frame - I'm telling you that it's ok to let go. It's ok. Time to live.
The images above are not retouched in any way. I have gained about 15 pounds over the winter months and, as I've spoken about on a few instagram posts, have gone off track with keeping up with nourishing and exercising my beautiful body. And it is beautiful still. STILL. I can gain and lose as I please - I am happy because I am at peace with and in love with my body, mind, and soul. Still on that journey right beside YOU.