I have a habit of throwing myself into uncomfortable situations.
Sky diving, done it.
Public speaking, check.
Starting my business with absolutely no knowledge whatsoever of running one, yup.
Asking a guy out, uh huh.
Saying I love you first, yup, that s me.
Telling my boyfriend I wanted to marry him and then giving him a deadline by which he had to ask me, sure, why not. (we ve been married almost 5 years now &) See, so there s definitely a pattern.
What s the method to my madness? I ve struggled since I was a kid with body image issues. I ve been through anorexia, bulimia, and depression in trying to find the one thing that will make me happy and comfortable with myself. Skinny was not the cure. I ve been bone-thin-stickbug-skinny and I ve been 7 different sizes, so I can definitely tell you that skinny isn t going to make you happy.
What will make you happy though is showing yourself what you re made of. What you re capable of. Because, when you throw yourself into something that you think you can t handle, and you come out of it knowing that despite your fears you still went in there trying and fighting, you conquer yourself. You prove to yourself that it s ok to not be perfect, because hey, at least you tried, and trying makes you the strongest person you know. And despite all the stories you tell yourself not thin enough, smart enough, pretty enough, savvy enough you prove to yourself that your self-worth is not tied up in the labels you give yourself.
It s not that I m not afraid of anything anymore. I definitely am afraid of lots of things. (I m so afraid of one thing in particular that I can t even write the word on the page I ll give you a hint though they ve been around since the dinosaurs and will be around long after we re all gone.) Ok, now I m shaking a little &
Ok, so, that s how I ended up in Koren Reyes’ studio with my bra off, wearing just my husband s tie and a thong. Yup, I was definitely nervous. My hands were shaking on the cab ride over. And when I walked in the door it was the first thing I told her (by the way, she does an amazing job at making you feel comfortable by telling you exactly what to do). I started off with about 6 layers on and ended up with just a tie that s how good she is!
What I found though was that the hardest part wasn t the posing or being naked in front of a stranger, it was looking at the photos after I found myself scrutinizing every agonizing little detail about my body and face. My thighs were too plump at the top, my butt was too white, my cellulite was showing a bit (actually though, in photo it s not as bad as I think it is when I look in the mirror, so go figure!), I chose the wrong panties for one of the outfits, which made my stomach look not as tight as I would like it to have looked, my face looked too serious in some of them, and on and on and on. Surprisingly enough, my favorite one was the barest of them all!
After finally choosing my favorites I left and felt like I was a mega rock star. Despite some feelings of not thinking my body was perfect I realized that I did something that most women would be terrified of. I know my friends would be, because they were all vicariously living through me as I told them about my experience wanting to know every little itty-bitty detail. And now I know, that no matter what I think the pictures look like (I can t trust myself anyway. My mind and the mirror clearly don t see eye to eye) I am truly amazing, because I conquered a fear.
Here are my tips for you:
It s not that you don t fit the clothes, it s that the clothes don t fit you.
You ve got what you got. Learn to accept it, love it, and move on. Life is too short.
You can t avoid taking the pictures because you hate the way you look. You ve GOT TO take the pictures, so you can learn to see yourself in a new way and learn to love what you have.
Your body doesn t define you. You re still you despite having chunky thighs, or jiggly underarms, or a mushy tummy. There are many other things that define you, so stop letting the way you look be the be-all-end-all.
If you have any reservations about going for your shoot, don t! The only way out of a tunnel is through it, so go towards your fear and get past it!
P.S. Sorry for the lack of pictures, but it’s not the kind of thing I want roaming around on the internet