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The Boudoir Effect

Updated: Apr 18

“Life-changing” is a term I throw around far too often. Last weekend, when trying to

convince my friend to get a new iphone, I reiterated how “life-changing” it would be for her to have a phone with a better camera and longer battery life. I recently found a new hair product that reduces frizz, since I never want to blow dry my hair. “LIFE-CHANGING!!” When I started using Instacart, found bras with better support, and found a fabric softener that actually gets odors out of clothing, I reacted to each situation with the same overwhelming amount of excitement. Because let’s be honest, when you’re a busy, overwhelmed mom, it truly is the little things that excite us on a daily basis. Don’t get me wrong, reacting enthusiastically to life’s small wins is something I will continue to do, and it does keep me going when the world seems to be crumbling around me. But recently, I did something big. Well, “big” in terms of my own personal limitations and overall inhibitions. For some, it might not seem so monumental. For me, however, this experience was one that actually puts “life-changing” in true perspective. 


If you’ve followed my journey towards embracing my ever-changing body, you know that, like so many of us, body image is something that has occupied far too much of my mental bandwidth and robbed me of so much freedom and pure joy for far too damn long. While I’ve come a long way in terms of not allowing diet culture to usurp moments of celebration, showing my body in public is one aspect of growth with which I still struggle. As a bigger-bodied mom who has entered this phase of midlife, I’m quite aware of the stigmas and judgments that saturate our daily life, both on social media and out in the real world. As a somewhat “public figure” with a large platform, there are limits to which I’m willing to be vulnerable. My body has been at the top of that list. Yet I’m also aware that as someone who has been extremely vocal concerning the importance for us to “show up” for ourselves, and how crucial representation is for all bodies, it was about damn time that I walk the walk. So it was almost fate that I went on facebook around a month ago and saw pictures posted by a woman from her recent boudoir shoot. Something inside of me was ignited when I admired her photographs. THAT was what I needed to do, and it needed to be with THAT photographer.


Leading up to the shoot, I had a ton of anxiety (like, more than my already perpetually heightened state). I knew I needed this experience to be all about me, and in honor of all the women who are me. I didn’t want to approach it as something I was doing for my husband, so I didn’t tell him. I knew I couldn’t handle opinions from people, so I didn’t ask. I did meet with my therapist, and I gathered together some outfits in which I already felt comfortable, at least inside the confines of my bedroom. The day of the shoot, my reluctance transformed into adrenaline and excitement. I was actually doing this. I was going to be in a room in which everyone would be fully dressed except me. Where every set of eyes, lenses, and all attention would be focused on me. This was something exceptionally different than anything I have ever done. Me, who hates coming out of dressing rooms, and tries to be in the back of the group photo. Me, who hasn’t even worn shorts since 2014 and is hardly ever in any photos from summer vacations or day trips at the beach. Me, who loves what I see when I’m naked in front of the mirror, but loses every ounce of that self-love as soon as I walk out into the world. 


To say that my perception of myself and the world has shifted since the moment I entered that studio would be an understatement. I realize that sounds like an exaggeration. I promise, it is not. The liberation that accompanies having the bravado to venture outside of mundane, everyday life, and, more importantly, our stubborn, unchallenged everyday voices, is beyond powerful. Giving oneself the gift of stepping outside our usual zone of comfort, into a space that is safe, attentive, embracing, and artistically soothing, while unleashing a side that has been suppressed and hidden for far too long, is nothing short of incredible. To finally own, connect with and embrace the raw, passionate, beautiful love story with our body, in this capacity, is validating, fulfilling, and seductive in a different way than that of physical intimacy with a partner, or even that of self-pleasure. It's an exercise in exhaling the false narratives we have believed about ourselves, and inhaling all the possibilities of living as the most confident version of ourselves, each and every day. In that studio, for the first time, my body was my temple, and I had finally shown up to worship at its altar. FUCKING LIFE-CHANGING.


Of course, Evgenia, the unbelievable photographer, knew how to capture my image in a way that no friend with an iphone ever could. But throughout the whole process, my body was still my body, and my presence was still my presence. I was still me. That is something that no amount of makeup, hairspray or lingerie could take away. In the final photos, I saw the allure of my curves, that I had been convinced for so long was excess that needed to be shed. I admired the sexiness of a voluptuous physique - the same "full" figure that has so often curtailed my pleasure of shopping and participating in other acts that smaller women find joyous. These images highlighted the undeniable sensuality and comfort in the softness of a body that so many people had tried to convince me needed to be firmed and tightened. My body does not need shedding, shrinking, or tightening. It only fucking needs love.


While I was riding high from my newfound understanding that I am, in fact, a goddess, and no one will possibly tell me otherwise, it was time for the possibly scariest step. I had made a promise to myself, and to the other women whom I knew needed me to come forward and use my platform to represent. It was time to post. I had to prepare for hundreds of thousands - maybe over a million - people to have the ability to demolish this new temple I had finally just discovered. Fuuuuuck. Yet, what started as the most intimidating aspect of this experience, quickly turned into one of the most beautiful. Cause guess what? It turns out that most people are actually phenomenally supportive and amazing. (I know, right?! This was a shock to me, too!) It turns out, when we choose to love ourselves, people show up to reinforce that love, and put up guardrails to ensure we don’t fall back into old patterns of disrespect and self-hate. I have been overwhelmed by the nurturing, the gentleness, the praise, and the encouragement, both from people in my real life, and those with whom I connect in the virtual world. It turns out that maybe we aren’t giving most people the credit they deserve. What if we’ve been wrongly convincing ourselves of what others think or would think of us all along, and none of it's true?! What. If. Cause I’ve got to tell you, the icing on the cake to this whole experience has been finding out that my harshest, actual worst enemy all along, has been my damn self.

 

To hear more about my experience (and Adam's) before, during, and following the Boudoir shoot, make sure you listen to our latest podcast episodes.


To book your own life-changing photo shoot with Evgenia, contact her here.


Click here to download my Boudoir Hype Playlist on Spotify.

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You look beautiful and brave!

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Thank you so much!! ❤️❤️

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