Holy Side Boob!
The fierce Ms. Tyra Banks would be proud of me. A few months ago, I was photographed from every angle by the lovely, Katie Merritt for a boudoir photo shoot. Now, don’t get too excited, these were neither X rated nor anything found in the pages of Playboy, but elegant shots that examined my whole body in a positive and empowering light.
But before I went full frontal and revealed my body for what is it- a beautiful vessel of love and joy-I had to learn to accept my appearance and embrace what it means to be sexy. Not only for the shoot, but for myself.
You see, I am just one of millions of women and men who struggle everyday from poor body image. Whether it be the slim woman worry about what she ate that day to the man playing football who keeps trying to gain weight in order to please his coach. I was tall and athletic looking, but it didn’t match what I saw in advertisements. I also felt like I could not see my body the way it really was; similar to the mentality of someone who suffers from anorexia. I used to watch everything I ate, exercise like crazy and fixate on every imperfection I found all over my body. I wasn’t happy and I definitely didn’t feel sexy. I felt like I could never amount to the women I saw I around me; the skinny, flawless, models and actresses on television and plastered on Pinterest like goddesses gifted down from the heavens. I just could not be them, no matter how hard I tried and it ate me up inside.
No amount of reassurance helped. Not even with the ever-loving words from my partner and family. Neither did the countless saleswomen, with their positive feedback about clothing I was trying on, could help me feel better about how I looked. Nor did the compliments from students who looked up to me. None of that helped me see the light and the beauty that was me.
What did help me realize my power as a woman was the ability to laugh. The simple joy of watching myself try to do a back bend and fail. The difficult handstand in Yoga, and falling on my bum, but I still had the ability to try again. This elusive thigh gap– something I don’t think anyone really has unless you want stand like a duck- doesn’t happen for me. The way I look at it, is that my thighs are so much in love, they actually want to kiss and they kiss a lot. All of those simple ways my amazing body moves was just so funny and cool, that I started to see myself in a new light.
That’s when I got the idea to pose for a semi nude photo shoot. I mean, why not? I worked hard to get where I am and I can now see a picture of myself and love it- instead of critique it.
Luckily, my photographer was a trusted friend. She had the ability to make jokes and make me feel really comfortable. Always making sure I liked what direction the session was going in- which was pretty much heading in the direction of full on nudity. I didn’t mind. “Oh, that is some great side boob!” she would keep telling me. Apparently, I do a great side boob. I was loving every minute of it! Laying on the bed half dressed and seeing myself as gorgeous and feeling good about myself, was one of the best experiences in my life. All I kept thinking was, “Remember all the seasons of America’s Next Top Model. Smize! Think happy thoughts! Don’t hold your arms too close to your sides! When you’re done, we can have Pizza Hut!” It was a blast!
It was a long road to enjoying the skin I am in. I still have moments of insecurity, but I think if I can stay positive and have a good laugh, I can overcome them. Now I have the experience of being openly naked-nudest beach here I come-and these wonderful pictures to look back on and enjoy. Who knows? Maybe I will be daring and send some in to Playboy after all.
Make sure to check out Katie’s work-she’s amazing!