This is the third part of a reflection on my experience with boudoir photography. If you’re starting here, you might want to go back to the beginning so you can see the shifts and transformations all the way through. Thank you for joining me on this journey! As part of discovering What Wellness Is for me, I’m grateful to be able to share the reflections and hope you discover something for yourself along the way. At the end of each post is a reflection section for the reader. Participate as much as you’d like and please, feel free to share with me!
I woke up early that morning, ate a great breakfast and was on the road before I needed to be. I took my time and listened to some fun music, spoke with a friend, and tried to remember everything that I wanted to bring with me to this experience.
Some of it went out the window. Adrenaline can do that paired with anticipation for something new. Old thought patterns creep in and where there’s any bit of fear, safety is what the brain craves.
The photoshoot took place in Bronwyn’s home, nestled in the hills with big windows and open ceilings. She and the make-up artist were all set up and I got to drop my things and land in the make-up chair to get going while she looked through the clothing options I brought.
We talked through the expectations. She asked what I wanted to get out of this, and I simply responded that I wanted the experience. This gave her permission to really play and go beyond what she typically does and explore poses and things that she hasn’t yet done.
I placed this exposed place of being I was feeling into her hands.
Coming from a history of abuse and neglect, essentially giving my power over in that way is not foreign to me. There is little fear for the question of whether or not I can handle what comes my way.
There was one piece that wasn’t in the forefront of my mind, and was slowly being covered in makeup. Can I show up with my chest bared and look into the camera with my soul revealed?
The musician/songwriter Forest Sun beautifully sang, “I’ve seen your eyes without their clothes. And I never looked away.”
I was on my back, holding my breath, holding the pose I was positioned in with my eyes closed and I heard my teacher’s voice, “Don’t sacrifice the breath for the pose.”
That was yoga, and how is this not? Breath is life. Breath is the inhalation and exhalation of Grace giving the body life.
I was not living in this shoot, I was hiding behind old patterns, being a “good girl” by being able to pose properly and understand what I was being asked.
I took a breath, I felt the curves in my spine and when she asked me to look at the camera, I did.
I was no longer doing Boudoir for the experience, I was fully participating. I felt the air on my skin, the sun coming through the windows, the lift of my sternum as I no longer held my breasts back.
I don’t know if she felt the shift in me, and it didn’t matter. This part of me didn’t need the external validation to tell me if I was “good enough.”
Going into this, I looked at myself in the mirror and saw the cellulite and what I jokingly call my “third boob” protruding from my right armpit. During our conversation, she offered to edit those pieces out, and I happily agreed to let her do that.
While getting my make-up done, the stylist shared that she framed her portraits and hung them in her bedroom and loves the reminder of how beautiful she is in those pictures.
The daily reminder boosts her confidence, and I can see how that would work. How many of us have pictures of ourselves visible every day to remind us of how uniquely beautiful we are?
It wasn’t until the next day that I realized that those pictures would be false for me. Without the cellulite, without this overflowing breast tissue, it’s not a real representation of me. I quickly sent off an email requesting that the best pictures are also saved in an unedited format.
I want to see me and not turn away.
The Photo Reveal
This was an exciting moment to be able to look at what we did that day. It was a week later and I couldn’t wait, edited or unedited.
Before our meeting, Bronwyn sent out a referral/discount card to share with friends and family. I looked at that card with shock and excitement. Do I really look like that? How much of that is the makeup? And,
“Oh, shit. That is me.”
When she started the slide show to decide if I want to keep or discard photos, I was patiently anticipating a lot of the same from the referral card she sent.
I didn’t love the first picture so that anticipation deflated a little, then there was one that hit me. My mind went blank.I still don’t know what it truly was that stopped all thought.
Did I stop breathing?
I was looking at myself and seeing and knowing what was behind those eyes. The intention, the feeling, the open directness that I hide away and only let out on rare occasions. All I could say was “yes.”
Now, even a few days later, I’m not sure I picked the one that caught me like that. We went through the pictures quickly and I got into the frame of mind to look for exactly what I would want to share with these posts, not anything about how I looked for me.
I fell so easily into the same trap as I had while taking the pictures. Doing it “right” or doing it for a specific thought rather than as an experience for me. I needed that experience.
When I got the downloadable pictures, I called a friend and shared them with him. Maybe, I should have called a girlfriend, and maybe this was perfect.
We laughed through all of the pictures I chose, talked about the angles, joked about how my muscles went into spasm during one of my favorites, and just looked quietly at the others.
Bronwyn brings an artistic piece to her work, and I’ve had moments where I just want to look at them. Not at me in a way that’s self-inflated, but to look at the curves of the body and the way she captures a moment in time.
You could write stories about these moments. Even though they’re 100% posed, there could be so much going on if you take a moment to sit with each one.
Sharing this with a wide audience is causing me to really think about how I want to be perceived in the world. What stops those thoughts from tumbling over each other is the hope that someone, even just one person, will be able to relate.
This one person will say, “Yea, I get that and feel that.” And just maybe, that one person will be able to reflect on their own life and see their own amazing and wonderful beauty. They might be able take some small risk to challenge their old beliefs and step into something new.
It’s this that I am choosing to offer the world. The ability to look at who you have chosen to be, be grateful for it, and choose something else because you’re ready.
Are you one of these people? When reading this, are you inspired to create a shift in your life to see your patterns and create lasting change?
I’d love to walk that path by your side. I want to share in the experience and support you through the changes that you are ready to make. I know that my experiences wouldn’t be what they are without those that were by my side.
I’m deeply discounting my wellness coaching services because of this experience. Until April of 2021, my packages will be half off the listed price if you mention this post.
If you want to get to know me first, let’s set something up. The link goes to my calendar where we can sit down for 30 or 60 minutes and explore where you are.
If this isn’t something that interests you, I’d still love to hear your experience with these posts. Please feel free to share in the comments, or send me an email at Emily@ConsciousLivingLLC.com. I look forward to hearing from you!
Emily Kamala, MA, RMT, MCHC does virtual Wellness Coaching and draws on over two decades of work in the wellness industry. Creating sustainable breakthroughs with single parents, and supporting sustainable wellness programs in underserved communities are her flames. You can reach her at 720-515-4178 or visit her website at www.ConsciousLivingLLC.com for more information. You can also follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram