Fall in Love …with yourself
What I loved about the entire experience with Andi is how comfortable and how flawless she and Stephanie make you feel. It's all positive. Genuine. Real. From the questionnaire you fill out beforehand - asking how you want your hair, your make up, how revealing do you want to be, the music - the entire experience was just as I had expected. No...it was better. It was a relationship of trust...easy, relaxed, full of pampering and genuine affection. When you are photographed at your most vulnerable, this is how it should be. There are no flaws to point out because you have none.
The reality is there is no such thing as perfection. And the superficial flaws that we see in ourselves are what make us unique. They tell a story just as well as the life we lived. And really, we're all stories in the end. Just make it a good one.Time is a gift, but as the years go by, we begin to feel so ordinary as we go about our days. We forget all the people that we used to be. But Andi...she takes those pictures and she tells you what she sees. Sincerely. She meets your gaze and sees the skepticism on your face and can't wait to show you just one photo. The beauty is that this is exactly who you always are. You just forgot until she shows you through her lens what everyone already sees.
She takes you from feeling ordinary to making you feel extraordinary. This is her magic.
So I met this amazing warrior of self love and positive self image about a year ago. And she whispered to me .... do brave things. It sparked a little sparkle of interest. Then she said.... do Brave things! A flame flickered. Then she shouted DO BRAVE THINGS! My soul erupted in a wildfire. She says lets do a thing.
THIS was the thing.... Never would i have thought I would ever do boudoir photographs. Yeah, younger me. Pre-damaged self image me. Pre-baby me, maybe. But now me? NO FUCKING WAY. BUT I DID! Originally it was for my husband. Then, while getting my makeup and hair done by Stephanie, I felt so pampered and so special. I was blown away by the first glance in the mirror. WHO IS THAT?!?!?!
During my shoot Andrea chipped and chiseled until BAAAMMM!! Years of self hate and negative self image came tumbling and shattering down. My own mind and echos of past demons have been my worst enemy for so long. She showed me what others have always told me, and I was too broken to see. Some may be thinking, isn't that awkward? She really is the most kind and warm hearted person. I felt so at ease and welcomed and appreciated. She really reaches right into your soul and shows you all of your sparkle. It’s already there. She just draws it up to the surface. If you have ever had even a small twinkle of interest in doing BRAVE THINGS! ... SHE IS THE ONE TO DO IT WITH. I love all that she is and she puts all that she is into what she does.
My husband is an incredible person, and I love him so much, but words of affirmation is NOT an easy love language for him. I understand that it is not his job to "fix" my poor self esteem, but something we talk about a lot is how we can best offer support to one another.
Doing this shoot was incredible (and also really solid exercise! When Andi says eat a good meal before, she means it!!!), but during I felt like I was a dressed up doll posing. Shortly after the shoot is The Viewing😍 This is where Andi brings you back to look at the entirety of your shoot. THIS IS SO MANY PICTURES, Y'ALL!!! It's like this tsunami wave of you, looking at images of yourself hot as hell, just drowning you in aggressive self love. I didn't even know I could look like this.
Back to my husband! I did the shoot for me, but planned to get an album as my wedding gift to my husband. When it arrived I was so inspired by how AMAZING it was that I totally gave it to him like 2 weeks before our wedding. Guys. He cried. He was looking through the pages and he closed it, turned to me with tears in his eyes, and said "This is what you look like to me. This is why I don't understand how you can feel like you aren't beautiful. This is you."
This was where it hit me. So now, every couple of weeks I pull my album out to look at it and remind myself that this is the real me. Not the me I see in the mirror, the me I see when I'm slouched on the couch all rolls and lumps. The images Andi captures are like a magic mirror from a fairy tale, and they show you the real truth of how you look from a place of love.
The session itself was about an hour long and you guys - my confidence was soaring. She praised the pictures as she took them and even let me look at a couple as we went. It was incredible. I felt sexy. And stunning.
By the time I left I was AMPED to see my photos. When Andi and I connected later for the viewing (which we did electronically because I live kinda far-ish)... --- I was shook. As we went through her reel of photos I just watched with my jaw on the floor as the images rolled past me. And that's when I realized... boudoir is therapy. I looked BEAUTIFUL. I looked strong. I looked at the parts of my body I always used to hide and saw raw power in them. As corny as it may sound, I realized that by shedding physical layers of clothing, I also shed the layers of a past self. I shed off the opinions of what is expected of me (and of what others have tried to make me believe about myself) and I found freedom. And the most marveling thing, is that it was there all along, just never activated -- my sexiness was always so suppressed. But there I was - in these beautiful photos... half naked and confident. In this body, in this life, in this world.
And to be honest, I don't know if there's a greater privilege than feeling that.