Are You Addicted To The Disapproval Of Yourself?
This is a juicy topic I’ve been exploring lately and it feels really potent to share.
When I leaned fully into boudoir photography back in 2016, I made a choice.
I would no longer judge my body for not looking a certain way.
I felt very strongly that if I was going to photograph women, I could not stay stuck in the unfulfilling cycle of hating my body.
By doing so, I would only project it onto other women - and an earlier version of me had done that for years.
So I made a post around the inception of my launch declaring, “Later, Hater!” to the nasty voice inside my head.
That post was received with such an uproar and I could feel the energy of, “fuck yes!”, from so many women who craved this, too.
I began doing the work of deconstructing the beauty standards I’d held myself to for so long.
I stopped engaging with content about diet culture.
I stopped liquifying my photos.
I started a self portrait practice that gave me full clarity about my body image.
And I stopped making my imperfections mean that my body was “wrong” or “bad”.
All that energy I’d been using to judge my body simply transferred onto a new target.
I internalized a feeling of unworthiness around who I was, in relation to being a brand and whether or not it - or I - was valuable.
This morphed into a harmful pattern of perfectionism, self-abandonment and people-pleasing.
I was told to be “digestible” to the masses, discount my price to fill my calendar and over-serve to prove my worth.
It felt so untrue and still, I did it all the time.
I thought I would fail if I let myself come all the way out in my business.
It felt a lot safer to remain small and unseen because then others couldn’t judge me, like I judged myself.
The deepest part of me was addicted to abandoning myself because then... I didn’t have to face myself.
So I hid behind my camera a lot...
behind the identity of what I did and abandoned who I was, to find success.
And by the end of 2020, I was completely overwhelmed, depleted of purpose and crippled with anxiety because I wasn’t being true to myself.
I started to see my industry as a grand illusion.
PREACH SELF LOVE! … But don’t let your clients see themselves un-retouched.
FUCK BEAUTY STANDARDS! … But still adhere to them.
There was this bright red overlap of ideologies that felt fake and performative.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I love the art of creating an empowering experience.
Seeing women light up when they step out in an outfit they love or gasp in awe when I show them a shot straight from the camera… it fills my cup!
However! Most, if not all of us struggle with our image — dressed up or not.
And boudoir photography has been historically marketed as a magical fix - a boost to our self-esteem.
Of course, that is the desired result!
But please know this.
You will view your images through the unconscious filter of how you feel about yourself.
Regardless of your hair, makeup, wardrobe, posing, etc...
And if you’re addicted to the disapproval of yourself, you might struggle to see past your insecurities.
As I began to realize this, I felt a huge responsibility to control how my clients viewed themselves.
My rescuer instinct took over many many times because I couldn’t sit with other people’s discomfort.
To be totally honest, I thought it meant something was wrong with my work if a client picked herself apart.
But I no longer judge my craft by how perfect I can make my clients look.
I welcome the vulnerable conversations around this universal experience of seeing ourselves.
Knowing that I can be an example of the work, but I cannot do the work for you.
And in doing so, I’ve been realigned with my purpose; to guide you back home to yourself.