Let's talk about girl gangs for a hot minute. I've never actually been part of one, and for the longest time I thought there was something tragically rejectable about me. I don't recall having a childhood filled with sleepovers or birthday parties, but I grew up perfectly content playing in my own imagination. When I was in the 3rd grade I remember sitting quietly at my desk and observing a group of girls in my class who were learning origami. Amused by their laughter and playfulness, but shy as all hell, it took every ounce of courage I had to lean in and ask to join them. They were the popular girls, and I was the girl who thought she was cool for wearing a pair of fake eyeglasses she begged her mom for before Christmas. I guess you could say the cards weren't really stacked in my favor, but I played them anyway! Without a hint of a pause, their response was a resounding no. My cheeks flushed red immediately, and I felt humiliated for asking, perpetually jolted by their lack of consideration. All at once my social anxiety ignited, and any semblance of bravery I had in asking to be included after that quickly dissipated. It's something I've struggled with throughout the majority of my life, but have shied away from discussing because it's uncomfortable to admit that I didn't feel like I belonged among a group of girls- and now, it's freeing to realize that that's not true... not even close. When you're rejected as a kid, though, that feeling has an opportunity to bleed into your perception of the world, and that's exactly what I allowed to happen.
I've often wondered why there's all this pressure to be part of a girl gang, or to have a bunch of friends and "find your tribe". I don't have an ongoing group text with a dozen other girlfriends, or spontaneous weekly get-togethers with my besties. In fact, the majority of my closest friends don't even know each other! I'm a classic introvert who loves to spend time cultivating a little creative bubble of personal space. In other words, I'm not like the Little Mermaid; I wanna be where the people aren't, and up until I learned this was a core part of who I was, I felt rather ashamed about it. On one hand, I crave real connections with people, while on the other, I feel most like myself when I'm alone or engaging in a good one-on-one conversation. Social gatherings always exhaust me, and I require a solid day or two, unbothered, to recharge afterward - that alone, always used to make me wonder what the hell was wrong with me. It wasn't until I learned more about my introverted-ness that I began to accept myself, rather than resent who I was. You see, a lot of my negative self-talk was rooted in a very damaging mindset that convinced me I was unwanted. This mindset not only caused toxic and unhealthy coping mechanisms, but it fired up my insecurities and left me with very little self respect. I ignored my gut instincts all the time, and instead, fed the inner bully who told me I wasn't worthy of healthy relationships and meaningful friendships.
After a particularly draining season of trying my hardest to be #allthethings, I took steps to protect my energy, and selectively expend it on people and projects that felt good to me. When I discovered boudoir it took me a while to understand why I was so drawn to it, and I've realized that at the heart of it, I'm leaning in and asking you to join me. I want you to feel accepted, and most importantly, I want to show you that you are enough, and that you do, in fact, belong. It'd be easy to say it's an expansion of my girl gang, but that's clearly not what it is, and I can talk all day about body positivity and self love, that while extremely valid and important, isn't the true catalyst behind my business. It's about inviting you into my bubble and reminding you that you're not alone in your struggles - whatever they may be - and showing you how goddamn remarkable you really are, despite them. Because the truth is, we all have our faults, stories, traumas, insecurities, and scars. We've all built up stories about our past and felt crippled by at least one of them. So this is my way of helping you to free yourself from a damaging mindset.
The other day, I met with a wonderful client to deliver her order, and while she giddly flipped through her album, her eyes lit up and she swooned, "do you ever see a photo of yourself that you just can't stop staring at because it's like, holy moly, that's me," and I gotta say, watching a woman learn to accept herself before my very eyes, marries me to my work. It quite literally makes my heart obnoxiously pitter patter! So, I hope you'll build up the courage to reach out, because you're always welcome here.