A few days ago, I had the opportunity to do a photo shoot. It was an amazing opportunity, as I won a contest and the hair, make up and sitting fee was all free. I said “yes” to the opportunity immediately, and was so excited! I have grown a lot in the past few years and I was excited for the chance to honor my growing sense of who I am through this.
However, as the weeks went on, the self doubt started to creep in. I had done a previous photo shoot with this studio (decoroportraits) and they had done a wonderful job. The couple who own the studio are friends and are both talented, gifted people who do amazing work. They are trustworthy and good business people as well. But, the last time, it was a photo shoot with my daughter, and I had been really focused on her and my hope that it would be good for her and her self esteem as a teenager. Even though I had individual portraits done as well, my focus was on her.
This time, it was going to be about me and me alone. Aack! That made me nervous. The negative voices in my head were saying,
“Oh come on. You’re 48 years old with adult children. Who do you think you are?”
“People will think you are vain and full of yourself ”
“You need to lose weight and work out for months before you should do that”
And on and on…
I almost cancelled so many times. I would look in the mirror or step on the scale, and the negative self talk would start. It was a battle for weeks.
Then, my friend suggested we watch a documentary called “Embrace” (which can be downloaded through itunes) . It is about a woman’s journey with her own relationship with her body and learning to love herself just as she is. It was timely, and caused me to realize how hard I was being on myself and how much I had allowed society to dictate the definition of “beautiful “. I thought I had come to a pretty good place in terms of my self esteem and self worth. And, compared to several years ago, I had. But, this opportunity highlighted for me how unhealthy my own view of my body was. I came to the jarring realization that I had been at war with my own body and didn’t even realize it. I needed to see that!
So, I went. As the photo shoot progressed, Kevan and Leah made me feel so comfortable. …not just with the shoot itself….but with ME. Their philosophy of honoring each woman’s unique beauty came through in their approach. With each wardrobe change (some of which required me to be very brave and vulnerable), I began to feel more and more beautiful. Just as I am. ..right here, right now.
By the time it was done, I was tired… but I was also at peace with myself. And thankful. I haven’t even seen the proofs yet. I know the quality will be amazing. But, to be honest….that is secondary. The growth that came from pushing myself out of my comfort zone is priceless.