Goodbye to That 20-Something Me

Recently, I quietly made my 30th trip around the sun. There was a time I would have spared no expense on a self-indulgent party - costumes required to get the kegs flowing. Now, before you go thinking this is a story on how I have mellowed out or no longer need a good excuse to get in full costume contest mode, I assure you this blog is about something entirely different. I am a Leo, after all.  I will never outgrow throwing a bitchin' costume party.

But this year I had a rather sleepy 30th birthday. No "Dirty Thirty" shenanigans ensued. I spent the morning dealing with health issues and meeting with my real estate lawyer to go over contracts. I then had a mellow lunch with my mother and boyfriend, followed by a window shopping trip at Home Depot. I know it sounds pretty epic, huh? The truth is that this year, I was so content with how everything in my life was going, the fact that I was turning thirty made little impact on me. I didn't feel anxious, overwhelmed, overly-excited, or any of those other feelings one gets with a milestone year. When I sat back and thought about my rather restful and somewhat lame thirtieth orbit, I began to realize just how much certain things have changed in my life.

The most important and obvious change I discovered during my reflection was that my confidence and self-love has skyrocketed. I realized that I had spent the better part of my late teens and early to mid-twenties worrying about how I looked and if I was good enough. Was I attractive enough? Skinny enough? Curvy enough? Was I smart enough? Was I employable? 

Turns out I had spent the better part of 10 to 15 years worrying. With that much worry, it's a wonder I don't look 60 right about now. 

It was like I was constantly trying to prove something. I thought I was trying to prove these things to other people but I discovered I was actually trying to prove it to myself. I only worried about those things because I thought I had to. Society told me I needed to care. It turns out that I didn't.  So one day I asked myself, "if your opinion is the only one that matters, why can't you just change your standards that you hold yourself to?"

So I did.

I began to let myself know it was OK that I didn't lose weight like some women did.

I have health issues that can't be fixed, only managed, and I can deal with that.

I started wearing clothes that made me feel happy and sexy. Not for anyone else.

I started eating what I wanted to eat and nourished my body with quality food. 

I stopped having panic attacks in the fitting room

I started my own successful photography business and quit my office job.

I started photographing women of all body types and bringing them joy and confidence.

I did all of that and so much more. Me, myself, and I. I proved to the only person who's opinion I cared about that I had the right stuff; that I was worthy of love and acceptance. Today I am able to proudly say that I am a body-positive, confident, independent, empowered, and intelligent woman!

 Photo: Rachel Landreth, Goddess and BFF

Photo: Rachel Landreth, Goddess and BFF

I worked my ass off (figuratively as you can see) to become a better version of that girl who used to look in the mirror and list the things that needed fixing. The thing that REALLY needed fixing was my soul and it is on the mend. This will be a life-long journey toward self-love and in another thirty years from now, I know I will have discovered so much more about myself and the powers I possess.  

I wish you all the power to find yourself, to love yourself with all your heart, and accept that you are perfect!

5 Ways to Have a Totally Bitchin’ 2018

I feel pretty confident in saying that 2017 was the Year of Women. This was a no bulls**t type of year. This year, women took a stand, spoke their truths, and made impacts in various social, political, and intellectual areas. 2018 is already proving to keep rolling right along for us badass mamas. I’m sure by now we all have seen the Golden Globe speeches and, if not, google it now! I mean, Oprah’s speech? Can I get an amen?!

new year self confidence blog durango boudoir

 

I know our journey as women of the world will be long and riddled with obstacles in the years that follow. I believe that movements and sociopolitical change, like what we have witnessed in the last year, would not have happened without a whole lot of confident, self-accepting women, who came together to speak their truths.   

 

With that in mind, let us focus on a few things to keep us women headed in the right direction this year.

Here's an awesome list of 5 things we can put into practice, to ensure we have a totally bitchin’ 2018:

1. Be Nice to Yourself

Say what?! I know. Easier said than done, right? But I'm going to be firm on this one. For too long, we women have built others up while simultaneously, tearing ourselves down. Being kind to yourself is the hardest suggestion to put into practice and the most important. Building a confident-self and achieving acceptance and compassion for the phenomenal creature that is you, is not an easy objective. There are no shortcuts. But, to begin in the right direction, start each morning by telling yourself one thing you love about YOU. It helps to look in a mirror while doing this. Next try to block negative feelings and thoughts you have toward yourself as soon as they enter your brain. If you are about to call yourself stupid or fat, stop right away and try to really practice mindful self-love; replace those negatives with a positive. If you wouln't say it to a friend, don't say it about yourself.

 

As Sarah Silverman tells her friends anytime they say something bad about themselves, "why would you say that about my friend?".

2. Surround Yourself with Badass Women

I'm not implying you go out and get a Harley and only hang out with biker babes. But I wouldn't judge you if you did 'cause biker babes are pretty badass and if they share in your core beliefs, that's where it's at. What I mean is, make sure you surround yourself with women who know their worth, who strive for greatness, who will collaborate with you on creative endeavors, who share your pursuit of passion, and who generally, know what it means to live a full life. That's badass.  Try joining workshops, book clubs, writing clubs, pottery classes, or take dance lessons. Just get out their and meet some rad chicks. If your town doesn't offer activities you enjoy, create your own group or workshop and mindfully attract the right people to you.

3. Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

We need to go into this new year with our heads held high. We need to say, “here I am, world! I’ve got something to offer”. We cannot do that if we are still comparing ourselves to other women. Your body, your career, and your choices are your own. You need to own them and embrace them. When we compare ourselves to other women we are saying that we are not enough, that the grass is greener over there, that those other women have something we need. I implore you all to give comparison a rest this year. Start focusing on improving yourself for you. Set goals only you want to reach. Individuality is what will set you apart and give your life a purpose. The world does not need you to be like everyone else. Stand out from the crowd and embrace your uniqueness. Stop comparing with other women and start collaborating with them instead.

Treat yourself the way you want to be treated. See yourself the way you want to be seen.

4. Accept Compliments

This goes back to number one on our list: be nice to yourself. Part of being kind to ourselves is allowing others to be kind to us as well. The next time someone tells you that you did good on an assignment or that you look particularly lovely that day, don’t respond with a put-down. Instead of saying, “I could have done better” or “I didn’t even have time to do my makeup today”, simply say, “thank you, I appreciate that”. Then, take a deep breath and take that in. Hold onto that positive energy and store it up in your confidence reserve. We need to learn to start accepting that we are good, smart, pretty, funny, or kind.  When people are paying you a compliment, they are reflecting what they see back at you like a mirror. Accept the fact that they see something worthy of praise. Don’t let the fear of being narcissistic and egocentric get in the way of accepting a kind word from another. Like I said before, we build others up all the time...take the compliment, dammit!

 

5. Speak Your Truth

I feel like I could lead a congregation here at this point. Can I get another amen?! Every time I hear a women speaking her truth, I’m usually raising my hands to the sky and shouting, “preach, girl. Preach!” When we share our experiences with others we become storytellers. When we share our struggles, our journeys, our knowledge, and our convictions we are giving power to ourselves and others who are listening. We connect to people we never knew and open doors full of endless possibility. It can be downright terrifying at first to put yourself out their, exposed to the world, but you never know who may have a shared experience or similar story to tell and may have been too afraid to stand up and tell it. By telling your truth, you are empowering not only yourself, but you are empowering others to do the same. There is much strength in truth, and in numbers. We all have stories. We all have truths. What’s your truth? Go tell it.

Now, go and grab 2018 by the ... horns!


 

We are in the process of creating a small, half day workshop to learn how to cultivate our confident selves! We are looking at dates in March, 2018 and would love to see all of you there!

Stay tuned for details!

And until then...

  • you are smart

  • you are worthy

  • you are beautiful

  • you are enough

 

What's Going to Happen to My Boudoir Images When I'm Gone?

Recently, a client and friend, asked me something I hadn't had to answer before: "Do you ever think about what will happen to the boudoir photos when people die? Sounds morbid, but I know family photo albums are cherished, what happens to boudoir albums when our kids are going through our stuff? LOL" 

My response at the time was this: "Ha ha. Well, yes. I think children are usually much older and will understand at that point. They will think you are beautiful and will view it less sexual than you did at the time, especially since the genre changes so much over time. It will probably be tame by then...unless we move backward to a post-apocalyptic, dystopian dictatorship with intellectual and artistic censorship..."

But, honestly, I hope some of them end up on museum walls for art lovers to look at fondly (just like this lovely lady below). If not a museum (I know, I dream big), hopefully someone just like me appreciates a good female portrait and will find a classy and unique use for them. I mean really, who collects those old photos at antiques stores and flea markets anyways? This girl does!

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Why not assume they will be valued or have value? After all, we make art when we photograph boudoir. We are using all the elements of art: color, form, line, shape, space, texture, and value. So why not call it was it is? What is a better subject for any medium than the female form? Sculptures, painters, poets, photographers, songwriters, dancers all have one thing in common: their art form is dominated by the female form

That's right! We rule the world! (cue Beyonnce's "who run the world")

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Future generations will look at these images in a completely different light than we did when creating them - as we do now with vintage photos of the like. 90 years ago, women and photographers were jailed for the creating images like the ones in this blog. And look at us now! If we are raising our children right, they will have no need to blush or hide them from the world. Hell, if you're like a lot of my clients, they will have already been gracing your walls long before you kick the bucket.

Perhaps they will even view it as much more than we ever did. What could these images possibly become in the next 50, 70, 100 years? In the right hands, hopefully they are seen as they were meant to be and then some! 

Art can be kept in the family too. These will be YOUR children and grandchildren. I don't suspect a women that loved herself enough to commission these photos in the first place would rear children that would think any less of these photos than what they are: you as art. I was recently speaking with a friend of mine who also happens to be a photographer and, like myself, loves the photos she has of her mother. We find them goddess-like and empowering. Whomever "finds" your photos will see a fearless, confident, and empowered woman. There's no reason for us to assume you would be thought of as anything else. When these photos are passed on, your self-loving legacy will also be handed down. 

 

 Photo of Susan Sarandon by Robert Mapplethorpe 

Photo of Susan Sarandon by Robert Mapplethorpe 

And what the hell do we really care what they think, anyways! Am I right, ladies?

I'd be more worried about the girls taking half-naked, duck face selfies on Instagram, and what's going to happen to that content when they die, than I would about your art being seen by people that love you. There is SO much content in the world that these photos of ours might never make a ripple in the ocean of media. But I kinda hope they do, because these deserve a bigger spotlight than Kylie Jenner's Instagram.