A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about my anxiety over wearing a swimsuit on our upcoming beach vacation. Fear about being seen with a post-baby body that I had some shame around was gaining more momentum than the privilege of being in one of the most beautiful places on earth. I made a deal that I would return from my vacation with an image of myself in my newly purchased swimsuit to express some vulnerability, some reality, some intentionality and hopefully, some acceptance. I came back with that, and a few other things.
So, here I am. No retouching. No attempt at a flattering pose (obviously). No editing. No hiding.
Was I excited for Jesse to take my picture in my swimsuit? Honestly, no. Was I excited to post it here? Definitely not. What I was excited to do was to continue to let go of what other peoples’ perception of me, with respect to my physical appearance, might be. I am learning, more and more every day that this just isn’t the most important thing to me. Ultimately, it’s just not. While I would love to look like I did in college, part with my graying hair, wrinkles and sun spots, and the list can go on, it’s just not how I want to spend my energy anymore. And I can buy into the warrior wounds thing to ease the blow. Why the hell not?
It’s a bit of a paradox that childbirth does a lot for the loss of shame and modesty and in the same stroke does a lot to bring it to the surface too. I definitely feel that. In some ways, I cared less about how I appeared to the world on this trip among some pretty picture-perfect peeps, than when I was in my “physical prime.” I guess the grass is often greener and aging a little buffer, huh?
I do struggle with having a very health-oriented husband who runs daily, climbs multiple times a week, and eats like a champ. This sometimes leaves me feeling like I might not be measuring up. Fortunately, he frequently reminds me that he loves my curves and accepts and supports the hell out of me. I am sure it would be exponentially harder for me without this support.
I used to work at a Rec Center before I had my son and we had launched a body-acceptance campaign that I coined “Get Into Your Shape.” I am starting to really buy into that concept; feeling good in my body, my shape, and my sense of self. I would like to shed some weight because frankly, I can run and swim faster, climb easier and would like to be able to keep up with my son until he naturally surpasses me, but not before.
So, last thing. My posting an unedited and fairly unflattering image of myself is really just my own personal little revolution. What I hope it sparks in my clients is a little more courage in the moment. The whole point of having photos taken, at least in this type of portraiture is that we create relics of when/where we look and feel our best. My intention will always be for my clients to see authentic moments framed by light, beauty, strength, spontaneity, and play.
Now, off to edit some vacation photos!