“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the towlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”–Mark Twain
I started my most recent journey to self-acceptance just as the pandemic began in February 2020. I found myself newly single from a 4-year relationship the day after Valentine’s day. It completely turned my world upside down.
It forced me to take a long hard look at myself in the mirror and I didn’t recognize the woman staring back at me. She looked hopeless, unhappy, and lost. She had been using food as a crutch to numb her emotions and mistreating the home in which she lived.
Those first steps toward loving myself were shaky and sometimes wavering. It was a slow process but ultimately brought me the most success. I changed one meal a day to something healthier for me and let that snowball from month to month. I added in more dog walks for some physical activity and nearly a year later actually joined a gym again. That first walk through the gym doors was fucking scary, but having a body that hurt like mine did at 31 years old.
The pounds started dropping steadily week by week and my strength was growing; however, my mental progress was still stagnant. Facing the fact that I needed therapy was difficult. While the stigma around it has shifted significantly in recent years, I still felt ashamed. Once I started the process and found a therapist I clicked with, my attitude around it shifted. I now talk about therapy like I do anything else. I slip it into conversations so I can be a part of the normalization of caring for your mental health.
I have always been a bit of a ham for the camera, but not feeling at home in my body forced me to hide from it for many years. With each passing month and a ridiculous number of selfies I decided I was in a place to let the world see the new me. She was healthier, happier and the self-confidence was just oozing from me. I guess Ben noticed this while we were working together behind the scenes and he mentioned he would love to do a shoot with me. My answer was an immediate YES! Ben is such a character and I knew we would have the best time. Plus I would force him to work a little harder because I know all of his antics.
Working on photoshoots as a makeup artist really helped with some of the pre-shoot nerves because I knew what to expect, but if I said I had zero anxiety about this I would be lying. Then I also had the added anxiety of them being posted to social media as well. I know that he would never put anything out I didn’t absolutely love, but when you are still learning to love yourself it can definitely be scary. When I arrived at the studio Ben really set all of my anxieties at ease. We reviewed looks I had brought with me, inspo images from Pinterest and he gave me an outline of what our day would look like. After that, it was all so easy. I felt at home and so comfortable in front of the camera. Ben guided me through poses and being sure to fully demonstrate said poses himself so I had a clear idea of what he needed (also this is hilarious and you definitely want it on camera!).
When it came time to see the edited images I knew he would not disappoint. I’ve had the honor of working with him for many years and it is always stunning. I will admit seeing myself in those images was thrilling! I almost did recognize myself but in the best way possible. I was finally back! I truly wish Ben could have seen my face but made sure to convey my excitement through a ridiculous number of gif and emojis. I was absolutely glowing for the rest of the week. These pictures made me feel so sexy, confident, and hella fierce.
If you have always wanted to do something like this but you are nervous or apprehensive at all I have to say, find some things you feel sexy and book it sis! I will come and be your personal hype girl. Even if you aren’t where I am in my journey, these will rock your world in the best way possible. It can be hard to look at ourselves in new ways but Ben will make sure your photos are classic, timeless, and above all else HOT AS HELL! Whether they are for you or your partner, you will not be disappointed.