Today I wanted to write about me, myself and I. It can sound a bit pretentious but this is not the point of this article. I am going to share with you a part of my life that was pretty difficult with a life experience that happened 8 years ago.
Believe it or not, it’s not because I have a Boudoir photography business that I always felt in harmony with my body. Let’s go back in time and see how photography helped me to feel more self-confident.
Middle school was rough
If there is a period of my life where I don’t want to go back, it is definitively middle school. I hated it, even if I met one of my best friend then, I don’t have lots of good memories. You are still young, but yet old enough to care about other people's opinions. It was pretty much when my self-esteem went "hasta la vista baby!".
When I was a teenager, I was very thin. Too thin. Some people told me I was anorexic (you know how children can be mean!). I come from a tiny little family and I took everything from my mom side: small boobies, not tall, thin bones. We could have been a lilliputian family (the only interloper is my butt, my mom got it too, I truly don’t know where it comes from!). I was and I am still a pretty short person but on the top of it I had buck teeth. Not because I was sucking my thumb, no I wanted more than that, I was sucking 3 of my fingers (at the same time!). Then of course I got braces at the age of 15.
When you are in your teenager phase, you are way more vulnerable and you take all of the negativity from others as if it was the truth. Even if I never felt ugly, I had no self-esteem for several years because of all of the tough teasing I got from others.
Apprenticeship, the beginning of freedom
Long story short, middle school sucked and I was happy it ended. What hapepned after? Well, before we start, just know that, in France, you have 3 options after middle school: you either go to high school, university or apprenticeship. I went for the last one because I wanted to learn a profession and get a paycheck. It works like this: first you need to find the field where you wanna work in, second you find a business ready to hire you and then a school who teaches the profession you choose.
I have done 7 years of apprenticeship (2 years of dog grooming, 2 years of sales and 3 years of photography) and every year was one more step towards freedom and self-development.
The time I won back my self-esteem
When I started my first year of photography school, I was still a bit shy. My arms were often crossed and my shoulders were tense. I remember my classmates telling me to relax and put my shoulders down.
When you learn photography, you also have to learn how to pose. It is very important to understand how modelling works if you want to be able to guide your model in a better way. The first times as a model was tough for me. I felt awkward, stupid. It was so not natural and I was afraid of smiling. Then there is a moment, you decide to take it as a game, an experience that happens few times in a life. After a few times, you start to relax, smile more naturally, pose by yourself and you take off your clothes more easily.
For me it was pure freedom, especially when I saw the results on the screen. I was like: “oh man, I look gorgeous, is that me?!”
The final step of my self-confidence goal, was to pose fully naked, which I did! Trust me, once you put down your vulnerability and your clothes, you feel ready to dance naked in the street!
As a photographer, it has been a while since I met someone who loves 100% of his/her body. Even me, sometimes I catch myself thinking that I would like to change a physical part of my body. But what is the point of those thoughts?
Here is a good exercise
Find a mirror where you can see yourself, from your head to your feet. Go naked and look at every centimeters of your body, even your intimate parts. Start to think about what you like in yourself, don’t let negative thoughts coming through.
Then everyday you are facing a mirror, take 5/10 min to think about the parts of your body you don’t like and for each of those, start telling yourself out loud that you are beautiful, those parts are awesome, it is not a big deal to have something physically different, that it doesn’t change the fact you are strong, smart, sexy and pretty. It sounds silly and ridiculous but trust me it does work if you work on it daily. Telling yourself something positive everyday will help your brain to believe in it.
And you, what is your story?