empowering women

Jessica on Learning to Let Go and Focusing Energy Inward - Scandaleuse x Shedoesthecity

This article is part of our collaboration with She Does The City & Womanizer, in which we help them feature fierce AF womxn in boudoir photo shoots. We love working with them because they know that getting undressed for the camera is a catalyst for far more than we could have predicted. This article was written and initially posted on Shedoesthecity.

We even have some sweet news for you as they are looking for more Scandals to feature there with a FREE shoot! Reach out to them at erotica@shedoesthecity.com

 
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“After her mother died, Jessica Flaman‘s sense of self shifted considerably. The process of grief has forever altered her, and it continues to play a major role in how she perceives her wants, her path, and her priorities. She is now practicing how to “let go” and loosen the desire to control all aspects of her life. These ideas and more are explored on her daringly honest Instagram account, @conversationsaboutdeath.

We don’t always connect major life events to our body or our exuality, but Jessica draws interesting correlations.

Feelings follow us everywhere; they often become the seeds that birth new ideas and likewise get us looking in the mirror with a fresh perspective. 

SDTC: How did it feel to do this photo shoot?

JF: Having people whom I have never met come into my personal space, see me naked and then tell me how to pose was a huge test in vulnerability, and I think I did a pretty good job! (Note from Scandaleuse: YES INDEED!!)

How would you describe your sexuality?

I don’t think sexuality is something that can necessarily be described, but if I could sum it up in a couple of words: curious and fun. I tend not to take it too seriously.

When it comes to feeling good in your own skin, what advice would you give to your younger self?

Our bodies are our one and only constant companion, here to support us, carry us and teach us as we navigate our way through life.

I would tell her to stop focusing so much on her physical appearance as a way to get validation from others, and instead to focus that energy inward. Chasing love and acceptance is a losing battle because those things can’t really be sought after; they have to come from within and be cultivated on a soul level. Ultimately, I’d tell her to let go of the need to have the “perfect body” because it doesn’t exist, and to instead learn how to see beauty in her strength.

 
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What turns you on?

Confidence, security, emotional intelligence, honesty and a REALLY good sense of humour! Anyone who can challenge me to do better and be better and who can appreciate the qualities that set me apart from other people.

Can you share with us about @conversationsaboutdeath and what inspired it? 

Conversations is a little on-going creative project I started shortly after my mom passed. Initially, I had intended to focus the stories only on death, but while travelling through India, I learned about disenfranchised grief and what a shapeshifter it can be.

By accessing and utilizing the community, genuine connections are made and, in turn, a platform is created for those who have experienced loss to share their stories. 

What mantra or philosophy is currently guiding your life?

There is one saying I came across a few months ago that I am constantly repeating to myself:

“If it is meant for me, I can never lose it. If it is not meant for me, I don’t want it.”

For me, it’s the perfect reminder to let go of what I can’t control, which I often struggle with!

What goal are you currently working towards?

I am working diligently at making Conversations more of a staple in the community. I know I am onto something, I just need to really dig in and figure out what that something is, which is more of a challenge these days because I am studying for my Masters in Social Work at U of T, and that takes up a lot of my time and energy. That being said, I feel very fortunate to have a passion project that is so closely aligned with my background in Art Therapy and Social Work.

What are you most looking forward to this fall?

Definitely going for runs down by the lake, in addition to copious amounts of dog park visits with my new dog, Jake!”

 
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First it hurts, then it changes you.

This post is a part of our series “If I Had Listened", in which we're reached out to strong-minded women we admire to tell us about a moment they chose to trust their gut and follow a different path despite other people's opinion. Read more on the blog!

If I had listened to the thoughts of doubt and negativity in my head, I would have never had the courage to reinvent my life.

There’s something to be said about being forced to move on from a relationship that I knew wasn’t working and gaining the courage to start a whole new life that wasn’t in my plans.   

 
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I started the journey of self reinvention at the age of 39 shortly after I received my walking papers from my ex wife. I didn’t move on gracefully.  The relationship hadn’t been working for a long time really so it shouldn’t have been a surprise.  On the outside it looked like I had it all; the great career, a large home, fancy car - the works. But, inside I was empty and unfulfilled. The scariest part was leaving behind this comfortable life that I had built. Would I ever find love again at my age? How was I going to start over as I approached midlife?

A few months into my newly single life I left the pitty party behind and began to refocus on myself. I now had the chance to  live a more authentic existence and I vowed that I would get it right this time around.

What did this mean? Happiness. I was no longer going to do things or be with anyone that would make me unhappy. It was time to get comfortable being uncomfortable.

 
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At the age of 40 I left my high paying corporate job to do something that filled my heart rather than my pockets. I tried new things. I took better care of myself mentally and physically. I travelled on my own. I met the love of my life while on vacation and moved to another province to be with her. I went back to school to learn new skills and another language. A baby soon followed at the age of 42.

I now have a supportive partner who is in love with me and is proud to be by my side. I have my own business doing something that I love. I speak another language and I'm a proud mom of a 2.5 year old daughter that dances like nobody's watching. She's magic. My life is magic. Midlife is magic.

There is this saying that I love and it says “First it hurts, then it changes you.” It’s amazing how allowing yourself to feel and own the pain of hurt or disappointment can change your life for the better.

I’m now a 45 year old sex positive, body positive, queer woman who is living her best life. I celebrate my perfectly imperfect body because it can move and I’m healthy. I nurtured and birthed another human being with 42 year old eggs. How magical and awesome is that? 

Because the process of life reinvention has made me a more courageous and confident person, I decided to start a blog. The goal of this blog is to empower and inspire other midlife moms who feel like they’re undesirable, lost and losing time to rediscover and reinvent themselves. Just like I did.

I once thought that I was too old to start over. I soon realized that even if I had only one day left on this earth, I’d rather spend it happy than with sadness and regret.

People like to say that life is short. It’s really not. Life is long and at midlife you have so much life to live. Why live the rest of your life unhappy when you can live everyday celebrating it?

If I had listened to the negative thoughts in my head that told me I was too old to start over again, I would have never had the courage to reinvent my life for the better. Tackling the fear of the uncomfortable is what lead me to the bliss.

 
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Policing Black women’s hair has been a constant battle many of us have faced.

This post is a part of our series “If I Had Listened", in which we're reached out to strong-minded women we admire to tell us about a moment they chose to trust their gut and follow a different path despite other people's opinion.

If I had listened, I wouldn’t have cut my hair.

I have always played it safe.
Always.

 
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As women, we have been conditioned to believe that long hair is a sign of our femininity. Especially as a Black woman, our hair is sacred. There are so many stories and beautiful memories we have of our individual hair journeys. Unfortunately, there are moments in our stories that aren’t pleasant.

Policing Black women’s hair has been a constant battle many of us have faced.

I remember feeling so excited to get my hair done but then secretly worrying about getting asked questions like “Is your hair real? Why do you change it so often? Can you wash it like normal hair?” Once someone told me, “you can't keep changing your hair like that. It makes you look unprofessional.”

For far too long, I listened. I played it safe. And because I was listening, I was holding myself back from being the sexiest, happiest, and most confident version of myself. 

I never cared much about Rihanna, but I loved how she rocked her hair. At one point she cut it short and I remember my eyes felt like they were falling out of my head because I SO wanted to do that. But I didn’t. Why? For starters, my mom didn’t think it was a good idea. Like I mentioned before, long hair is a sign of being a sensual woman and short hair to some means your edgy, reckless, wild, etc.

3 years later I moved out with my boyfriend. I posted a picture on Instagram of my hair pinned back and I got so many compliments. The one that stood out, encouraged me to make the biggest hair decision ever. “OMG! Did you cut your hair? It looks amazing!”

 
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I remember that moment so clearly. I instantly started scrolling through Instagram for some hair inspiration and came across ‘The Cutlife’. I was freaking out!

I saw so many beautiful Black women with short hair. Fades, bobs, bald...these were my people! Without hesitation, I found the first stylist available and booked an appointment to cut my hair.

There was something so incredibly liberating about feeling my hair fall on my cape. I felt like a butterfly coming out of its cocoon.

Unfortunately, she totally botched it but when I did find the right stylist to fix it, I saw a woman in the mirror I fell so in love with.

My hair has become a signature component of my brand. I feel free, fun, confident, and powerful. To maintain its freshness, it must be cut every week!

If I had listened to what others had to say about women with short hair, I truly don’t believe I would be the version of myself I am today. If you’re reading this and have been debating to try a new look but question if it’s professional enough or to society’s standards, listen to me when I say FORGET WHAT THEY HAVE TO SAY! DO YOU! BE YOU! AND LOVE YOU!

You’ll thank yourself later.

I was my own worst enemy until I decided to no longer be a victim

This post is a part of our series “If I Had Listened", in which we're reached out to strong-minded women we admire to tell us about a moment they chose to trust their gut and follow a different path despite other people's opinion.

If I had listened, I wouldn’t have bloomed.

If I had listened to the voices telling me “you’re not strong enough, popular enough, skinny enough, worthy enough, relatable enough”, I wouldn’t be where I am today - powerful.

 
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Over the past 2 years, I have struggled with depression and anxiety. I battled them until I couldn’t bare it anymore. I reached for help, went to therapy, am medicated and try my best everyday to work towards healing. It seems simple to say out loud now but the path was not easy.

I was my own worst enemy until I decided to no longer be a victim. As a victim we listen to the voices in our head that trap us, suffocate us and if we allow them, they can also drown us.

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On my way out of the depths of sadness, my business has become a platform for women. A platform to allow women, like myself, to have a place to share, to know that they aren’t alone, to feel empowered and be surrounded by a safe community. For years, my business was creating and selling jewelry until I found it was no longer my passion. I found myself disconnected and that is when my success dipped. I searched for a creative muse but it just wasn’t there.

My business slowly shifted and this shift happened when I started to share my struggles. The more I dug deeper into healing, the more answers came and the more I felt connected to what I was creating - an expression of growth through a line of t-shirts. Though I do sell a physical item, it is so much more than a product - it is body positivity, a community of strong women and a place for us to heal and grow.

The hard truth is, I am MORE than enough, WE are all more than enough. I am more than a body, more than a mother, more than a wife. I am a mentor, teacher and role model. I am everything I wanted to be because I believed, because I stepped into my power and because I did not listen.

All the "no’s" have simply been guiding me to bigger "Yes’s"

This post is a part of our series “If I Had Listened", in which we're reached out to strong-minded women we admire to tell us about a moment they chose to trust their gut and follow a different path despite other people's opinion.

If I had listened to all the "no’s" I wouldn’t have received all the "yes’s".

The amount of "no’s" that I have faced in my career have been endless, and have truly made me doubt my self worth and purpose.

 
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But what I have grown to understand is that all the "no’s" have simply been guiding me to bigger "Yes’s".

My dance journey began at an older age than most, so for me I was always the underdog, always one step behind those of my peers. It used to frustrate me, because it seemed like no matter how hard I worked I wasn’t reaching the level of those around me. Little did I know this struggle was developing me & prepping me to receive all the blessings that lied ahead.

I began to build a humble foundation, understanding that nothing great would come easy, and that hard work, sacrifices and pain would make receiving the reward that much more valuable.

With time & continued dedication my training lead me to become a dance student at Ryerson University’s Dance program. Accepting my offer was an absolute dream come true. I was a small town girl moving to the big city to pursue her dance dreams. I felt like Jody Sawyer from "Centre Stage", the ballerina with the non stereotypical ballet body, and average ballet technique that Ryerson was taking a chance on, and funny enough that was exactly how my story unfolded.

I was in a program that was stripping everything beautiful about me away, and trying to squeeze me into a box that I would never fit into.

It was so damaging and so heartbreaking because I wanted nothing more than to meet their unrealistic and unattainable requirements so badly, but the truth was, I never would. The program beat me down, and stole my love for dance completely away from me. I was told that I would never be enough, that there was no place for me in the industry and that it was best if I looked at other career options. Ouufff, at the age of 19, those words were so damaging, because I admired and respected my teachers so much. My dreams of pursuing dance professionally, slowly seemed unattainable & unrealistic.

Now this was a defining moment for me, because I faced a crucial "No" at such an influential time in my life. I was young, impressionable, and easily influenced by my mentors, but something deep inside wasn’t allowing that "No" to define who I was.

I knew that there was a place for me in this industry and if there wasn’t I needed to create a place, and that is exactly what I did.

I used all those “no’s” to drive me to so many successful “yes's”, one very important "yes" being my heels company Sensual Heeling Inc.

 
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Many times I’ve been asked “how did you know you wanted to be a dancer/choreographer and found your own heels company Sensual Heeling?” and the answer is I didn’t know, I didn’t know that any of this was achievable, let alone successful. I think the most beautiful part of it all is that I just didn’t give up, even at my lowest of lows, I kept on striving to be the best version of myself, despite what that looked like to others.

Many laughed at me, judged me, and doubted that my talent wasn’t enough to turn my passion into a success story, but here I am still standing strong, inspiring so many women each and every single day through my heels company Sensual Heeling. It truly comes down to your own personal happiness. Dance makes me happy, despite all the "no’s" I’ve received and continue to receive, dance always brings me back to a place of joy. Just as much as it has brought me joy, it has also brought me heartache. But nothing worth fighting for comes easy, and I’d rather have moments of unhappiness building a career that continually brings me back to a place of pride & joy then a career that is just sufficient.

My biggest piece of advice is stop waiting for approval, stop allowing all the "no’s" to define you. We as humans wait and we yearn for the approval of others when in the big picture the only approval that matters, is your own. You need to ensure you are living life for yourself and no one else, because if you aren’t happy than what is the value in living?

I am my biggest cheerleader but I am also my worst enemy.

This post is a part of our series “If I Had Listened", in which we're reached out to strong-minded women we admire to tell us about a moment they chose to trust their gut and follow a different path despite other people's opinion. Read the first post here

If I had listened I wouldn’t have been able to find happiness and confidence within myself to truly love who I am.

I am my biggest cheerleader but I am also my worst enemy.

 
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There are so many factors in society that contribute to my marginalization. I am a woman, I am from Jamaica, I am of mixed race.

Throughout my life, I have faced discrimination for all the above characteristics, all of which have thrown me off kilter, beat down my confidence, made me questions my identity and made me seriously doubt who I am.

I had times that were so dark and lonely that, unfortunately, only my damaged mind and broken heart were there to keep me company.

It wasn’t until I was able to work on myself, with help, that I was able to realize that it was the constant negative self-talk festering in my mind that was making me crumble into nothingness.

It took a really long time for me to accept that I had the power to be my biggest fan even if I were being my biggest roadblock.

I used to resent the people closest to me for not meeting my expectations and not being there to save me from my mind. But choosing to be in charge of my own outcomes and happiness as opposed to relying on others was the biggest contributing factor to reaching the self-acceptance and happiness that I am working towards today.

 
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I know that I will always be a work in progress and I totally accept that. However, I have now found beauty in my flaws and in my growth. I have stopped listening to the side of myself that constantly wants to hold me back from evolving as the beautiful human I am and I now place the ride or die version of Nathanielle at the forefront.

Is it wrong to want to feel sexy?

It is in our nature to want to be admired and respected. On top of that we want to look strong, confident and just beautiful in general and we are not scared to say it out loud. However, we don't really say out loud "HELLO I AM SEXY!" or we don't even dare thinking it. But what's so wrong with that?

 
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What does sexy even mean?

Some people would tell you straight up: you are "sexy" when people want to have sex with you. Period. And it's actually not entirely wrong since we have the tendency to qualify someone as sexy when they radiate a sensual feeling and a lot of time, it comes from a physical aspect.

We have met countless women and men saying "oh gosh, I am so NOT sexy" sometimes with a chuckle, sometimes blushing, sometimes with regrets in their voice.

We are in 2018 and the word sexy should and has a lot more different meanings. To us, being sexy is pretty much a way to say you are attractive and you have a little je-ne-sais-quoi.

And since being attractive is so suggestive, it means that no one will ever have the perfect definition of sexy, but it also means that everyone can actually be sexy in their own way.

That's a pretty good news, right?

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Throw away the clichés

Non-exhaustive list of sexy things according to the Scandaleuse Dictionary, 2017 edition by Capdevielle J. & Lelorrain F.

  • confidence

  • a woman's neck

  • ambition

  • nice hands

  • determination

  • kindness

  • heels

  • a smile/smeye

  • tattoos

  • and way more...

Is there any links between all of these? Not really. Maybe your partner finds you sexy when you're changing a lightbulb for that matter. Because being sexy does not fall into one and only one category. It is more a feeling, an attitude and not only the way you look.

Now that we've seen these, I can honestly say that I would definitely love to be seen as confident, ambitious, kind with nice hands, a tattoo while smiling. It brings me closer to the version of myself I want to be in my life and it makes me happy.

So if I follow this logic, I then want to feel attractive. And since all of these factors can also be considered sexy, it also means that I do want to feel sexy too, but in my own way.

And there is nothing wrong with that.

So no, there is nothing wrong with wanting to feel sexy.

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Because it makes you feel good. And when you feel good, you also do good things. And this makes you feel good too. You see the snowball effect of goodness here?

So why wouldn't you want to be sexy? 

We are getting further and further from the cliché of "sexy = trashy" that it is time to reappropriate the whole concept and turn it into something positive. off you go you sexy beast.

 

Subscribe to our mailing list & get our feel good gift!

How people's words can have an impact on your mind and body

Language is a powerful tool which brings people together and help understand each other. But unfortunately it can easily be transformed and used as a weapon. Since humans have the tendency to criticize others (because it is apparently easier than giving a compliment), this weapon put in mischievous hands can be extremely painful. It is really difficult to know the impact our words can have on others but is it so difficult to be more careful and taking the time to be aware of it?

 
 

I can say I am pretty confident with my body but it wasn't always the case, especially in middle school. I am glad I choose to go to photography school as it helped me to become self-confident.

I wish sometimes I could be curvier, taller, have thicker wrists, get more tan, have a beautiful skin… but this is my body and I cannot change it, so I decided to cherish it because it is precious and I now don’t give a freaking damn about people's critics.

 
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When your “supposed-friends” show their true colors

I always been really thin: tiny body, tiny bones, boobies which are still hiding from the world (still looking for them!) and for a long time I was ashamed of that. Of course people liked to remind me of it:

-“You look like a garden gnome hahaha!”

- “I should not talk about that in front of you, you are like what… 14?!” (I am 19 dude but thanks-what an ass!")

- “Are you not ashamed of not having boobs?”

- “Are you sure you don't suffer from anorexia?”

… I could keep going on and on.

Most of those awful sentences came from friends or people I knew and every time they broke me into thousand pieces. Until a classmate told me the worst one “your mom should be sooo ashamed for giving birth to an anorexic girl. What an embarrassment!!”.

That sentence was the last one I let putting me down: F**k that! Never again I will let words break me.

Relax, it was just a joke!

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The famous: “I was joking!”… I am pretty sure we all went through that and maybe we did it too without realizing it can be painful for our interlocutor. Do not get me wrong, as a french person I love sarcasm and bad humour that makes me laugh even though it is directed towards my body or my intelligence. Lets take my family as a an example, I saw partners or parents with their kids, pocking each other and making jokes about the way they look, their personality: "Don't take it badly, it was just a joke!” they say.

Yes it was probably… a joke but for some reason that day, those words sticked to your mind. Maybe it wasn’t the first time you heard those words or maybe you were already having a bad day and was feeling a bit down. When a loved one reminds you several time per week “how flat you are”, “how curvy you are”, “how sometimes you can be stupid", even if they say it with a touch of humour, you ended up believing those words and not in yourself anymore.

Yes jokes are funny but do not forget also to tell your loved ones every day how much you love them, how strong and smart they are and how successful they will be.

“Et mademoiselle, t’es bonne, tu baises?”

Disclaimer: Ladies and gents caution, coarse language coming.

Translation: “Yo miss, you're hot, wanna f**k?” (no kidding, I heard those words in the street).

I never really had any problem since I moved to Canada and I wish I could tell you the same for France but I would be lying. You see, France is like Tinder's nightmares in real life. A lot of men have the bad habit to harass women in the street and we heard them all. From “I am gonna eat that ass!", "B**ch I am talking to you!”, “Nice legs, at what time do they open?!"… to “I am gonna rape you!”, when you are victim of street harassment for years, it gets very easy to stress about the idea of going out by yourself. And they say apparently french women are very difficult to approach… - Cough - Really? I wonder why!

The worst sentence a guy told me in Canada was “You're gonna get in trouble with this body!”, I am not gonna lie it scared the crap out of me (I was walking in a very quiet street with nobody else around) but I played it cool and thanked the guy for his “compliment”. At some point he left after wishing me to have a great day.

Please gentlemen, think twice before hitting on a girl and watch your language!

When people make your day

Fortunately, a lot of people have the ability to cheer your day up with hilarious and unforgettable compliments and honestly those are the ones that counts. So for you and exclusively, here are the best ones people ever told us:

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- “You have very nice collarbones!”

- “Your hair smell like sex!”

- “If I have to compare you as a car, you will be a Porsche”

- “Wohh, where did you get those eyes from?!”

- “If we take my friend's legs, this table as my body and my face, would you love me?”

What about you? What is the best/worst/unforgettable compliment someone ever gave you?

You can say "no" and people will still like you.

Since we opened Scandaleuse, we have been shaking the Earth for opportunities. One of our motto is “if you don’t ask, you don’t get”, so we jump right in with our no-BS mentality and 90% of the time, we get positive results. But sometimes, we cannot get a simple yes or no answer for the life of us.

 
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A lot of people are incapable of saying “no”. Why is it so hard to reject an offer, to set boundaries and decline something you can’t or don’t want to commit to directly? If you are one of these people, do read the following!

You won’t be offending anyone. (and if they are, honestly, they need to grow up)

The #1 reason for not being able to say “no” is the fear to offend the person you are refusing something to. Maybe you like them, you’d love to help, you’d like to be able to swing whatever they are asking and if you were to say no, they will be disappointed, let down and -dear God- they won’t like you anymore.

Trust me, I am the one person that cannot stand not being liked by someone. I am Reliable Girl and it crushes my heart if you don’t like me. (I am working on it). But there is something even more important to me when it comes to other people: I treat them the way I want to be treated, with mutual respect.

To me, being honest with this specific person and admitting you won’t be able to do whatever they need you to do is showing respect.

Respect of their time. It definitely does not showcase a lack of feelings or care to them, it is just letting them off the hook so they can replace you, organize themselves and avoid endless awkward follow-ups with you.

don’t be the cause of multiple follow-ups.

On the business side of things, you have no idea how many times we follow up with people on a weekly basis. It feels like we need to babysit people constantly, and it is a huge waste of time when we finally get a “no”. Are we disappointed? Not so much. Are we annoyed because you stayed on our to-do list for weeks? A little. We are not psychic, so until you put on your big girl pants to say a definite and clear answer, we will keep asking.

The truth is, you are likely to lose credibility as a person or a business by making people wait around.

We have reached out to companies we truly admired and got led on a potential opportunity for weeks. It ended up not working out and it stained our perception of them. It just shows us you really don’t give a crap, which can be okay too, after all you can’t care about everything, but ignoring us or leading us on makes us feel like dummies. And if I feel like a dummy through your behavior, I will never come back and I will also never spread a good word around.

So truly, saying “no” can be a proof of reliableness, which is one of the best quality anyone could have.

Don’t make me feel like you are waiting for better options.

Ah. The biggest problem in our generation. People wait to see if they have better options before giving you a definite answer. They like to keep their options open. Blame it on the FOMO (the Fear Of Missing Out) movement.

But on the receptive line of this, how do you think I feel if you throw a bunch of maybe’s at my face and then cancel my plans for something else? Like crap. Like my ideas don’t matter to you, they aren’t worth your time. This also applied if you leave me hanging and don’t show up.

 
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How to behave in society so you keep your friends and your business

Rant over, let’s get to the actual advice.

By all means, please decline an offer if:

  • You have too much on your plate. If you already don’t know how you could possibly fit this inquiry in your schedule, be honest and decline it. It’s way better than half-assing it or worse, not even show up.

  • You really don’t want to do it. It’s that simple. If you get an off feeling by just hearing the favor, that’s not a good sign. And no, laziness is not a good excuse, but feeling overwhelmed and uncomfortable are.

  • It’s just not a good time. Bad-timing is a real thing, you are not Wonderwoman. For your own sanity, you can’t accomodate everyone and maybe it is time you put yourself first.

Note: don’t be a dick when you decline something but be honest. Honesty is always appreciated. Remember: mutual respect.

What are the benefits of saying no?

  • You won’t look like a fool. If anything, you may gain respect for not wasting people’s time.

  • You can take better care of yourself. By not overscheduling yourself, you can take a breather and put your health, your mental state back into first position in your life, just like the way it should be.

  • You actually become reliable. You’ve set boundaries and people know they can expect honesty from you, that you will actually be here if you can help. You are building trust and it is the hardest feeling to build with someone.

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So there you go, no more excuse to… give excuses. Here are your big girl pants, tailored just for you. You will thank us later!







IUD: the life saver

Disclaimer: Just like our birth control blog post, I am talking about my own experience and feedback in this post. I am not a doctor and this should not be considered as legal advice. You should seek appropriate counsel for your own situation.

I asked to have an IUD inserted when I was 18. I am now 27 and on my second one. Over the years, I have seen many women that were never offered that option and barely know what it was. If you are looking for a hormone-free alternative for your birth control, I gotcha.

 
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Ok, what’s the IUD in the first place?

First of all, IUD stands for Intrauterine Device. It is a birth control system, and just like its name says, it is a little device inserted in the uterus to prevent pregnancy to prevent pregnancy. You have two options available for you: one is made of copper and hormone-free, the other one sends progesterone hormones. I personally have the hormone-free one.

How the copper IUD (hormone free) works:
The IUD releases copper ions into your cervix. Copper makes your uterus a pretty hostile environment for sperm. Your cervix begins to produce a thick mucus that sperm can't navigate navigate through to get to your egg.

Now that you know, you and I are about to become very close….

When the pill drives you crazy.

I was on the pill for a little bit over 2 years and after a while, I noticed some side effects: my mood was changing drastically, I was crying for no reason and just wanted to lie down on train tracks. My libido had decided to run away to Mexico, having sex was painful (#litteraldryspell).

Long story short, I realized it wasn’t normal and it sucked balls.

I knew a bit about the IUD from sex-ed in school, and when I did my research, I found out there was a hormone-free version that lasted for 5 freaking years, so my mind went “BINGPOT!” (Brooklyn 99 fans will know). I booked an appointment with my gynecologist at the time, and off I went.

 
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“But you’re so young/haven’t had children yet!”

Not gonna lie, in order to get this IUD, I had to go through small obstacles with my doc. The first myth was that you need to have had children in order to get an IUD inserted. I heard it was because it could make you sterile. WRONG. It was maybe true 45 years ago, but definitely not nowadays, and absolutely not with the copper one.

The second obstacle was concerning my age, which honestly has nothing to do with it. As long as you are sexually active, you can definitely have an IUD.

My doctor insisted that I try the micro pill, which has fewer hormones and is to be taken exactly at the same time everyday (#superconvenient). I tried it, didn’t do anything, I went back to the office and said “that’s it”. And hallelujah, we did it.

Let’s do it!

First of, you will have to be off the pill (slowly and with your doctor’s recommendations! You don’t stop the pill one day to the other like Fanny said here) . Since I had tried another pill variation with less hormones, I transitioned slowly into no birth control at all.

Then, you will get a blood test done. It is to see if everything is fine with you, if there is a chance for your body to reject the IUD, because yes, it is rare but it can happen.

Once you are in the clear, you will have to wait for your period to get the IUD inserted.

The insertion

The good news? It lasts for 2 minutes. The bad news? It sucks.

 
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I am sorry to be blunt, but it is painful (and I like to think I have a fairly good pain tolerence), especially when you are on your period, it’s already not a fun time. If you have had a pap test done before, it starts like this and the boom sharp pain and it’s over. You are left with a device in your body and very likely some cramps for the rest of the day.

I am going to be real with you, in my opinion, the pain is worth it. A few minutes of pain for more than 5 years of peace? Sign me up. Actually I already did, I am on my second IUD.

The Pros and some advice for you, my fellow uterus owners

PROS:

  • You will be good for between 5 to 10 years depending on the brand you use for your IUD. FREEDOM.

  • You won’t have nasty hormones injected in your body and we all know that hormones from birth control are not your friends, girlfriend.

  • Once it is inserted, you don’t have to worry about a thing. I personaly have mine checked every year to make sure it hasn’t moved and in 8 years, it never did.

  • No need to have an alarm on your phone to remind you to take a pill, no freak out when you are not home and forgot your birth control, no fear of running out and not being able to get a prescription.

  • Its efficiency rate is 99%, woot woot!

  • Way cheaper alternative than the pill too. I paid my IUD around $145 for 10 years. Boom.

Besides the short pain, I really don’t have cons. Yep.

Advice:

  • Don’t go alone to your insertion appointment. It ain’t a day in the park, you may feel a bit dizzy and it is definitely not recommended to drive afterwards and also….

  • Take a day off so you can chill afterwards. I spent my afternoon in a hot bath after my insertion.

  • You will go back on your real period. While you are on the pill, you don’t have real period per se and having your “real ones” can be painful. I always had cramps even while on the pill and a mild endometriosis, so I was already on the sucker team so it didn’t change much.

  • It doesn’t protect you against the STDs. If you are having multiple partners, you still have to wear condoms until you all get tested.


Hope this helps ladies. Remember, you are the only one that can choose your birth control plan. And you are allowed to try different options. Don’t be afraid to ask questions!

The Unstoppable Project

Here it is. One of our most nurtured projects is finally seeing the light of day! Let’s welcome: The Unstoppable Project.

 

Because every woman deserves to be herself loud and clear. Special thanks to Florent Magere who created this awesome music and Jonathan Delgado for animating the tag lines for us!

 

Don’t feel like reading? You can watch the making-of video!

What’s that now?

Scandaleuse is in its second year now and one of its main purpose is to encourage women to be openly proud of themselves and to stop caring about other people’s opinion in their everyday lives. About a year ago, Fanny and I started to hear multiple sentences which just didn’t sit well in our minds.

“I could never show those, I am a lawyer”
”I love these but my family/friends/husband/boyfriend would totally disapprove, I don’t want to make them upset”
”People are going to think I am a slut”

We are advocates of the “no hell given” movement. We truly believe you should be able to do whatever you want and whatever makes you happy. It is safe to say that absolutely all of our clients leave their boudoir experience with us feeling happy, confident, strong and determined to make their world their oyster. Some share their photos right away, after a slight hesitation, others cannot go pass the potential judgement from others.

The sad truth? as women, we work a lot harder to build a strong reputation. And There is a risk of being taken less seriously from coworkers, friends, family members if some of these pictures were to see the light of day.

And that’s killing us. Why sharing photos of you in a boudoir set up, in which you feel fantastic and beautiful, should have an impact on anything else in your life? There is nothing wrong with those photos; it is the people who are too narrow-minded who create the actual problem.

So we gathered our little army of Scandals…

All from different backgrounds, different paths and careers. All badass in their own way. Women who decided to say “screw it”. Women as determined as we are to stop the hypersexualisation of the female body.

We don’t know about you, but when we see these women, we don’t doubt their abilities to keep rocking their lives because we just saw them half naked. If anything, we applaud them for owning who their really are.

 
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Becky is still a kick-ass business owner, Caitlin is still a qualified environmentalist, Victoria is still a talented goldsmith and Sonia’s talent as a super mom is still off the charts.

Now remember: Showing your true self should complement your image, not compromise it.

Watch our making-of below!

 

Before we end it here, let us go against the comment we know we will get…

”Yeah but you don’t need to put yourself outhere naked to prove that, ugh, there are other ways”

Yep, you’re right. But we are boudoir photographers so we use our skills and our work to defend a matter that we care about. If your talent is to bake cookies, you are welcome to start your own campaign with pastries. Just make sure you share it with us! Bisous, bye!

 

Kiss your body insecurities goodbye

Isn't it a great feeling to feel the positive evolution in body positivity? Do you guys see it too? From articles I read or friend's conversations, I have the feeling that people and especially women are more self-confident. Man, how powerful is that?! Even though we still have a lot of progress to make, we are slowly getting there.

The importance of confidence

Most of the people I meet know about their qualities and are confident about either their sense of humour, their kindness, their intellect… But I have never met a single person who is in love with 100% of his/her body. We always feel judged, always have the impression people are looking at us. Do you want to know the truth? People don't care… or at least most of them don’t (honestly who cares about judgy people). If you love the way you look and accept what mother nature gave you, it will be easier to conquer the world: being self-confident shows charisma which is a powerful quality to be successful in life.

I never said it will be easy

I am not 100% confident and writing this blog is making me think about the parts of my body I do not like and why I don't like them. Our past traumas are usually the reasons why we are so picky with ourselves.

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There are two things I do not like about my body. The first one is my wrists (oh gosh I know it sounds stupid but it is a fact). I see them so tiny and I never been able to like them. Not that I am ashamed and try to hide those wrists but I never felt confident about them. Why? If you have been following us for a little while, you may have read the blog post in which I was writing about my teenagehood and how photography changed the way I see myself. I was a skinny and insecure teenager and kids in my middle school were mean so I got a lot of insults about anorexia. Their words still resonate in me sometimes.

The second thing I do not like is my recent acne. Last February I decided to stop taking my birth control pills to switch for a non hormonal birth control device because I want to take care of my body, go for something more “natural” and stop ingested those crappy hormones. Well I wanted to go natural: I got acnee… Yay! (unhappy smile). Two months after I stoped those pills, I developed a severe acne and felt awful about myself. I totally lost my confidence and sex appeal. Why? Same as previously written, it reminded me when I was fifteen and brought back all of those bad memories.

How to change your mindset

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The only way to accept those parts of your body you like the less is to look a them, stop hiding them and talk positively about them. When I look at my wrists I stop telling myself they are too skinny, instead I decided think and say loudly they are cute. For my acne, I try to not use make up to cover the pimples. Every time I look at myself in the mirror, I look at every pimples and tell myself it is not so bad and they will eventually disappear with time.

You can also learn how to highlight and showcase your imperfections. the good news is that it could be fairly easy: you just have to decide to change a negative mindset to a positive one.

GIVE YOURSELF A BREAK AND GO LOVE EVERY FREAKING INCHES OF YOUR BODY!

We have an empire of confident women to build.

When you are building a business, you need to figure out the big "WHY" you are doing it. It may sound simple at first, but putting it on paper and being able to explain it clearly takes a lot more work than you'd think. Our message wasn't clear enough.

 
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The Soul Story

If you follow us on Instagram & Facebook, you may have seen that we went to a workshop without any big expectations and it kinda shook us up. It was led by Odette Laurie, very interesting woman may we add, and she was talking about finding your soul story to explain your business. Hers was based on her painful family past and harsh moments. It made us question about ours.

We were encouraged to be strong and to not take crap from others.

By our families, who raised up right. Our parents believe we could be whoever we want to be and that we have what it takes to do so. They taught us not to give up, be creative, be kind and not be a doormat because of our gender.

We mentioned it in one of our first blog post back in the day, we have dealt with sexual harrassement. We have heard the "you shouldn't do this, you're a woman.". We have dealt with awful men grabbing us in the streets. I have personally spent an entire job interview with a man twice my age staring at my breasts the whole time, when I was 18. Or that other man that told me I must spend a lot of time on my knees as a French girl. I have heard "whore", "slut", "how much" so many times I can't even count anymore. Directed to myself, but also to others.

I remember the anger for these specific moments. What I didn't realize, is that this turned into so much more. It turned into Scandaleuse.

Don't get us wrong, yes, we are all about body-positivity like 100% of boudoir photography studios in the city. It's a given to us. But we don't want to limit ourselves to just that.

We want to make women feel free.

It is absolutely killing us that some women are still stopping themselves from doing something because it's frown-upon. It makes me so angry when I hear "I could never do that, no one would respect me/take me seriously". They will, if you make them.

I just want to give you a hug if that thought has crossed your mind before. And encourage you to change that thought by "Screw them. I want to do this and I will go for it. I don't owe sh*t to anyone" , because guess what? You don't. For real.

 
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We want to make women feel badass.

Because being free is awesome, but not enough. We want to make YOU feel like you can conquer that freaking mountain in front of you. Because we KNOW you can. If you are already doing it, we want to encourage you to keep going until you've reached your goal. And then find a new goal because a powerful woman like you does not stop there.

We want to bring up the "good hair days"

Don't go, I'll explain: you hear/read a lot about bad hair days. And by that, I mean when someone you know woke up on the wrong side of the bed, when nothing is going well and everything sucks. We don't talk enough about the days when you get up one morning and you feel like it's gonna be a good one. You feel gorgeous, you have a great smile on, you are ready to rock your day. This is exactly the feeling we give you with our boudoir photography. Let me tell you, your inner Beyonce is about to shine!

 
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You deserve to be confident. You have every right to express yourself by any way your wish. It's already in you whether you know it or not. We chose to express it by boudoir photography. Now that you know everything, just one more thing: We're game if you are.

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