Getting Naked To Celebrate My Body
The confidence-boosting power of boudoir photography
I recently had boudoir photos taken, purely for my own enjoyment. Boudoir photography has been in existence since the 1920’s, but it seems like it is still a slightly taboo subject for some reason. When I was younger, my aunt had them taken as a gift for my uncle, and I remember seeing one of the photos framed in their bedroom. I thought my aunt looked incredibly glamorous and gorgeous, and I was fascinated by the concept of boudoir photography. It is something I have secretly wanted to do for ages, but I finally felt like it was the right time for me to take the leap and experience it for myself.
It seems like the general assumption is that women only get boudoir photos taken for their romantic partners. As a single woman in her 40’s, I no longer wanted to wait until I have a partner to get them taken. I am in the best shape of my life, am confident and comfortable in my body, as well as in who I am as a person after years of growth work, and it has taken me 41 years to get to this place. As a result, I wanted to celebrate and document this moment in my life, strictly for ME. I may never even show these photos to anyone else, but I will be able to pull them out decades from now and remember how sexy and beautiful I was (and am), inside and out, at this particular juncture in my life. I want to appreciate my body, with all of its flaws and imperfections in this present moment, knowing that years from now, I will look back with fondness and appreciation at how young I felt and the joy and struggles that brought me to this place in life.
Age comes for all of us, and I think that we should celebrate it. I’ve found myself picking my appearance apart lately for some of the things that come with aging. The lines on my forehead appear more pronounced every day, and I’m starting to get wrinkles around my eyes from smiling. I’m choosing to focus on the beauty of getting wrinkles from TOO MUCH SMILING! What a freaking gift?! That I have had laughter and joy in my life to the extent that it is starting to show on my face for everyone to see. It’s something to celebrate instead of dread.
I had some nerves going into the boudoir session, since it takes some bravery to be practically naked in front of a stranger, who also happens to be pointing a camera at you. Thankfully, I had the most amazing photographer, who made me feel comfortable and sexy. It made all the difference in my experience. She is incredibly good at what she does, and I am so grateful to have been photographed by her. Having my picture professionally taken, even when fully clothed, has always felt a bit awkward. What do I do with my hands? Do I smile? If I’m not smiling, do I look ridiculous or angry? The list of anxieties that go through my head is endless. Now, add on the additional terror of being in lingerie, and the anxiety list grows. Are my boobs falling out of my bra? Is the cellulite on my butt incredibly obvious? I forgot to breathe multiple times, since the photographer kept reminding me to take a breath and relax. I’m happy to report that once I warmed up, she even convinced me to take some shots completely nude. That was not my initial plan (strictly out of fear), but I felt super comfortable and trusted that she would pose me in flattering ways that would be tasteful and sexy.
I am so glad that I got past my fears and was a little (ok, a lot) adventurous. I’m going to look back at these photos and remember how confident and empowered I felt. That is a memory I will have captured on film forever and will feel every time I look at these photos. When I am doubting myself or feeling less than strong or capable, I can open my photo album and remind myself that I am brave, strong and beautiful. That I can step outside my comfort zone and do amazing things, even when I’m afraid (especially when I’m afraid). This confidence carried itself with me for days afterward. I felt invincible! I had this sassiness that is not inherent in my personality, and I had so much more appreciation for myself and my body. That feeling alone is priceless and something I want to always hold onto. I even felt a difference in the way people responded to me; I was projecting this energy of openness and joy that seemed to draw people to me. I had no idea that I would feel that way or be so incredibly grateful that I did this for myself. It was an experience I will never forget (and will probably repeat at some point in the future).
A huge lesson I’ve learned over the years is that I don’t need to put my life on hold while I’m single. I can take the trip, go to the fancy restaurant or concert, enjoy anything and everything I want to right now, even if that means I do it by myself. I used to think that all of those things would be better when experienced with a partner. I’ve come to realize that they are different experiences with a partner, but not necessarily better. Some of my favorite trips and memories are things that I have done on my own. Because I was doing them solo, I had more of an opportunity to be present in those moments and truly and deeply appreciate the beauty of the experience and how I felt in that space. Getting these photos taken was just one more example of this for me. I am worth the joy of these experiences. Me. On my own. And that is something to celebrate.