A Mindset Story

I’ve been a photographer since I first developed black and white film in a darkroom, in 1996. It wasn’t till I had my daughter in 2017 that I decided to start a business as a newborn photographer. At that time, I said to myself that I would never shoot boudoir. I absolutely hated my body then, but it wasn’t the first time. I’ve never been naturally thin, even though the entire rest of my family was. I’m sure you can imagine the self esteem issues growing up. I was always the chunky girl, and it would always be a balls to the walls effort to just be an average size. In my mid 20’s, I reached an all time high of 255, and a photo made me want to change. I worked really hard and lost a ton of weight over the next year going from a size 16 to 8.

before / after
This is the difference 80 lbs makes - hey, I look GREAT!

Welp, that wasn’t good enough (a common trend for me), so naturally, I kept pushing to get to some goal I don’t even think I had a clear picture of. It was always to be smaller. To be LESS.

Learn about Pinellas county boudoir photographer at Bliss Boudoir and Beauty and boudoir portrait services available throughout Pinellas county & the surrounding areas.

I eventually got down to 135, but I STILL wasn’t happy, and always wished I could change parts of me. Yes – in these photos above, I believed that there was some kind of perfection that I simply had not reached yet, and the thoughts literally consumed me. Every moment was what will I be eating, and what will I be doing at the gym – and making sure to write down all of it. Workout and nutrition logs and alarms ruled my life. It was an utterly sad existence. But I kept pushing on, basically to the point of breaking and shutting down my thyroid and causing something called the female athlete triad. I was beating the crap out of my body, not sleeping and barely eating – for over a year, straight. DONT DO THIS. DONT BE ME. 

Since my thyroid needed a jumpstart, I rapidly gained a ton of weight – 30 pounds in a month. That’s no typo. It was devastating and I kept gaining till I got replacement hormone for my thyroid, but by this time, I was up to 180 lbs! I looked great, but the blow to my ego was tough and it took YEARS to mentally come back from that. 

With my coworker Cam. I thought I was so huge. My self esteem was at an all time low cause I couldn’t see my six pack any more. For reference, I’M THE SAME SIZE AS THE PHOTO ABOVE in the yellow shirt where I love how I look. We didn’t call each other. We were just Nsync like that.

How sad for me. It wasn’t till sometime a few years later, after IVF & pregnancy, nursing forever, and being sad about my post baby body for a hot minute, that something clicked and I realized the issue is in my head. And because of the issue in my head, I caused myself so. much. grief. For YEARS. And years later with a clearer head, I have no idea why I was doing it! (To be the best at some unknown measure of womanly greatness I suppose). Maybe it’s my toddler randomly telling me how great I look on 4 hours of sleep with my hair a hot mess and mascara smeared down my cheek. But I’m glad I no longer feel like that. Looking back on my experience, seeing these photos, writing the story – makes me love myself more than ever now.

Why? Well – I see these photos of myself at my peak physical fitness now, and can only think how awesome I looked and what a cool experience I lived through and all of the amazing fitness and nutrition knowledge I gained through that experience. And then thinking of how terribly I felt about myself at that time has made me realize the truth in what my issue is, and I’m sure this resonates with the majority of women. 

It’s that we, as women (and the men out there reading this – we all need support!), need to just stop playing the comparison game, and cut ourselves some freaking slack, and treat ourselves with the same grace and respect we would, if we were looking at our best friend in the mirror. We don’t do that. We are so mean to ourselves for no good reason. Boudoir photography has definitely helped me see things differently. I will never say anything negative about my body again. The stunning recent images below are me heavier than the photo with my coworker, and I’m beyond obsessed with how I look in them. I like them more than my “skinny” boudoir photos. This body has been through some sh*t. And for that, I give it mad respect.

Having the ability to give this feeling to other women is why I decided to add boudoir to my services, and I’m always so excited to share it with each and every new client.

I am so grateful to have learned so much about myself through this journey and to share it with all of you, and if it helps one person to not be like me, and to love themselves more without all this grief, then I’ve done my job. 

 If you’re having having a difficult time with self esteem issues or body dysmorphia, find Support! Click the below graphic on this page to join my all female VIP empowerment group on Facebook and be a part of a group  of women who lift each other up.