87. Picture Perfect

87. Picture Perfect

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Curvy & Confident

Picture Perfect

You have been criticizing yourself for years, and it hasn’t worked. Try approving of yourself and see what happens.

~Louise L. Hay

Click! I whipped my head around. My husband was taking another candid photo of me with his cell phone.

That click was my nemesis. I never seemed to hear it when I felt my cutest.

“Look at this!” he’d exclaim. My husband loved every photo. I hated them. Where he saw beauty, I only saw flaws. When did my butt become so large? Why was I so flat chested? Was that stubble on my legs?

I feared that the photos would somehow escape into “the cloud,” to be seen by friends and co-workers, or worse, turn up on my daughter’s iPad to traumatize her childhood.

I demanded he delete the latest photo. He was heartbroken. And that’s when I felt guilty. He meant well. He was just being playful and he truly loved the photos. Here he was, finding me attractive, and I was chastising him for it.

I got tired of this pattern, and one day, through sheer exasperation — and a touch of insanity — I decided to take matters into my own hands. If my hubby wanted pictures, I would give him pictures. I booked a photo session with a boudoir photographer.

It was absolutely terrifying, but if I could get through the photo session I could surprise my husband with the photos. And then maybe he’d stop taking all those candid shots when I was not exactly at my best.

By the time I reached the studio my heart was racing. I took a few deep breaths to calm myself.

I wanted to do this.

I needed to do this.

I needed to face my insecurity.

With a CD of my favorite music in hand and my “armor” of professional hair and make-up, I stepped into the studio and introduced myself to the photographer.

If my hubby wanted pictures, I would give him pictures. I booked a photo session with a boudoir photographer.

I had spent hours searching for the right photographer and as soon as I saw Dario’s photographs, I knew he was the one. His photographs were works of art. One image in particular resonated with me. It showed a woman standing in front of a mirror applying lipstick; her stomach was bare and it was obvious she had carried a child. Any modern magazine would have retouched the photograph, smoothing out her stomach to perfection. In Dario’s photo her stomach was left untouched and it was beautiful.

I spent the afternoon having photograph after photograph taken. For years I had compared myself to the glossy images in my favorite fashion magazines. I knew the photos were carefully orchestrated but I had no idea how much went into creating the perfect photograph until I experienced it myself. The lighting, the props, the hair, the clothing, the slightest adjustment to how my body was positioned — each was essential to creating a “casual” photograph. By the end of the day, I was utterly exhausted and my muscles ached. I left the studio with a new understanding for what went into the “perfect” images I often resented seeing in magazines.

I had booked the boudoir photo session to create a gift for my husband. What I didn’t expect was a gift for myself. I spent a day feeling entirely vulnerable as I faced all of my insecurities about my body head on. Yet, as I looked through the photographs that resulted from that session I saw my body in a way I had never seen it before. I didn’t see a large butt. Instead, I saw the sexy way my back dipped just above it. I didn’t see leg stubble. Instead, I saw beautifully shaped calves I didn’t even realize I had. I didn’t see a flat chest. Instead, I saw a body proportioned exactly as it should be.

I saw a woman finally confident in her own skin. I saw me.

~Robin R.

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