I always considered myself to be a body positive person or rather I thought I did…
Let me take you on a little journey of unexpected realisation and self discovery.
Through Instagram, I connected with South Auckland photographer, Tania Te Ata who put up a post offering free “Body Beauty” photo shoots in an effort to promote body confidence and I loved the idea so I messaged her asking if she needed a hand with styling, one thing led to another and it was me in front of the camera.
I thought - this is great, I’m 35 years old, I’ll never be this young again, I have a new dress that will photograph brilliantly, a drawer full of lingerie that’s never seen the light of day and great boobs - let’s do this!
There were 6 words I wrote down before heading into this photoshoot, intentions if you will:
When I look at these photos, I can honestly say that I felt all 6 of these emotions but there were also 2 more emotions that surprised me…
As women, we go through an awful lot. We have hormones running through our bodies in different ways at different times of the month, we put others before ourselves, we are stressed, we work hard, we get older, our bodies change, we face never ending challenges, we compare ourselves to others and we are our own worst critics.
Let me ask you, how many photos do you take before deciding which one is worthy of posting?
I know I have a phone full of photos that have never made it to the gram - my eyes are looking a weird way, my chin is doubled, my side profile is pointy. Small things that are just part of who I am and that other people will likely not even notice.
Even going through these photos with Tania, I found myself honing in on different details. I don’t know why or how long I’ve been doing it but it’s become second nature, I barely even notice myself picking myself apart and I know I’m not alone.
How crazy is that??
I considered myself to be quite a body positive person and I am - when it comes to everyone else. After all, It is my job as a stylist to see the beauty in everything and everyone . With this, I realised there’s room for improvement - it’s time to start seeing that same beauty in myself, embrace every curve, accept every angle.
Having been as single as I have been for so long, feeling sexy can often fall by the wayside. In saying that, I have been reminded that it can fall by the wayside even in relationships.
When we put ourselves out there and are rejected or labelled in some way, it can be hard to want to do it again and it can affect you as much as you wish it didn’t. If a partner makes you feel like you and your body aren’t good enough, they don’t deserve to be near you either intimately or in proximity.
I believe a good partner should help and encourage you to feel sexy, I also believe they shouldn’t be given the sole responsibility. That’s one of our many superpowers as women, whether we are single or in a relationship - we have sexy built right in, we just have to find it..
In doing this photoshoot, I wanted to reclaim that feeling - I wanted to feel sexy again. With each piece of clothing I took off and each click of the camera, I forgot about everyone else around (on a sunny day in Auckland, you can bet the beach was packed) I relaxed into myself and I felt free.
On those days in the distant future when I feel I’m lacking or I’m slowly losing my marbles I will be able to look back at these photos proudly and think wow, I was pretty hot .
If there’s one thing I hope you take away from reading this post, it’s this - there is so much going on in the world that we can’t control, but we can control the way we feel about ourselves and we can love the bodies we’ve been given.
It's safe to say, I highly recommend doing a Body Beauty shoot, there's nothing like that feeling of self confidence being captured.
If we get to the end of a styling experience and you realise that you want this special and memorable finishing touch, I can help you make that happen.
All photo credit to the talented @Tania Te Ata