When I was nineteen years old I attended an event. I bought a fancy dress, got my hair done and I thought I was the most beautiful then than I ever had been before. Unfortunately, After I got married, had children, put on a few pounds I truly began to think that that night in my life when I was nineteen was going to be the best I ever looked and kinda gave up all hope of feeling good about myself.
Now when I look at other women I don't see how many children they have had or surgeries or how much different they look now vs "high school skinny". No, when I look at other women I see incredibly beauty and strength. I see women who work very hard every day to love their families and reach for their dreams. However, I hear the same doubt from them that I heard from myself. The doubt that says "your not beautiful anymore don't let anyone see you". For me I am always blown away with their reservations to have their portraits made because I see how beautiful they are but at the same time I understood.
This past year I decided to love myself again. I decided that hope was something I wanted for my life. I decided that that nineteen year old girl didn't have anything on the woman that I had become. My husband, two children, my career, my faith, I feel so much more complete now than that nineteen year old girl in a pretty dress. One of my first priorities was to have family portraits made. Now being a photographer every year I try to do my own family portraits. The ending result was everyone looks good but me. This year I decided to let another professional photographer do our family portraits. I went to my friend Francie Stonestreet with FireHeart Photography. I was so glad I made the choice to care about myself enough to get an amazing family portrait.
Now at this point I still wasn't crazy about myself and being photographed was still hard but it was my first step. I got nothing but amazing feedback from our family portraits. If I hadn't mentioned it I was in the weight loss process during the family photos so I thought I looked much better but knew I still wasn't done and that was ok.
Another part of my love myself year has been focusing on my education and building my business. I signed up to go to a business workshop in Florida with Megan DiPiero. Megan is an incredible Beauty photographer. The workshop was really all about business and less about actual shooting. However, on the last day Megan gave the attendees their own head shot mini session. Now, I was going to learn but I had to admit the thought of having a photo shoot just for me was a little exciting. Before I left for the trip I went shopping for new clothes and was happy to discover I fit into smaller clothes than I thought and I really didn't hate shopping. When the day of the shoot came I sat down in the makeup chair a little nervous. Honestly I encourage my clients to have their hair and makeup done but until this point had never done it myself. My photo shoot went quickly and smoothly. Megan being the professional she was knew how to light me and pose me to bring out my best features. After the shoot she showed me the images and I honestly was a little shocked, that I didn't hate them, in fact I LOVED THEM.
It wasn't until I got home that it really sank in. For the first time since I was teenager I allowed myself to just love me. Guess what, I am way way more proud of the woman I am today than the girl that I was. Taking time out to do these portraits not only brought back my confidence but it reminds me every single day that THIS IS WHO I AM! When I am home with my kids and I am looking like a hot mess, that is ok because Hot Mess is not who I am. I really don't think it was selfish of me to have my portraits done. I don't think it was selfish of me to have my hair and makeup done. I think it is absolutely one of the best things I have ever done for myself.
Now, when I go out into the world and hear those beautiful women speak doubt about themselves. I will no longer give in with understanding but will fight for them with fierceness. Each one of those women deserve this feeling too.