Boudoir Photo Shoot

 

 

I have struggled with self-love and self-esteem issues ever since a boy I had a crush on asked me, “why aren’t you pretty like all your friends?”. I was seven years old.

Ever since that day, I have tried to discover ways to make myself feel beautiful. Whether it was as extreme as starving myself or something as simple as buying myself a new outfit. I’ve tried it all.

My journey of self-love has been a long and rough one but I still seem to trek on.

So me being the super self-conscious and critical woman I am, I decided the best thing for me to do was partake in a boudoir photo shoot for my two year anniversary present to my boyfriend. Makes perfect sense, right?

A photographer I had been following for a while on Instagram posted that she was doing a boudoir photo shoot package including hair and makeup as a Valentine’s Day gift idea and I signed up right away.

I was obviously very hesitant to partake in the photo shoot due to my body image issues, but little did I know that this photo shoot would be one of the most empowering and impactful things I have ever done for myself. I honestly thought that me posing provocatively in sexy lingerie was just a great gift for my boyfriend, which it was, but it was also a gift in disguise to myself.

On my way to the photo shoot, I was stressing out about the outfits I had picked out for myself. My two main insecurities had always been both my stomach and my arms. So naturally, I got two outfits that covered both with just enough skin showing that I felt comfortable but also sexy.

As soon as I arrived, I was greeted by the photographer, Jessica (@lagophoto), the makeup artists and hairstylists, Jess, Hailey and Loe, as well as the other women that were there for their own shoot.

These women were immediately so friendly and made me instantly feel comfortable. I was surrounded by women who were constantly speaking words of encouragement and love to each other from the second I stepped out of my car.

Once my makeup and hair were complete I went into the house to watch the ending of one of the other woman’s shoot. And let me tell you, this woman was PERFECT. She was nailing each pose and didn’t have to be directed as to what to do once. This scared me a little since I knew I was going to need A LOT of coaching on my poses and facial expressions since I knew I’d be somewhat stiff once the camera was on me. Oh, and I felt that my physical appearance was nowhere near as flawless as she was.

When it was my turn to shoot, I went and changed into my first outfit and I’m not going to lie, I gave myself a little pep talk in the mirror before stepping out.

But the second that I walked out of the bathroom all of the women began to boost my confidence with their “damn”, “oohs” and “ahhs”. And honestly their words of encouragement and constantly assisting me with my poses.

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This boudoir photo shoot was honestly such an amazingly positive experience for me. I was surrounded by women who genuinely support other women and aren’t threatened by another woman’s beauty or confidence.

For the first time in a long time, I felt so beautiful and sexy in my own skin and it was all thanks to these women.

While I was shooting, I wasn’t once worried about how the poses made my stomach look or whether my arms were pushed against my sides making them look fat. I was able to feel free and confident. I was living in the moment, which hasn’t happened to me in years!

There was even a time during the shoot that the photographer asked me to take off my lace kimono, which I was wearing to cover up my arms. It had been my security blanket throughout the whole shoot and I told her that I hated my arms and she told me to stop being silly and to take it off.

Taking off that security blanket, while it may seem so simple and easy, was a big deal for me. I haven’t worn anything that shows off my arms in about two or three years. So at first, I was nervous but honestly removing it felt so freeing!

Doing something so out of my comfort zone like 1. wearing lingerie and 2. wearing it in front of strangers and 3. having photo evidence of both of those things was honestly one of the best ideas I have ever had. It forced me to face my fears and confidence issues and left me feeling empowered, loved and self-assured.

DSC_3074When I received my photos I cried. I had never once in my life seen myself in that light before. I was so beautiful. The photos were breathtaking. I looked and felt so confident in my own skin.

But at the same time, I was overcome with sadness. Why had I not seen this side of myself before? Why was I now, at 25 years old, seeing the natural and raw beauty in myself?

That thought was extremely saddening. But it made me realize that I need to step out of my comfort zone more often and put myself in situations that will not only help me learn to love myself but also situations that allow me to build other women up. Women encouraging other women is so important and impactful.

The women that were on “set” that day with me probably don’t even realize how much of an impact they made on me and my confidence that day. They made me feel invincible and forced me to see my own beauty. It has always been extremely easy for me to see and express the beauty in others, but I have never been able to do that for myself. So these women really made a lasting effect on me with their kind and honest words.

Since gifting the photos to my boyfriend, I have been trying to better myself for myself. I have been working on my self-confidence and self-love. My goal is to see myself the way my boyfriend sees me; effortlessly beautiful.

I know that the journey of self-love is going to be a lifelong journey but it’s something that needs to happen in order for me to feel fulfilled and truly happy.

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I never thought that something as simple as partaking in a boudoir photo shoot would have such an impact on me. But it did. And I cannot express how much this experience meant to me and how I feel like every single woman should do one for herself.

I thought this photo shoot was for my boyfriend as an anniversary gift, but it truly was for me and my own personal empowerment. It made me understand that us women need to stick together and support each other no matter what.

The years of women being pitted against each other to make themselves feel better is behind us. We need to stand together, support and empower each other. We are stronger together!

 

 

Addicted to you

I initial set out to write a blog post detailing the hell I went through while I was dating an addict for four years but things…evolved.

I soon realized I didn’t need to go into detail about him stealing over $1,000 of my money to go buy drugs over the course of our relationship or the fact that he would constantly flirt with other girls or even that he built an upside down crucifix out of steel and cotton balls soaked in acetone and lit it on fire in front of my house for no reason at all. I didn’t think it would be fair to him, but oops I already said it.

While writing the major milestone of my past relationship and continually going off on tangents regarding certain instances I realized I never really dealt with what happened to me.

I dated someone who loved alcohol and heroin more than they ever loved me. How do you think that makes a person feel? Knowing that the person you are madly in love with would trade you in for simply just five more minutes of being high.

It makes you feel pretty damn worthless and small.

My initial “vision” was to write about my experiences in hopes that not only would it be therapeutic for me to pour my heart out but also maybe I could potentially help someone going through a similar situation.

To be completely honest, I’m not sure if me detailing what it was like watching my ex-boyfriend overdose while driving me home would be helpful to others but it sure did bring back up some emotions that I buried deep, deep down.

I never dealt with what was done to me by him. And honestly he really fucked me up.

When I first met him I was a strong and independent woman who knew what she wanted out of life but the second we started dating I was immediately obsessed with him.

I think the words “obsessed” and “infatuated” work perfectly for my situation because my world revolved around him at all times no matter what. My feelings didn’t really matter to me at some points as long as he was happy.

Now don’t get me wrong, I know I was in fact in love with him. But the best way to describe our relationship is by saying:  he was addicted to drugs and I was addicted to him.

For four years he put me through some tough shit, but did anyone really know about it? No. I still posted loving photos of us all over social media exclaiming my love for him even if ten minute before we were in a screaming match over him ignoring me for days. You’d think I would see a pattern and just quite him, but I couldn’t.
I needed him. (Well so I thought.)

Feeling like you need another person with every ounce of your being is a very hollowing and lonely feeling. It’s also extremely pathetic and deep down I knew that. But I didn’t care.

I remember people constantly tell me “how strong” I was for sticking by him through his drug and alcohol addiction and not only supporting him emotionally but also attending his alcohol anonymous meetings with him so he didn’t feel so alone. But honestly that’s not strength.

It’s weakness.

I was too weak to stand up for myself and leave him.

I felt like I couldn’t live without him and I accepted the fact that dealing with his addiction and bi-polar outburst were just going to be something I was going to have to deal with. And I was honestly okay with that.

I was settling for someone who didn’t value me whatsoever.

You’re probably thinking there must have been a turning point where I finally stood up and told him that I was worth more than this and that I deserved better.

But you’d be wrong.

I was a coward and I let him destroy me one last time by breaking up with me while we were in a counseling meeting with the head of the rehab center he was attending. (Yep you’re right! I even stood by him as he attended rehab and drove to see him and take him out once a week.)

And even while breaking up with me he didn’t admit any of the horrible things he put me through or did to me. He placed all the blame on me once again.

I was devastated to say the least.

At this point you’d think I’d just be a bitter and emotionless shell of a person and honestly I am. But it’s starting to fade.

Him making me feel worthless on countless occasions was the greatest thing that ever happened to me.

The memories that I have of that relationship will be with me forever but the pain and hurt that was inflicted on me constantly for four years will go away eventually.

It may not be gone yet, even after over a year of us being separated but it will go away.

And knowing that keeps me going.

Surviving a toxic relationship is draining but it’s possible. It’s possible to even come out on top even though it’s not easy.

I’m a perfect example of that.

The female orgasm

The female orgasm is a tricky thing. Some girls can achieve an orgasm with ease and for others it’s extremely difficult. Only about 30 percent of woman actually have achieved a vaginal orgasm. Which mean they can achieve an orgasm without any clitoral stimulation, just purely vaginal penetration and stimulation. That means 70 percent of woman are either achieving orgasms with the help of clitoral stimulation or they are not orgasming. According to WebMD.com 10 percent of women have never reached an orgasm.

Trying to achieve an orgasm can be difficult for women due to many factors. Medical conditions, side effects from certain medications, hormonal deficiency, partner issues, lack of exercise, smoking, drinking, sleeping disorders, and much more can make achieving an orgasm extremely difficult.

I personally have a hard time achieving an orgasm. I have been taking birth control since I was in 7th grade (period issues) and on anti-depressants since my senior year of high school (I am now 21-years-old). Both of these medications can influence your sex drive, sensitivity, and your ability to reach climax.

During my first year of college I took a human sexuality class that opened my eyes and mind to the wonderful world of sex. This class pushed me to not only explore my own body but also explore outside of the classroom walls. I went to a sex seminar at the local Condom Revolution where they had a guess speaking. The only thing I took away from this experience was that the guest speaker pretty much said, “If you’re on birth control and antidepressants at the same time then it’s almost impossible for you to reach an orgasm.”

Horrible news for me, am I right?

Luckily, my amazing boyfriend of 3 years is a fantastic lover. He is constantly putting my sexual needs before his own, which means I get oral pretty much whenever I want it. Pretty awesome, huh? I mean I am not complaining.

But just because my boyfriend is very attentive to me does not mean I orgasm every single time we are intimate. The fact that I lack a lot of sensitivity in my vagina and breast and that I cannot finish every time sometimes hurts my boyfriends feelings. It makes him feel as if I am not sexually attracted to him. But that it not the case at all. The combination of medications that I am on have lowered my sex drive, decreased my sensitivity, and have made it extremely hard for me to cum.

People need to realize that 70 percent of woman do not reach an orgasm with vaginal penetration alone. That percentage does not factoring in other obstacles which would make that percentage even higher.

Realizing and accepting the fact that a huge percentage of woman have problems climaxing will lead to a better sex life in my opinion. The girl will hopefully get a little more attention and have the focus of sex be her and the guys ego will be soaring due to making his girl orgasm. When sex is unselfish, it is mind blowing.

Non-negotiables

Longing and actively looking for a mate is in our DNA. We are driven to find someone to be our better half from the time we hit puberty till the end of our lives. Sometimes it can be difficult finding someone that you genuinely connect with due to your own personal laundry list of expectations.

I personally feel that when looking for a serious relationship each person should go in with an open mind but have a few solid non-negotiables and not a long list of unrealistic expectations.

It is important to look for personality traits and not materialistic or shallow attributes. Yes, I understand that being sexually attracted to the person is extremely important and I am not saying do not look for a good looking mate, but do not make looks a non-negotiable. You will be surprised how attractive a person can become when you connect with them on a personal and emotional level.

A few important things to look for in a partner are:

1. Brains
Both men and women are drawn to people that are articulate and have a thirst of knowledge. This does not mean that you have to be a genius by any means. It just means you are educated.

2. Driven
It is extremely sexy when someone is driven and will do anything to reach their goals and full potential.

3. Hard to get
Do not be the person that everyone gets, be the person that everyone wants.

4. Values
Whether your values are different from one another it is important to have your own set of personal values that you live by. It is important to know that the person you want to be with has morals.

5. Honesty
Honesty is key in any relationship whether it be between friends or lovers.

6. Loyal
Being loyal to those around you is crucial. Without loyalty there usually is no trust and without trust their is no relationship.

7. Humor
In the famous words of Marilyn Monroe, “If you can make a woman laugh, you can make her do anything.”

8. Passion
Having a passion for life and your partner is a huge turn on. Without passion a relationship can die.

9. Open-minded
Being open-minded and willing to try new things or being open to new ideas and ways of thinking is essential to a healthy relationship. Having to deal with someone who is hard-headed and completely set in their ways is a huge turnoff. No one wants to have to be with someone who always has to get their way.

10. Trust
Trust goes along with honesty and loyalty. You want to be with someone that you trust will support you, be honest to you, be loyal, and take all your secrets to the grave.

Depending on you, your non-negotiables may be different but I personally feel that these are the top 10 attributes that people are looking for in a significant other.