Finding My Self-Worth in the Jungle Wearing Lingerie
“The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness.”
As little as 5 years ago, you would have NEVER been able to convince me to put on lingerie and have someone take pictures of me. The traditional “recovering Catholic” girl in me would have heard that little voice in the back of my head saying, “Good girls don’t do things like that!” or “You don’t show your body to other people.” Or better yet, “How sinful!”
Over the last 20+ years that I have been working with women, one thing that ALL women have in common is an inability to see our physical selves as others see us. Our inner eye wears a filter, created by society, comments friends or family have made to us over the years, and our own debilitating self-talk. This filter has a dark lens…one that filters out all the good and only illuminates the bad. In reality, how we perceive we look to others is NOT how others see us. The question becomes…how do we change that lens?
Boudoir photography is a luxurious photo experience, normally done in a bedroom setting (hence the actual dictionary meaning of the word “boudoir” = woman’s bedroom or private space) that is meant to enhance the feelings of romance, courageousness, and strength. Many women choose to do boudoir photography to help change how they feel about their physical body. Let me clarify that boudoir is not raunchy, dirty, or pornography. Boudoir is a beautiful way of allowing women to fully embrace their femininity and feel beautiful in their own bodies…as is!
My journey with boudoir started when my cousin and his wife invited me to Costa Rica with them on vacation. My cousin’s wife, Amy, is a very talented and successful boudoir photographer. Two weeks before our trip to Costa Rica, Amy texted me and said she wanted to practice taking pictures outside of her studio in remote locations so was wondering if I would be a model for her in Costa Rica so she could practice. With surprisingly little hesitation, I said yes.
When shooting day arrived, Amy sat me down and asked me what parts of my body I was the most insecure about and if there was anything in particular that I wanted to focus on. As a 51-year-old woman smack dab in the middle of menopause, I was insecure about everything! I decided to go into the shoot with a completely open mind and to totally trust Amy to do what she does best.
What I experienced was a total transformation on how I not only saw my body, but how I felt about my body. Amy is a master at posing you perfectly, at body lines, and gently encouraging you during the shoot. During the shoot, we had a blast and tried many different outfits and poses both inside and outside in the Costa Rican jungle (surrounded by howling monkeys and macaws flying overhead!). One thing I loved that Amy did was show me some of the pictures right after she took them so I knew how I looked in real time. This was super powerful!
When I arrived home from Costa Rica, before I even saw my pictures in their finished form (note: Amy does not photoshop the pictures, she only fixes any lighting or shadowing that needs to be done), I noticed that my self-talk around my body had slightly changed. I wanted to wear dresses that week, (which I normally never want to do because I usually hate my legs), and I didn’t think my lower stomach or legs looked as “fat” as I thought they did before. The major turning point was one morning when I looked in the mirror and I said out loud to myself, “damn girl, you look good!” …which I never would have said to myself in the past because I never believed that to be true. What boudoir did for me was help me change the vibration of how I was seeing myself. It helped change the lens I wore over my inner eye to one that was a bit brighter.
At the end of the day, how we see ourselves dictates how we treat ourselves. We do not take care of what we do not value. Be brave enough to change that dark lens that covers your inner eye to one that is brighter, one that shines the light on how beautiful you are no matter what size, and one that changes your self-talk to encouraging, uplifting words that lift you up instead of drag you down. If boudoir is not for you, that is OK. It is simply one means of achieving this end. Start small and imagine how it would feel if you loved your body. Hold onto that feeling and create a new vibration that you can slowly begin to live into. Pay attention to your self-talk and say kind words to yourself. Big changes start with small steps.
Amy and I worked so well together that we decided to combine our “superpowers.” We will be offering 2-day workshops in Costa Rica that include transformational work around self-worth and reframing the limiting beliefs that hold us back, followed by an hour boudoir shoot with Amy. Stay tuned for how to sign up for the “Intimate Journey in the Jungle” soon! If you want to check out Amy and her work, visit her at theintimatestory.com or on her Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/theintimatestory.
In the meantime, look in the mirror and tell yourself how hot you are! 😊
Joyful in the Jungle,
Cynthia Kay Clark
Chris this was exactly what I needed to hear today. I will definately look at myself in the mirror today and tell myself that I am beautiful and worthy of the lenses being brighter. I love reading your blog and I love you. I am glad we were able to get together for a nice tea and lunch when I was out in AZ. I got back home to Windom on Wednesday evening after driving 13 hours on Tuesday and 10 1/2 on Wednesday. It is good to be home.