Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Body Image and Boudoir

 “There is nothing more rare, nor more beautiful, than a woman being unapologetically herself; comfortable in her perfect imperfection. To me, that is the true essence of beauty.”
Steve Maraboli, Unapologetically You: Reflections on Life and the Human Experience 

Last spring, I stumbled upon a Groupon for a mini boudoir session.  At the time I thought I bought it on an impulse.  But not really... back when we had cable I used to watch this show on Lifetime called How to Look Good Naked.  It actually was more about embracing your body the way it is and learning to feel good about yourself.  They take everyday women with average beautiful (but flawed) bodies and help them out of the "why bother" rut and teach them to dress to compliment their figures.  And they ended the episode with a photoshoot.  Naked.  Ah!  Seems crazy, right?  Or is it?

I know I am not alone in not always feeling beautiful.  Most women I know struggle with this at some time or another.  Many authors and bloggers have tackled this subject including: Cecily's Facing my Reflection  and Kjersten's Mirror Mirror OFF the Wall. We all have been bombarded by what the media presents as beautiful and sexy and frankly most of us do not fit into the tiny box they've created.  Human beings are diverse and unique and our culture's definition of beauty is not. 

Aside from my internal struggle to be content with the way I appear on the outside... there is also my husband to consider.  He is happy with how I look.  But he also is surrounded by the world's version of beauty and it can be a distraction to him as well.  Some people may ask the question:  Should Christians do Boudior? Boudoir can be a blessing in a marriage. The article Christians and Boudoir says this:
So, why do boudoir? I once heard a pastor refer to a man’s brain as a Rolodex. A man has thousands of images that he is bombarded with every day. Some good. Some not. Some holy. Some not. And whether he knows it or not, he remembers them. Ever so often his Rolodex goes on shuffle and pulls up an image in his mind. These images could even be as old as a Playboy cover he saw years ago. Now, don’t go thinking men are sick. It’s just the way God created them. They are visual.
But, why should Christian couples be interested?
Because of my Christian convictions, I believe that boudoir photography is best used in the context of marriage. I think any man would be delighted that his wife (or wife-to-be) would think enough of him to give him a gift that takes a lot of courage and love to do. Now, remember that Rolodex, ladies, how much better and holier is it if your husband’s brain goes on shuffle and up pops a gorgeous image of you…HIS WIFE? He is now thinking of the wonderful woman God blessed him with! What could be more God honoring than that?

At first I was totally psyched about doing the boudoir session.  I made all these unrealistic goals to diet and lost X amount of weight before the session. As time went on and I realized that wasn't happening I began to become anxious about it.  Frankly, if it wasn't something that I had already paid for I might have backed out.

But we ended up making arrangements for someone to watch the kids and Isaac came with me.  We had silly conversations about what I should wear and how much to reveal, etc.  Isaac was supportive and only wanted me to do what I was comfortable with.  I searched Pinterest and found poses that I liked.  I tried to be as prepared as I could be.  I followed all the tips the photographer gave me ahead of time.  I picked out a couple of sexy things to wear.  I even practiced making a sultry faces... not a fan of that part.  Did my hair up all fancy - for me anyway.  I even got my makeup professionally done! I mean, if I'm gonna do it I want to do it right!  ;-)

I was surprised at how comfortable I was during the photoshoot.  The photographer was very professional and put us both at ease.  She was very open to suggestion and did her best to work with the poses that I had collected.  She took charge when needed and helped find ways to compliment my curves.  The time passed quickly - it was a mini-session after all.  Before I knew it she was showing us the proofs and we were picking out photos.  Now to be honest...  I was still overly critical of myself as we viewed the photos.  I was making a weird face (was that supposed to be sexy or constipated?) in this one, that one showed too many fat rolls, etc...  However, there were a few that I really did like and was happy with how they turned out.  And naturally, my husband liked pretty much all of them. 

This pix above was taken at our post-photo-session dinner date.  I don't know if you can tell... but I feel pretty.  ;-)  And more than that, I felt empowered and confident.  It was a liberating experience for me. 

So... while I am not saying that every woman should do boudoir... I do think its worth considering.  It was a blessing for my husband and my marriage and it could be for yours too.

Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth.  – Proverbs 5:18

A loving doe, a graceful deer—may her breasts satisfy you always, may you ever be captivated by her love. -  
Proverbs 5:19


Shecki Grtlyblesd said...

Wow, that's brave of you! The shots you showed turned out great. And I had never thought of the mental rolodex point before. Something to consider!

Jana Cutler said...

Congratulations on the feeling of PRIDE!

I am looking to surprise my hubby with this type of photography as well, however, who local does it? Can you forward me the photographer's info?