Loving The Perfectly Imperfect
Updated: Apr 5, 2020
I am 47 years old and my skin sags a bit. I have wrinkles, some age spots and some gray hairs too. I've had two breast surgeries to remove 3 different masses and my body is far from perfect. But, I love the woman I am, even with all these imperfections.
When recently asked, "What age would you like to be if you could travel back in time?", I answered, "This age!"
When I was younger, I never saw anything but imperfection in myself and I was very critical every time I looked in the mirror. I suffered from an eating disorder in my 20's and was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease in my 30's. It took me years to heal physically and emotionally and it wouldn't be my first choice to re-live those earlier times.
I worked tirelessly on personally developing myself over the years and built a great friendship with God. These two things have changed the trajectory of my life and helped me become laser focused on my vision to help other woman overcome their insecurities. During those early years of my life however, I struggled with depression, sought therapy and was medicated in an attempt to bring balance to my life. These things were merely band-aids. I hated myself and no matter what others could see, the mirror always told me a different story. I remember some dark times when I couldn't see past the end of my day. I was married with two small children at the time, so a busy life also served as my coping mechanism. I know that so many women have been or are, living with these same demons.
When my children were 12 and 14, I underwent my first surgery to remove a mass in my left breast, which left me with horrible scaring and a disfigured body. The last thing I ever would have considered, is doing a boudoir photography session. No way! I felt ugly. It took me years to accept my body and in that time I learned to love the woman I was. I started developing the business plan for Onyx Boudoir Studio in the Spring of 2019, after I realized how important it was for all woman to realize their God given beauty.
Just weeks before I was about to go public with my plans to open the studio, I found out that I had another mass in my breast. At this point, I shut down with fear. I put those plans on hold and I tried to figure out how I would be able to find the confidence to go through another surgery and the emotional recovery of what I had watched ruin me seven years prior. While I was evaluating the surgery, I removed myself from social media and isolated in my own little world. Six months later, in January 2020, doctors found ANOTHER mass in a completely different part of my breast. I decided to go through with the surgery once and for all. I was really scared, but deep down inside, I knew I had the strength to get through it. I wanted to show women that fear would not hold me back. How else could I possibly ask ladies to step outside of their fear if I couldn't do the same?
When I started recovering from surgery in February of 2020, I knew I had to open the studio. The decision was weighing heavily on me. I had been blessed with a successful professional photography career for over 20 years and I had a personal story that I knew women could appreciate, if I was brave enough to share it. I thought, "Perhaps, there are women out there who are going through the same things I experienced." The vision behind Onyx Boudoir Studio blossomed into something even better than it was the first time I attempted to launch the business almost a year earlier. Everything about it made sense now and so, my beautiful studio was born.
After going through such a long and painful season of personal growth, I knew that my story, combined with my talent, could change a lot of women's lives. I feel a strong pull to help ladies recognize their inner beauty and eliminate the fear and doubt that controls them. Too many of my lady friends rely on the story the mirror is telling them and it's not a good one. Many women don't see their inner beauty and are very critical of themselves. This makes me very sad, but I understand. I've been there. I just want to hold their hand and hug them tight. We overcome together!
Since I stated talking about the studio and my vision, women have reached out to me to ask questions. They love the idea of visiting me at the studio but have reservations that tell me how much confidence they lack in the amazing beings they already are. I hear them say things like; "I'd love to do this when I lose 20 lbs." ,"This would've been great if I had done this in my 30's.", "Maybe when I grow my hair long again, I'll consider doing this.", "No one would want to see photos of me.", and "I'm not a model. There is no way I could do this."
Ladies, let's clear things up right now! I photograph beautiful women who are perfectly imperfect. Some are overweight. Some have scars. Some have stretch marks, age spots, cellulite and more. Yup! It's real life and that's what attracts me most to a women. If I wanted perfect models to photograph, I wouldn't have started this business. Yes, I use my talent and professional photography knowledge to light and pose my subjects, but what you see come from the camera is the real YOU! I think it's important that my clients see that. In fact, I will always share images right from the camera so you can see how amazing you truly are, just minutes after we begin the session!
It's taken me a long time to look in the mirror and replace the words, "I'm not" with the words, "I am!" I know I have found a calling that no one else can do the same way I can. I used to photograph milestones for my clients (weddings, birth of a child, graduations, etc). Now, I photograph the best milestone a woman can experience; the one when she realizes she is perfectly imperfect and incredibly beautiful, all at the same time!
If you have questions about Onyx Boudoir Studio, please visit the FAQ on my website. I've spent a lot of time answering questions that most people ask and if you have more, let's discuss them.
I will officially be re-opening the studio in April and booking sessions already into June. I allow ladies to pay for their sessions and products in installments so this can be an affordable experience for everyone. Every woman deserves this.