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Like everyone, I struggle…

I struggle with myself image, myself worth and my mental health. I’ve struggled with myself image for so long even as a kid. I was always the chubby girl growing up, I would get my cousins (mostly boys) hand me downs and whatever the store had on clearance. So, I learned how to hide my body behind bulky clothes. As I got into high-school I started to lose the weight, but I still hid my body behind loose jeans and hoodies 24/7. Then by the time I graduated I was 108 pounds and worked out every day, but when I looked in the mirror it still wasn’t enough. I kept working out until I had muscle definition and the start of a 6 pack. But still the mirror showed me all my flaws. Now I know the name is body dysmorphia and not just how much I hated myself and my image. Even at my smallest which by most beauty standards is where I was supposed to be; I was still unhappy in my own skin. My shoulders were to manly and wide no halter tops for me.

My nose and forehead were too big so bangs and endless hours with makeup trying to learn to contour to change its shape. My smile wasn’t white enough so no full smiles for any picture. And no matter what I did to fix it, the mirror laughed and pointed out more. I was a 00 and ended up giving myself an eating disorder just to please the mirror but it still laughed in my face. My thunder thighs were too big for skirts, my ankles too week for stilettos. Again I failed to find the beauty I strived for to please the mirror on the wall. Every shopping trip turned into tears that even as small as I was nothing fit right the mirror taunted me so I hid, layering clothes avoiding social situations just so I didn’t have to be awkward ugly friend in the group. Then as I was pregnant with my first child I was still super small, but I saw more stretch marks and more scars along my body. Everything was fine and back to normal until a year later and I tried a new birth control. Within 2 months i went from a size 5 to a size 20. I couldn’t even fit in my wedding dress and that was the biggest blow yet. After that I tried every work out and diet to try and lose the weight but it never budged. All the while the mirror showed me the curves, the stretch marks, and how ugly I was. So again I go back to sweat pants, hoodies and loose jeans. My husband tries to help, he tells me I’m beautiful every day but it never sinks in. How can he not see what the mirror shows me? How can he love me when I can’t love myself? That’s when my depression really got it’s claws in me. I quit leaving the house for anything other than work or school. I stopped hanging out with friends or going anywhere social. I stayed at home where I didn’t have to dress up or look in that mirror. And fast forward onto a couple years ago. My daughter comes home and tells me everyone

in class says she’s ugly. As much as I tell her she beautiful I can see the shadows in her eyes. A month later she starts hating her clothes because she’s “fat”. She wants nothing but hoodies and loose joggers and pants. I try to show her she’s the right size and she’s not fat and she’s beautiful but I can see it doesn’t work. I realize now she’s at that age where other people and the mirror’s opinions weigh more than a mom who hides her own shame. I try to tell her that true beauty comes from within, that happy is the skin your in not the size of your pants. But in my heart I know it falls flat because I can’t even follow my own words because I know the mirror still taunts me. So to try and live my own words I buy a new wardrobe. I buy “in” clothes, and more and more bigger girls with bodies like me aren’t hiding anymore. I take a leap and try on some similar items. My friends and family say how awesome they are before the mirror can lie to me again. But I still hear it, I know I’m too big, my boobs are too big, my arms are too flabby, and don’t get me started on the back fat! Then one day I’m scrolling through Facebook and see someone I know do a boudoir shoot. I think to myself, “Wow! I never knew! She’s so beautiful.” And I decided why not? Why can’t I try? This lady has skills hopefully she can make me look half as good as her. Then she has a sale! That’s the push I needed! Because well, atleast if it doesn’t turn out alr

ight I didn’t waste that much money. So I book hair and make up too because leading up to the date i practice and try and again the mirror tells me how much I failed every-time. I head to her house in an over sized t shirt pj pants and flip flops. Chain smoking and shaking I’m so nervous. All I hear is that little voice telling me that I’m not enough. I’m not skinny enough. I’m not pretty enough. And I meet her in the drive way and honestly her aura started to put me at ease. I get my hair and make up done and for one the mirror doesn’t laugh when I look at it. Then it’s time to get dressed…. I brought some outfits from home even though I knew I wasn’t in love with them. I saw again all the flaws and shortcomings trying them on and couldn’t find any excitement for this shoot. So I opted to try an outfit from the owlet closet! I go in the bathroom and start getting dressed and I see the mirror again. At first I see it, the spark and it gives me hope. But the nerves weigh in and the longer I stand there fixing minor things I give it more time to sink in. My rolls show through, my breasts are too saggy and please god when she hooks the back hopefully she pull my back fat in instead of it hanging over her gorgeous outfit So the first set of pictures we started with these gorgeous wings! Omg I was so excited but I was also scared I wasn’t enough to measure up. Then we were standing with the wings and I was tottering on my heels like a baby giraffe. Try as I might the doubt and nerves kept sinking in. Then I heard her playlist and it was just some of my favorite songs it set me at ease along with her jokes. I started to relax finally and some more hope appeared. Most of my shoot I know I only smirked or did a sultry look. Most people who know me know I’m the queen of resting bitch face lol . I’m perceived as mean or mad because I don’t smile or show a lot of emotion just because of the taunts about my teeth and smile in the past. Then as we go on, I have a bit of a wardrobe malfunction. Oops! Diandra goes on to joke and it just makes me laugh. A full on belly laugh that I haven’t had in a while. I didn’t realize I was missing it. All the while I hear the shutter click. At the end I change back in my grumpy clothes looking at a few pics in the small camera screen.

Diandra’s going on about how beautiful they are, and I put on the mask, I agreed with her, but I could already see my faults instantly. A few days later the sneak peeks come out! I look at the picture and my heart soars that’s not me! I see it and I’m beautiful, how did she manage it? I’ve never seen myself like that. Then as always, the longer I look I start seeing the flaws and my heart sinks. Will they notice my rolls? What will they think about the back fat spilling over the back of the outfit? My face and smirk look so awkward! God, what if all my pictures are like this? Then another picture, I see myself in those wings and I look fierce! But then I zoom in, I see the pinched look on my face. I see my breasts sagging and it looks ugly (to me). Why did she put those wings one me? The potential was wasted on me, I wasn’t enough to pull those off.

Then the day of my reveal came, and I was heartbroken. I knew I was gonna have to put on a good face. I didn’t want to upset Diandra, her skills were amazing, but I knew my flaws were just too big to hide. We start looking through my photos, the ones with those wings and my heart sinks. Shot after shot I see my flaws thrown back at me. Then a little further down I see the image. It’s the image that stopped me in my tracks. It’s the image of me laughing! It’s the photo that resets everything. I see how beautiful I am. I can find no flaws in this photo! There’s no way that’s me. It’s perfect! I see the glow from my laugh, and I see the difference it makes. I go back through my pictures with new eyes and find all my favorites. I picked that image of me laughing and my silhouette to be the canvases with my package. I’m planning to hang them above my bed as a reminder. Every day I look up and see them I see my true beauty and the mirror can’t trick me anymore. I finally feel good enough to not hide my body and love the skin I’m in. I can start practicing what I preach with my girls about being ok no matter how you look. All because of Diandra, she got that one shot that changed my way of thinking. I'm thankful for that because it helped me see that I can be beautiful no matter what anyone else sees, as long as I believe it myself.

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