Holly S.

I remember weighing-in at the start of each new school year in elementary school. In the gym. With the entire class. Boys and girls. An old-school medical scale and the nurse getting our height and weight and calling out the numbers to the gym teacher who wrote everything down. Year after year, I was the girl who weighed the most in my class, and the entire class knew it. And it mattered. It mattered that I was not just “A” big girl, but that I was “THE” Big Girl. Needless to say, I developed an unhealthy level of anxiety about my body and a deep sense of self-loathing before I was ten-years-old.

The summer before seventh grade, I grew four inches—and my weight stayed the same. On the outside, I appeared confident and I was getting a lot of positive attention. Inside, however, I was still The Big Girl. I decided I needed to fix this body that I hated, and I would do that by exercising more and eating less. I would eat just enough so no one would ask questions or be concerned. And I would be in dance classes several hours each week. And in the pool at the YMCA several hours each week. And this is how it went until I graduated from high school.

College. Lots of studying and semi-regular all-nighters preparing for exams and writing papers. And eating. And parties. And not being quite so active. I gained the Freshman 40… the standard 15 plus the 25 pounds I probably should have had all along. For the first time in my life, I liked myself.

Grad School. See “College.” I did the same thing in two years that I had previously done in four. Another 40 pounds. And I still liked myself… but I didn’t love myself.

For the next decade or so, I suffered from horrible anxiety and I became an emotional eater. Food became a comfort and it got me through whatever was going on. Through this part of my life—while I was struggling with my relationship with food and was trying to figure out who I was in the world—I had in-laws that regularly commented about my weight and my size. It all came flooding back… once again, I was The Big Girl. It was a painful and dark time for me, but I got through it. I got through it because of having incredible friends and an absolutely amazing family. Throughout my life, whether I was a size 2/4 or a size 24, my family and friends have supported me and loved me for me—I am so grateful.

I have spent the past nine years with a man who is my soulmate and my rock. A man who truly appreciates that there is more of me to love. A man who has never made a negative comment to me about my body or my weight or my size… quite the opposite, in fact.

My love for him and for our relationship is what led me to reach out to Lindsay and ask about booking a session. I booked in May and my date was in December… and I couldn’t wait to do this thing for “him” and for “us.” On the day of my shoot, Lindsay, Erin and Mikey quickly helped me realize that this experience was about ME. While the “him” and “us” were relevant, that wasn’t the real reason I was there.

I spent that day being taken care of and taking care of myself—in so many ways. My hair and makeup—flawless. My body—strong and sexy as hell. My mind—relaxed and focused. My heart—full of joy for meeting three badass women who “got” me and embraced who I am without judgment. My soul—just… full. We had so much fun, together—sharing stories and singing and laughing, like we were old friends. So, while the art we all created will be for “him” and for “us,” it’s for ME, first and foremost. For the first time in a very long time, I did something that ended up being all about me—and it was mind-blowing.

I have come so far since those horrific days in the elementary school gym. I am a highly successful professional woman with a kick-ass career. I am a loving and caring daughter, sister, aunt, niece, partner and friend. I have a very healthy sense of self-worth… and I wouldn’t change any part of the journey I took to get to this place.

This place where I am no longer The Big Girl. This place where I am a beautiful, vibrant, intelligent, voluptuous, sexy, seductive, confident and incredibly strong woman. This place where I truly love myself. This place where I am The Fucking Queen.