Growing up- I was always the tomboy. I had a core group of girl friends who were beautiful, skinny and the guys would line up just to be dating them. Then there was me…..the girl who was more comfortable with her hair up in a messy bun, a t-shirt and sneaks, and some type of sporting equipment. Sports over beauty was my thing.
That made dating for me in high school almost non-existent. Sure, I had a boyfriend or two, but nothing major until the summer of my junior year. An older guy in school that had toyed with my emotions earlier in the year decided he really wanted to date me and I ran with it. We were together from that summer on and we eventually got married. Our relationship in total lasted 17yrs. However, those 17yrs were not all flowers and rainbows. He tested my emotions, made me question what little bit of confidence I had left in myself, and brought me to one of the darkest moments of my life. Yes, I know you are asking, “Why would you stay w/someone like that?”…but as I said earlier, there were never lines of guys waiting for me to be free.
The high point of this relationship was the birth of my son-my greatest accomplishment. The body that I was never really proud of had created and grown this amazing little human!!! I even thought that having him would be the change my then husband needed to grow up, but instead the mental and emotional abuse continued, and he stepped out on our marriage- multiple times. The constant lying and cheating brought me to my darkest place. I remember comparing myself to every woman that I had found out he had been with. I would look in the mirror and would poke at what I felt were my imperfections. Telling myself if I had only worked out a little harder, if I had lost just a bit more of my baby weight, or if I was just a tad prettier this wouldn’t have happened to me. I was ashamed and alone.
For a while I settled on the fact that it was going to be just my son and I from here on out. I began to accept that I was meant to be alone and I was just the “un-pretty” tomboy that I always was before.
Then one day out of nowhere-Troops (my nickname for my boyfriend) walked into my life. He allowed me to let my guard down. He changed me without even knowing it, and has made me feel beautiful inside and out on a daily basis. He never questions what I am wearing or comments on my weight. Just someone who tells me that he likes me just the way I am…..which is what lead me to do this photo shoot. Not only am I doing this for him as a thank you, but as a giant FUCK YOU to anyone who saw me as anything less than beautiful, including myself.
My girlfriend tagged me to like and join the LRP group and I am so glad that I did. I signed up that same day to do a session. Keep in mind there was 5mo. between from the time I signed up until my actual shoot and every single day I would go and second-guess my decision. The women in previous posts were beautiful, fierce and strong. It again made me question if I WAS BEAUTIFUL enough to do this?? Would I get the same response to my pictures as these other women did?
The day before my shoot, I had even typed up an email to Lindsay telling her that I was cancelling. I signed my name and began to re-read what I had written, and for some reason I hit the delete button.
I drove to my shoot the next day trembling in fear. It took all the guts I had to get myself to even walk up the stairs to the studio. As I sat in the makeup chair that morning, I still questioned what I was doing there. How was I going to be able to let complete strangers take pictures of all of my “imperfections”? Cue Erin, the beautiful makeup artist with the body and face that most women would kill for. As she is doing my hair and makeup, we get into talking about her past shoots with Lindsay. She begins to tell me about her insecurities and what she has always judged about herself. It was at that exact moment that I realized I was in the right place.
The women in the studio that day brought out the best of me. They made me realize that all of us have flaws and imperfections, but those same things are what make us beautiful and unique.
I can’t thank Lindsay and her team enough for making me feel as comfortable and confident as they did that day. This is an experience I will never forget!”