Being your authentic self-St Louis Boudoir-GlamMarr

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Being your authentic self. What exactly does that mean? Let me tell you a little story about myself.

Spoiler alert. I wasn’t always the person I am today. I let the pressures of social media, press and magazines dictate who I was and how I saw the world.

Being yourself, your TRUE self, all the good traits AND the flaws, can be scary. We often worry what others think about us and act accordingly…but WHY do we do this?

Often the answer is “to fit in”. We want so badly to be accepted and to be part of something that we change who we are to fit that role.

What if I told you that there are infinite “tribes” out there who would not only accept you but LOVE the person that you really are?

Hi, My name is Alaynna and I’m a bit fucked up. I have self worth issues. I have body image issues. I struggle to lose weight or be active enough. I often worry about what people think of me. I have chronic pain issues. I’m diagnosed bipolar along with a list of many other co-morbid mental issues that most people shy away from. I cuss. I’m clumsy. I sometimes drink too much.

I’m 38 years old and I’m still trying to figure out how to navigate this thing called life.

I suffer everyday with the feeling of inadequacies. From my creative work to my role as a wife. I never feel like I do enough.

I’m anything but perfect but I’m REAL.

Some of you will HATE the real me. That’s ok. I’m at a point in my life where I recognize that I wont please everyone…but I don’t care.

What I have found is that when I am my authentic self I give other people a platform for conversation. The “me toos” and the “I feel yous”.

Im not only being myself but I’m allowing for others to be themselves too.

The people that this resonates with are MY PEOPLE. MY TRIBE. They struggle with issues of their own. Some exactly like mine, others have their own demons.

I. AM. NOT. PERFECT. but you know what? WHO THE FUCK IS? And what does it even mean to be perfect?

Its so easy to get lost in the endless slew of staged Instagram photos, the perfectly edited “selfies” the “look how amazing my life is” posts.

We compare ourselves to these planned moments; to these fined tuned for social media personalities.

“Don’t trust everything you see, even salt looks like sugar.” –unknown.

Its when you come to this realization in life that things start to click. When you are doing what YOU truly want to do the universe recognizes that.

So how do you become your own “authentic you”?

You just let all the bullshit go. You strip away the layers of masks that you’ve put on over the years, the expectations that society has on you.

IT IS LIBERATING!

You wont be everyone’s cup of tea but who is? If you’re as old as me you might remember the old asops fable “The boy, the man and the donkey”  

You can please some of the people some of the time, but you cant please all of the people all of the time.

“Please all and you will please none.”

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Don’t live to please people. Live to please yourself. You will be amazed by how many people that resonate with you.. You will become that platform for those like you to have a voice.

They are your people and you can rip that mask off and finally be YOU.

This plays into my experience meeting and working with Jamie. When I met her I had such a different perception of who she was. When that mask was finally pulled back it was a revelation. She showed me who her authentic self was and that’s where her magic really shined.

But don’t take my word on it! Here is Jamie’s experience in her own words.

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“Witch witch, you’re a bitch. Witch witch, you’re a bitch.” If you’ve ever seen Practical Magic you’ll recall the reference. Jillie and Sally. Samantha. Sabrina. Winnie, Sarah, and Mary. Matilda. Stevie Nicks.

Notice anything about these women?
What a year this has been. I would definitely consider 2018 to be my “coming out” The year I fell in love with myself. The year I became real with who I am. The year I stepped out of my shell.

Stopped hiding.

I have been trying and trying and trying, for literally all of my life, to fit in and be normal. Be accepted. Be liked. Failure after failure. I’m just weird. I’m just too much. I’m too average,  too stand out and I’m too eccentric to fit in.

I guess this need for acceptance is probably what ultimately led me to my first marriage. Roller coaster love, shame and tears, passion and excitement, betrayal and abuse. This phase of my life closed leaving me homeless and having my daughter taken from me. Determined to rise from the ashes, I became an entrepreneur and now have a successful energy healing business, MandalaDiva and love to volunteer and support agencies like Violence Prevention Center and Call for Help.
Congratulations. Yes, it is something I’m proud of, but still not quite the “thing.” I spent the last 10 years building myself back up, and trying to heal that gaping wound. Trying to understand why hurt  people hurt people, how people heal themselves, and the whole time still missing the bullseye that glared at me every day for all those years.

Becoming myself. My true authentic self.
Practicing in the field of bodywork, energy healing, vibrational therapy, auric healing, chakra balancing, reflexology, crystal healing, spirit healing, etc led me to fulfill a need of self help and enlightenment. Studying and practicing these different ideas for nearly a decade, allowed my mind to be exposed to an entire world of different ideas and bigger pictures. If there was a rabbit hole, believe me, I went down it.

I mentioned before my passion for volunteer work, so naturally there became an opportunity to help women in local strip clubs through my church. I was only in a few weeks before I was, in a word, kicked out.

Asked to leave.

Whatever you wanna call it, I remember I was sitting on Alaynna’s porch telling her about how I got kicked out of church and feeling so brokenhearted. I mean, these were the people that were supposed to accept you no matter WHAT and I got rejected. Me!! Business owner, notable networker, ambassador to such and such, community outreach volunteer…. Because I talk to rocks and listen to the colors of your aura!

In a moment if rebellion, I picked up a book called the Modern Guide to Witchcraft, knowing I’d fully burst into flames as soon as I opened the cover.  All that scary stuff, the demonic, satanic evil awful horrible stuff….witchcraft.

And here’s what I found: healing, balance, peace, meditation, grounding, chakra balancing, crystal healing…everything I was already doing!

I saw a meme that completely describes the moment with complete accuracy: When did  you decide to become a witch? I didn’t, I just realized I already was one. From the elements, from the earth, the sky, the water, the air, the fire, the dirt. All this new healing energy suddenly became crystal clear and all I had to do was revel in it. Now, I’m not trying to bash any religion or turn anyone faith wise in one direction or the other. This is just my experience, as I’ve lived it.
So, ok…I’m a witch. Now what? I can’t tell anyone, they’ll think I’m crazy. Wooo magic powerssss, ahhh, watch out she’ll hex you. Ok, I’m a closet witch. Still hiding, wanting to fit in, be accepted, but not let anyone know who I truly am.

The judgement. Owning a business, is a big deal, and without your reputation, you pretty much have no business. The fear of the judgement kept me hulled up a few months longer.

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I celebrate my first sabbat, and the next week I did a photo shoot with Alaynna at GlamMarr. I wanted to try a character theme, make myself into this person I want to be. I still look back on that day, Valentine’s Day! As the best day of my life. I saw my pictures, I couldn’t believe who I was. Strong, beautiful, confident. Not someone who is dying to be accepted, but someone who accepts herself. Someone who draws strength to her, rather than trying to chase it.

Seeing these photos in the group, I remember being up until 2am reading the comments of all the amazing women sharing such kind words and support with me. I loved it, it opened me up to start sharing more of myself. Gradually getting closer and closer to the revelation.
This week, we did a fun inspiration shoot, and I finally shared some of my photos on my personal Facebook page. My body exposed. My truth exposed. Lol, and the first to comment of course is my DAD 😱😱😱 Akwaaaard…but. All of a sudden it was just like. This is me. I am a woman.

 

 

 
I am Jamie Rhiannon. I am the MandalaDiva. I am a suburbia housewife and entrepreneur. I am a white witch. I am not a good gardener, but damnit I try. I am a model. I am not a plus size model, I am not a size 0 model, I am just a model. I make my body become art. I am not my body, but I live in my body. It has gotten me here. I dress it up, I dress it down. It is not perfect and I love it for that. I wear my scars with pride, because I was stronger than what was thrown at me. I am an empath. I am an advocate. I am a survivor. I am strong. I am confident. I am #fearlesslyfeminine

 

 

 

 

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To book your own St Louis boudoir session visit our site at Glammarr

#FearlesslyFemFriday-St Louis Boudoir-Behind the scenes of a boudoir shoot

 

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Mariah (hair & makeup stylist) and Lashonda cheesing it up for the camera right before the shoot.

I wanted to talk about two things this #FearlesslyFemFriday: Body image & What goes on behind the scenes during a shoot at GlamMarr Studios.

This week we are looking at one of our Glambassadors, Lashonda. Being a Glambassador is an exciting position but it also can be hard to really put yourself out there and show all! One of the reasons I picked Lashonda to represent our brand was because of her healthy attitude toward her body. Don’t get me wrong, we talked about her struggles with body image during her first shoot as a client. She was nervous as fuck! (everyone is!) and we bonded, talked about life and how our bodies have changed over the years. After her shoot, at her reveal, I was so excited with how much she LOVED herself and her images. Lets face it, none of us are “perfect”… whatever the hell that is anyways. I tell my clients so often that I do not like to retouch images. Stretch marks are beautiful, some women only get them after carrying another life, some women get them because our bodies change, however you’ve gotten yours, they’re normal. Cellulite is normal. Scars are testaments to how much our body can take and still carry us through life.

There is a story to be told by your bodies lines and creases!

There are so many women that cannot see past these things themselves but when they see other women celebrating their bodies, they cheer them on, tell them they are beautiful…and they mean it.

Why are we not our own personal cheerleaders? Why do we judge ourselves so much more harshly than we judge others?

Quit that shit. Quit that shit NOW. Start thinking about all the amazing things that your body is doing for you all the time, without you even thinking about it. Be grateful, be present, be YOU.

So for this session I wanted to showcase these areas!

Lighting can do a lot to hide and smooth the skin and angles and posing can make you look amazing too. I wasn’t trying to do any of those things. I was lighting to bring out the textures, showcasing the curves and capturing the true beauty of the female form.

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I’ll tell you a secret. I actually do this every session. Sure, I walk through and demonstrate posing and expressions but what I’m really doing is waiting to capture those in-between moments where I can REALLY see you.

We did a live behind the scenes video during this shoot which you can watch Here.

You must be a member of our FB group which you can join here Glammarr FB group

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A screen shot from our FB live video.

Our first series of images were a mix of boho and vintage inspired. My images always have a hint of vintage style.

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I also wanted to showcase Lashondas beautiful skin with the jewel toned piece that she brought in for the shoot. We added a little dry oil to really bring out those gorgeous highlights and lowlights.

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From there we moved on to our final look, a total surprise for Lashonda. I snapped a few photos of her as she was looking in the mirror admiring her body, giving herself positive affirmations about her own sexiness.

What I had waiting for Lashonda was what I was REALLY excited for! I created a shallow water pool in our studios garage using a tarp and some other things laying around. It was far from looking like a gorgeous location…

You have to understand that with photography, what you see isn’t always what you get. You probably remember the #MichaelsChallange, and if you don’t, it was basically photographers shooting photos in the poorly lit aisles of their local craft store with amazing results.

This was my version!  I had a vision and I was ready to roll with it…and wow am I glad I did!

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You see. Its not the location. Its not the camera.

The devil is in the details. 

I used a mixture of lighting and angles to capture every beautiful highlight, curve, texture and sparkle.

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What you see VS what I see

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And that’s what I bring to you as your photographer. A new perspective of yourself exactly the way you are. I want to bring OUT the things that we’ve grown accustomed to seeing photoshopped, smoothed or gotten rid of all together. I’m not here to change anything about you, that’s just not my jam.

I want you to see how beautiful all of those things that you call flaws really are.

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We finished up with a little oil and glitter. This portion of the shoot was also streamed live to our FB group

and with that we were finished! I hope you enjoyed seeing the process and how beautiful the female form can be. If you’d like to see more or chat about booking a shoot with GlamMarr Studios for yourself visit us at our website GlamMarr.com

 

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Special thanks to Lashonda for allowing us to share so much of her session! Check out another beautiful session at our other blogs

 

Fearlessly Fem Fridays-St Louis boudoir-GlamMarr-Embrace your “you-niqueness”

Lets face it. I hear it all.  Women are nervous, afraid and down right scared of having photos taken of themselves.

But actually its not the photos that they are scared of. Its that peeling back of the layers of insecurities and the act of being vulnerable that terrifies them.

When I assure my clients that they are going to look amazing…no one ever believes me… At first that is. We have our phone consult and this is usually the time when women choose to tell me what “wrong” with them. Their bodies have changed after having children. Their bodies have changed by the passing years. Their bodies have changed from crash diets, bad relationships, illness or they’ve “let themselves go”.

I truly believe there is an epidemic within the women’s community. With the growth of social media outlets like facebook and Instagram, women are feeling worse and worse about themselves. Comparison is truly the killer of confidence.

This is NOT a new problem. We, as women, have been fed perfectly photoshopped images in magazines for ages and feel that we need to become these perfectly idealized images of what women “should” look like. This is not a new problem but its becoming more and more apparent as things like “facetune” and filters become more readily available.

So when I speak to potential clients who are comparing themselves to these highly stylized versions of women, I know what they’re going to say already. That they are not GOOD enough or PRETTY enough to do photos of this nature.

We’re so programmed to think that the filtered women on Instagram or the photoshopped models in magazines are the standard in which we should gauge ourselves that we CANNOT see the beauty that exudes from our own being.

The way we move. The way we laugh. The way we ARE. Our kindness, our hearts. That special things that makes us… US. We are so focused on being some basterdized form of beautiful that we MISS our own beauty.

So yes, Ive heard it all and I’m here to tell you that its all BULLSHIT.  YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL! You are beautiful and worthy of self acceptance and love. What makes you YOU is so much more than your own reflection in the mirror.

What makes you beautiful is so specifically you that no magazine, no social media outlet can portray that through other women.

But I can show you.

At GlamMarr, we give you that moment to pause, that moment to reflect. That moment to SEE yourself. REALLY see yourself. Your individual movement, the special way you laugh that perspective that EVERYONE else sees but you are unable to appreciate because we become so clouded by self doubt or expectations of what we should be.

But don’t take my word for it! Read on to hear a GlamMarr clients thoughts on the experience in her own words!

Ps. Ms. B finally took the plunge last year during our specially priced “Pink Saturday” Special. We will be running another black Friday special this year so if you’ve been on the fence its your time to take a chance. Have a leap of faith! Do it for YOU. You wont regret it!

 

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On a side note. MS B was an absolute joy to work with. She has a laugh that is contagious and a smile that is sweet as pie. I was so happy to meet her and I really appreciate her giving us an insiders perspective on her experience.

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In Ms B’s Own words:

I  joined Alaynna’s Facebook group a few years back after seeing photos she had taken of a friend of mine.  Those pictures were beautiful, as were the rest shared on the FB page and the Glammarr website.  I so wanted to have a shoot; I wanted the pretty pictures, too.

There were a few reasons why I wasn’t ready to make the jump and do it, so it stayed on my list of things to do “someday.”   I continued to follow the FB page for over a year, which also helped me to realize working with Alaynna was not just about getting pretty pictures, it would be so much more!

She helps women truly see THEMSELVES.  When the Pink Saturday Sale was offered last year after Thanksgiving, I felt like if I didn’t do it now, I might never do it.  So, I decided to make the jump and book a session as a 45th birthday present to myself. The months that passed from the moment booked until the day of my shoot were filled with a roller coaster of emotions that would play out over and over again – excitement, hopefulness, doubt, fear.  Before I knew it, nearly six months had passed, and it was shoot day.

 


The day of the shoot, I had not lost all of the weight I had intended to lose (which was one of the apprehensions I had about doing a shoot).  That morning, I stood in front of the mirror naked, took a deep breath and said out loud, “Well, this is NOT the body you wanted to have today.  But this is the body you’ve got.  So go in there and rock it.”  And I headed over to the studio.

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I was excited, but I was also still a ball of nerves when I arrived.  Alaynna and Mariah set those nerves at ease pretty quickly.  They were filled with an incredible energy of positivity, encouragement, acceptance and FUN from beginning to end.  As the shoot moved along, Alaynna showed some of the pics as she took them.  I was blown away.  That was ME.  No retouching, no filters.  JUST ME.  As it turned out, that’s what I was doubtful and afraid of — JUST ME, as I would be in that moment.  And in that moment, I saw me, not just my body, but my entire being.   It can be scary sometimes to let others see us.  It can be even scarier to really see ourselves.  But Alaynna and her team show us that it’s actually the most beautiful thing there is.
From this experience, you’ll get gorgeous pictures.  But Alaynna really captures and celebrates the essence of all of you in those photos, so much so that in turn, something that happens to YOU which is awesomely and overwhelmingly amazing.   We all deserve to see, feel and acknowledge how wonderful we are.  Your body IS good enough to have a shoot.  You are never too old to have a shoot.  You deserve this experience, and I hope those of you that are on the fence about it will make the jump and do it.  You will have no regrets.  I didn’t, and I will DEFINITELY be a repeat offender at Glammarr.
PS – I also want to give a shout out to Monika, of the Glammarr Squad.  Your encouragement and joyfulness also was a huge help to me 

 

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#FearlesslyFemFridays

We’ve decided to post a weekly blog showcasing our clients boudoir shoots! This is our first #FearlesslyFemFriday and we’re excited to showcase our shoot with Ms. J. Ms J is a repeat client at GlamMarr Studios, located in Collinsville, IL.

For this shoot, anything went! She brought in several sexy outfits, including some Christmas related items. She also borrowed a few pieces from our client wardrobe closet (which offers sizes xs-6xl).

I was so excited to elevate her second shoot to a whole new level. We worked on posing her to create sensual looks and she nailed it on the expressions. We also shot her in front of our fireplace which added a whole new dimension to her photos!

The fireplace is used during January, February and march shoots.

If you are interested in booking a boudoir shoot of your own just head on over to our website at Glammarr.com

GlamMarr studio specializes in sensual photography for EVERY body! With over 13 years of experience working with women of all sizes, shapes, colors and ages. St Louis boudoir never looked better. Our mission is for you to fall in love with yourself all over again…or maybe for the first time ever! Our boudoir sessions are specifically for those struggling with their body image and confidence. We show you a different perspective of yourself, one you are sure to love!

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The “B” Word by Bre Hines

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As a big girl, I’ve really always struggled with putting myself out there. I’m always scared to see my reflection when I’m changing clothes, scared to see the number on the scale, and scared to know what people must think of me sometimes. I’ve not always been this size – it’s definitely been a gradual thing. As a child I was the scrawny, tan, barefoot blur running past people in the neighborhood. At least until puberty not so kindly put me in my place. So, for the last ten years I’ve slowly transformed into the woman I am today – the fair skinned, foul mouthed delight most people know and love.
Enter a very passive aggressive “thank you” speech to my Bipolar, Body Dysmorphia, PCOS, Schizophrenia, chronic pain, and all the pizza and donuts I ate. What can I say? I love food. I definitely didn’t get to where I am by accident.
For real though, self-esteem and I may not be on speaking terms very often, but it’s definitely something I’ve been working on and doing better with for the past few months. That’s always something to be proud of. I’ve become more comfortable with myself, and more comfortable with a body that – although it sometimes feels like it’s trying to kill me – has gotten me this far.
I even got to the point that I did something I thought I would never in ten million years do – a shoot with Alaynna! To blow my own mind even further, I did something I REALLY thought I would never do – I posted a picture of myself online the day of my shoot in one of my outfits because I was feeling myself just a little bit.
I’m not mad – I looked good – but damn I still can’t believe I did that! Part of me was so excited to give all these beautiful ladies a sneak peek of what was going on at the studio that day, but the other side of me was like:
“Girl, what are you doing? You need to go take that down ASAP. Did you notice everything you had hanging out?? Hello, stretch marks!”

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A sneak peek of Bre during her shoot. This image was posted in our GlamMarr Group. Ladies can join here –>group for every BODY

I rolled with it though, and didn’t let me psych myself out. Most of the feedback that I got was amazing. As someone who really never put themselves out there, the compliments were a gift from God! Not only did I really feel confident after my shoot, but then I had all these ladies telling me how gorgeous I looked in what my brain was telling me was a really bad selfie. I was over the moon and feeling really great about myself. Then I put the brakes on it because I saw something I didn’t quite know how to react to – the “B” word.
“You’re so brave!” Say what?
Now, I firmly believe a compliment is a compliment, and it’s a matter of intent from the person who said it. This comes with a big “however” for me, though. When my brain saw the word brave – even though I knew exactly what these ladies were trying to say – I immediately took it negatively. I really contemplated taking that picture down. I wondered if there was maybe something wrong with me, like a reason they were telling me I was so courageous for sharing myself like I had? Why did I have to be brave to post a picture like that? And what did that even mean?

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Was I doing something heroic by posting a half naked picture of myself? I by no means was saving children from burning buildings or any other fearless act – I had simply posted a picture. A picture I was on the fence about, but that I was still feeling confident in. This really threw my brain for a loop though – because I couldn’t see why everyone was calling me brave. How could a harmless five letter word have me questioning myself this much? I’ll admit, this was never something I saw as an issue until I had it directed at me. I guess it’s just not something you consider until it happens? Despite the fact it had been said with what I definitely assumed was love, it was really tanking my self-esteem a bit. Like an unintentional back-handed compliment. Now I was picking apart all of the flaws in that picture. Then I was thinking of other times that word had been used to describe me – when I wore a crop top that showed my larger stomach to the lake with friends as a teenager, when I showed my mom the tight dress I wanted to wear for my wedding, and when I decided to wear a bikini to the beach on a girls weekend. Was this really all centered around weight? Was being big and putting myself on display really that big of a deal? Did anyone say this to skinnier girls when they striped down and took some pictures? I never thought that I would be the type to have to think twice about a simple word, but I was.
I ended up not taking the picture down. One of the nice things about having a supportive group of women to show your mostly nudes to is that you know they’re going to be real with you. So, after some serious over thinking, contemplation, and talking to people, I chose to take a different train of thought. What if I was inspiring these ladies to maybe come out of their own comfort zones a little bit? The way I see it, I’m big and I’m not ashamed of it like I used to be because I love me and I’m a work in progress. If me being confident and showing off my body can help another girl come out of her shell a bit, I’m more than thrilled to get to do that, but I promise you that’s not bravery. It’s me being  in the moment. It’s me being genuine. It’s me showing the world that there are people my size out there, and that we are just trying to let our freak flags fly, too. I mean, really, who doesn’t love some lingerie selfies? If more women felt confident in themselves enough to put themselves out there like that, maybe we really could normalize all body types. No woman should ever be ashamed of her body or feel like she needs to cover up. I just feel like confidence can be such a hard thing to come by for anyone, so why should someone putting themselves out there in all their half naked glory be considered some bold act?

All women are beautiful, regardless of our height, weight, age, skin color, etc… a body is a body. The 5’9” 300 lb beauty who wants to show off her body with Alaynna making faces in the background is no different than the 5’4” 100 lb queen who wants to share herself as well.
Next time, instead of brave…
Tell both women they’re GORGEOUS.

Tell them both they’re BEAUTIFUL.

Tell them both they’re SEXY.
Tell them both they’re GLAM AF!

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Shout out to Bre for her guest blog today! I loved it! If you’d like to write a guest blog for GlamMarr Studios please email us at info@sexytransformations.com

You can see more of our St louis based boudoir work here Visit GlamMarr Website