The girl you see here isn't even the same girl I am now.
These photos were taken in November of last year,
right before I moved out of my apartment.
That place, my bedroom, was such a sanctuary for me.
The short time Hadley + lived there, we made so many memories.
Some that will last a lifetime, some I wish I would forget.
It was the first place I was fully responsible for. It was my first place of my own.
I did the college thing, had roommates. Even lived with one of my besties after hair school. I then went straight into marrying and living with Levi.
When I left him in May, I found this place.
And this place, is where I began to find myself.
When I decided to move back home with my parents and leave my babe cave, I KNEW I wanted my shoot to be there instead of in a studio or and air bnb this time around.
There was so much meaning to it. I have always had a hidden passion for interior design. I loved how it was decorated. Everything had its place. Everything was always where I left it (unless Hadley was home). Everything I had picked out solely for me. I didn't have to ask someone else's opinion, or make sure it wasn't too girly (thought bless Levi's heart he always embraced my decorating skills. Even when they included glittered deer heads) But this place was me. It was Hadley. It was US.
This is the second boudoir photoshoot I have ever done and I couldn't imagine doing it with anyone other than Marcy of Coterie .
She and I actually met on Instagram. Thank God for technology.
We started out as a partnership for her seniors. I was her recommendation for hair and makeup and I began referring all my clients to her for photos. WIN WIN.
No like, guys. She is one of the most genuine humans ever. She is so comforting and passionate. She’s so kind and wise, oh my word is she wise!!!
Our partnership blossomed when she began offering boudoir. I became her go to contact for Hair and makeup. BATB Salon was on site and doing her clients for almost every shoot.
We quickly became friends and kind of creepily obsessed with one another haha. She’s now one of my most cherished friends and I can’t wait to see where this year takes us!
My first photo shoot I did with Marcy was last spring. And yes a day I will never forget. It was the first time I saw myself through the eyes of others. It was such a deep, emotional experience for me that kick started a journey to self love and empowerment. One that’s actually hard to talk about, but all thanks to one frame. This shot is was set my soul on fire.
I always joke and tell her that that photo shoot gave me the confidence to leave my husband. But here is the whole story:
Growing up I was a size 4-6. Being 5'2" this made me a very tiny petite build. I was spending 6 sometimes 7 days a week cheering or doing gymnastics. I was always eating (no like seriously, I think my squad and I could out eat any football team back then)
However when I graduated I kept eating and stopped being active, and that was not the best combo. The freshman 15 was more like the freshman 25 for me when I got to college. Ever since then I have ranged from a size 10-18 over the last decade.
I grew up feeling ahsamxed of my body, and how everyone thought I was pretty. (I’m sure this sounds crazy, but it’s fact) It was always getting me in trouble. I even used it to my benifit and manipulated others to fill voids that had been left inside me due to my daddy issues. (But that’s another blog, for another time)
In my marriage I felt that if I ever ‘got my body back’ it would cause problems in my marriage. I thought if I stayed overweight that I wouldn’t draw attention to myself in ways that were inappropriate, like when I was younger.
Looking back, I had done myself a disservice. I had let myself go physically which intern made me mentally check out. I had lost myself. I had little self love and appreciation. My husband always loved me for me and adored my body. However his actions spoke louder than his words when I discovered he had an affair with a women half my size.
This sent me into a whole new level of depression. I began to dislike who I saw in the mirror. Not because of my weight. Not because I didn’t look like his mistress, but because I had let myself go. I had done this. I had become okay with being a size 16 and thought it was my way of protecting my marriage.. meanwhile he had a size 6 side piece.
This opened my eyes to the reality of needing to live life for myself. To make myself happy. No one was going to bring me happiness or love if I wasn’t happily in love with myself first.
Fast forward 2 years, I’m now a size 10-12 on average and I’m the happiest with my body I’ve ever been with it. I haven’t worked out like crazy (or like at all really) and I haven’t been trying crazy diets (although I did give up meat) but I have lost almost 30lbs and I know it has everything to do with finally accepting myself.
I think as young women growing up we don’t see these type of body images in the public’s eye. You can scroll through Instagram and 90% of the women, whom are barely clothed come across your feed they are a size 2-4. That’s what is instilled in the young women of today. That’s what they think is acceptable.
When in all actuality we should be the ones to decide what’s acceptable.
I think boudoir, ESPECIALLY when done with Marcy does just that. The time spent with her she showers you with affirmations and just empowers you every step of the way.
She allowed me to see myself in a way I never had before. My first photo shoot with her is actually what gave me the confidence to know I would be fine without a man. It’s also given me a new addiction. I’m addicted to doing shoots with her haha.
I think there is something so sexy about stripping it all down (literally) and being vulnerable, with yourself.
I also think it’s sexy to find yourself sexy.
Sex is something woman don’t talk about much. We don’t wanna be called a whore, slut, you know.. I’m sure you have been called worse like I have.
I think we as women need to do more of the things that make us feel sexy and pretty and less of the things that make us feel awful and ashamed.
I think we as women need to be ourselfs. We need to stop being so concerned about what others are going to think. What others are going to say. We need to be ourselfs, and love ourselfs.
We need to tell our stories.
We need to start being voices
and stop being victims.
One of my favorite things about doing a shoot with Marcy is the story the photos always tell.
She puts so much of herself into them. Every detail. Everything’s intential, planned and perfectly placed.
Fun fact: the book I’m holding was actually an old journal a high school boyfriend gifted me when we were in the 9th grade. I also left this said ex boyfriend stranded at 3 am recently. Because he was forcing me into situations I wasn’t ready for and that I didn’t want to put my body in.
As women WE are in control of our bodies. We get to decide how they are treated. How they look. We are the ones with the power and we should never ever let anyone take that power away from us.
We don’t owe anyone anything.
We also don’t need to do things we don’t want to do in order to be accepted or loved.
If someone truly loves you they will respect you.
If someone truly loves you they will wait for you.
If someone truly loves you they let you be you.
I am not perfect.
I am quite imperfect.
I am curvy.
I have dimples in places people usually can’t see.
I have stretch marks. My body’s changed in ways it will never be able to go back to, since my daughter. And I’m actually loving every inch of it.
I’m finally happy in my own skin.
I'm finally able to accept who I see in the mirror.
I can finally tell her "I love you" and mean it.
It all comes back to mind over matter.
I had believed for twenty some years that I was cursed with a skinny physique and good looks. So I began to believe I needed to stay heavy to shield myself from all the demons that came along with that. Which lead me to reazlied I had lead my self to believes these thoughts, so I became these things.
Now I am believing to see my self as a sexy, strong, seductive woman who isn't going to settle for anything less than she deserves.