Everything I thought I knew about our 31+ years of marriage was a lie

What has been your experience/thoughts/feelings about society’s beauty standards?

Unfortunately, from a young age I was aware from the suggestions in magazines, television, and boys that if you weren’t pretty enough or thin enough then you were not attractive, not desirable, and unlovable. Sadly, that makes women, myself included only see the flaws, whether real or perceived when we look in the mirror and spend so much wasted time not loving ourselves for who we are all because society tries to tell us what we should be. Not everyone is meant to be a size 2. Great for them if they are – but beauty comes in all shapes and sizes. Some of the most beautiful, confident models I have seen in print are plus size models and it is a shame that if you are over a size 10 that anything sexy has to be ordered online.

Tell us your personal story about your journey to self-love.

You are going to make me cry here! Without going into too much detail since there may be people I know that will see this – as you know I went through a traumatic experience 2 months prior to my 50th birthday in a discovery about my husband that made everything I thought I knew about our 31+ years of marriage to be a lie and completely shattered my world. Maybe not the entire marriage – but definitely the last 1-1/2 years. In what I uncovered – I realized that not once had he ever told me I was beautiful, yet was able to freely tell that and more to a complete stranger. He may have told me I looked nice when we dressed up to go out but never pretty or beautiful and that realization was quite painful on top of what I was going through and the things I found. I felt completely undesirable, unloved, unworthy, among other things and certainly did not love myself. Sure I had gained weight over the years and did not love what I saw in the mirror, but so had he – but not once did I ever make him feel anything less than the 25 year old handsome man I married all those years ago.

I was hurt beyond anything I imagined but then I got MAD! I was about to be 50 and I was NOT going to let what he had done define me, consume me, or control me! From that moment on, I decided to put myself first and let 50 become a new chapter for me, to make it be the beginning of the best yet to come! I was going to do what I wanted and needed to do to feel alive and love myself again – anyone be damned if they try to stop me! Every morning in September (my birthday month) when I got ready for work, I took a selfie in a full length mirror and posted on my FB in a series “September Selfie – Road to Fifty!” While it would have been nice for my husband to tell me I was beautiful because that is what he felt in his heart rather than because I called him out…I realized – I do NOT need anyone to tell me that! I need to feel it myself. Of course it did feel nice to have people notice, not just men, but even the women I work with notice a change in me. Those selfies were just the beginning though. It was after I did my session and saw the images that I truly was able to say I loved myself again for who I am everyday! While the cellulite and wrinkle were smoothed out in the images – I am now able to embrace them because they are a part of me and who I am. I earned them and I will wear them with pride instead of disgust. Kristen – you played such a significant role in helping me rediscover myself and to love myself as I am, and I cannot thank you enough.

What was your biggest fear before booking?

Afraid I would be too uncomfortable to pose as asked, to not be able to manage a to smile because I had lost my reason to do so, to not be able to appear or show a sexy side because I was feeling any thing but, thank goodness those things did not come true! Instead, I was in awe of how relaxed and comfortable the experience was. I had an absolute blast and could have spent the entire day letting you take even more pictures!

Were you nervous about your shoot?

Absolutely! After wanting to do this for so long – I was terrified that I would not be able to go through with it – terrified that I would look like a bewildabeast or Java the Hut! But Kristen was an Angel! She calmed my nerves the moment I walked in the studio because she made me feel at home, not like a client, but like a friend, like family. I feel myself tearing up now as I write this because it meant so much to me that she took the time to listen to what was going on with me that prompted me to finally do this. Not only did she listen without judgement, but she showed compassion and genuine concern like a sister would. I freaking love her!

How did you feel after your saw your photos for the first time?

I was in tears because I could not believe the images of the woman I was looking at was me. Not only did I see the beautiful me that you created, but it allowed me to see through the hair and makeup to appreciate and love the vision I see in the mirror everyday instead of pick myself apart.

Honestly, to experience feeling like a super model for the day! A supermodel that didn’t have to deprive herself of a cheeseburger (or 10) to look & feel beautiful; to feel so sexy but not in a sexual way (if that even makes sense.)

What advice would you give to other women thinking about having a boudoir session?

Just do it! You owe this to yourself! This was a gift I gave myself for my 50th birthday and I honestly wish I had gifted this to myself at 30 and 40 as well. I am so proud of myself for finally taking the leap! You will feel a confidence you never thought you had in you – even if you are already a pretty confident woman! Sure, some may want to do a session for their significant other and that is a wonderful gift – but in doing so – PLEASE do it as a gift to YOURSELF first and foremost!