People were constantly trying to tell me to change

I come from a family of a lot of women. I have three sisters, four half-sisters, and one brother. With so many women in the family it was very easy to compare myself to my sisters and naturally, I heard other people’s comparisons of us as well. Growing up, I dressed in a tomboy fashion, didn’t wear make-up and rarely did my hair.

I liked the way I dressed and I was content with who I was as a person. But then…

I began hearing how many people complemented my sisters on their wardrobe, hair, make-up, and how pretty they looked. I quickly picked up on the fact that I rarely received these complements. Of course people were constantly trying to tell me to change the way I look but it wasn’t until high school when my confidence and self-esteem began to take a toll.

There was an incident where I was walking down a hallway and I saw two girls. One of them was pointing at me and said, “See, she’d be pretty if she wore make up.” From that moment I began trying to ‘fit in’ to society’s standard of beauty. I am a Mexican woman, so I have naturally tan skin and dark hair but all I would see in media were white women, with light skin and blonde hair. I was convinced those women were truly the beautiful ones and that I’d never be considered beautiful because of the way I looked. The pressure and desire to ‘fit in’ affected my self-esteem and mental health in a negative way.

I began my journey of acceptance when I joined a CrossFit gym. I had heard a lot of good things about it and decided to try it in an attempt to lose weight and hopefully look/feel like I was within society’s standards of beauty body-wise. It was one the most intimidating things I’ve ever done but it was the best decision I ever made. Although I was losing weight, it was no longer about working out to become thin like the models I saw in movies or online. I was becoming physically strong and I LOVED it. I was amazed at what my body was capable of doing. I’m the strongest I’ve ever been now and I don’t work out to be thin anymore. I work out to stay healthy, to push my limits, and to become stronger every day.

I love my muscles, I love my strength, and I booked a shoot with Kristen to work on loving my body the way it is. I think as women our insecurities with our bodies are never-ending but little things like a photo-shoot can help with seeing how truly beautiful we look just was we are. I had heard of boudoir shoots and I was intrigued by the idea but thought it’d be weird if I booked one because from what I had heard, most women do it for their boyfriends or husbands and mine was just going to be for myself. I’m also not good at posing for pictures so I was worried I’d have to pose myself and that I would look incredibly awful and it would all have been a waste of time. But I decided to go for it!

Meeting with Kristen to learn more about the shoot made me feel good about my decision to do it. I was incredibly nervous the day of my shoot. I had never done a professional photo shoot before and I didn’t know what to expect. And even though I am a big fan of lingerie and loved all my outfits, I was so nervous I began doubting my outfit options wondering if I had made the right choices. Kristen is so incredibly sweet and friendly though that she very quickly makes the nerves go away. She makes you feel comfortable, she always talks to you to let you know you’re doing great, and she laughs with you whenever you randomly burst into laughter when you’re trying to look serious.

Seeing my photos was a bit surreal but I was amazed at how they turned out. They turned out better than I expected. Seeing them was like seeing myself from the outside, I couldn’t believe that’s what I actually look like.

The pictures made me have a new appreciation for my tan skin and dark hair because I saw them both, along with the rest of myself, as beautiful and sexy.

If you’re someone who’s thinking of doing a boudoir shoot, stop thinking about it and just do it! And don’t be afraid of doing it just for yourself, make it a gift from you to you! I promise you won’t regret it.