Ten borrowed years have passed since I heard the words “massive pulmonary embolism with infarction and stroke.” My body may be scarred, but she is beautiful. She had to break, before I could shine.
Nine years have passed since the first time I heard the words “I’m sorry but there is no heartbeat.” My womb may be broken, but her body is strong. She has created life and swaddled them in death. Her babies they will always be.
I have put my body through hell in the fight for motherhood. She went into battle and carried me on my hardest days. She’s taken 100s of shots to the abdomen and held out hope that the eggs would grow. In the spring she heard the words “your journey is done.” She held her head high. Yet, she still believes in the dream that one day her weary arms will hold a baby of her own.
I was angry with the body I saw in the mirror. The body didn’t fit the mold. It couldn’t carry life to term. It could no longer run or even breathe in the cold. My body is broken and bruised. Yet there I was standing tall in front of a mirror. My body had more faith in me than I did. She believed and so I did.
In July I bought my first bikini in over 15 years. I wore it proudly at the pool. No one made comments or sneered. I found confidence that I didn’t know I had.
Somewhere along the way I must of felt brave and signed on a mailing list to get more info on a boudoir session. In late July I got an email looking for models for outdoor boudoir shoots. In an act of boldness I responded to the email and to my surprise I got chosen. I talked myself out of replying a million times over. Yet I dug deep and before I knew it I was on the phone with Alyssa from Illuminate Boudoir talking about my session. I chose to do my shoot at Wisconsin Point at the end of September.
You may be wondering why did I choose Wisconsin Point? The answer is simple, healing and connection. When I look out at the vast lake I can feel the courage and strength of my ancestors. I am the descendent of Voyagers who crossed the ocean in the name of exploration and progress. I think about the courage it took to paddle their canoes across the mighty lake to the land of the unknown. As I stand on her shores I think about my very Great Grandmother Chief Sky Woman who fell in love and married one of those voyagers. This lake runs through my soul like blood does through my veins. It’s where my family began. Lake Superior will always be apart of me and my soul will always belong to her.
Healing, this big lake of ours has healed me in more ways than I could ever explain. I have cried tears, filled the air with laughter, and just sat quietly on her shores. We stood on her shore and said good bye to our sweet son Emmett as her waves swallowed his stone turtles. She took on the grief that I could not contain. She took my anger, my sadness, guilt, and replaced it with peace. This mighty lake of ours heals me and allows me to come away renewed. So this place was the perfect place to live boldly through boudoir.
Alyssa made me feel safe and loved through out the entire process. She explains everything throughly and goes out of her way to make sure that you are comfortable. I told Alyssa that I wanted my portraits to feel strong yet feminine. I wanted them to capture me as a human and not just me as the survivor. She understood and we planned for the end of September.
I couldn’t have asked for a better weather day. It was perfect, unlike my makeup. When I walked out of the cosmetic bar I was feeling defeated. The girl who did my makeup didn’t do a good job and I head to Walgreens to get supplies to fix it. I did my best, yet I still didn’t feel like me. I contemplated canceling the shoot. But I didn’t, I decided to just go with it and headed to the coffee shop to meet Alyssa. As soon as I saw Alyssa she reassured me that I looked beautiful and that everything was going to be just fine. Those words, her words were just what I needed to hear.
Alyssa = magical. It’s hard to explain but she is the ultimate confidence whisperer. She just makes you feel incredible in front of her camera. So incredible to the point that you kind of forget that you are outdoors on a public beach posing in your underwear. Alyssa puts a lot of thought into everything that she does during the shoot to ensure that you have a beautiful experience. She took the time to show me how to pose and would direct me on where/how to look. My favorite line she said was “ok, now a little smile for yourself.”
“Smile for yourself” sums up this entire experience. The boudoir shoot was for me and me alone. I drove away from Wisconsin Point feeling incredible and so full of light. That day is a day I will always treasure. The feelings I felt and the confidence I gained will carry me for the rest of my days.
Going into reveal day I had mix emotions as I was worried about how I’d look with all the makeup. I can hands down tell you that Alyssa did not disappoint. Seeing my portraits for the first time got me right in the feels and teary eyed. It took me a second to realize that I was actually the girl in the photos. My photos were so full of life and light, I could barely believe that they were mine. Each one had a different feel from feminine to serious, to a little naughty and I loved them all. I walked out of Alyssa’s studio with portraits in hand and a new dose of self love in my pocket. She empowered me to view myself in a whole new light and I am going to let that little light shine.
Truth: Boudoir is for everyone! If you have a body, then you my friend have a boudoir body. I went into my session filled with insecurities around my double chin and lovely large ankles. Alyssa knew exactly what poses would work for my body and the end result was beautiful. If I can do boudoir, than YOU CAN do boudoir too!
If you would like to schedule your own boudoir session visit: http://www.illuminateboudoir.com for more information. I promise you will not regret it!
Now for the incredible photos!