FINDING YOUR 'SiP': BOUDOIR + CELEBRATION OF TRANSFORMATION
I've been a boudoir photographer for just shy of a decade. Over these wonderful years, many inspiring women have shared their stories with me. I've learned from them and celebrated with them through our work together.
But, this story. The story of Em... this one is truly inspirational and especially inspiring to me, because I was witness to this journey.
And at times, along for the ride.
I met Em about two to three years ago relative to an art project she was working on. She told me that a session with me was on her goal list for the July of 2017.
HUH? ME? Did she actually just ask ...ME?
When one of the most awarded fine artists and newly published book authors calls from across the country, saying that her goal is to shoot with you (and ONLY you!), you begin to realize you are onto something special.
In 2015, launched her newest Flora Pisces art collection globally, and published her illustrated book series. So many changes were taking place in her professional life and I followed along.
What I didn't know at the time was that Em would become part of my daily life. We shared a joy for beautiful things, for romantic artistic things, and a truly sick, sick sense of humor. Our common language was laughter.
Over time we also shared some vulnerabilities. And it was at that time I got to know the True Em.
She was once an athlete, humbled by medical weight gain. In recent years, she had suffered from a rare medical condition that not only caused a metabolic standstill, but also hair loss and other physiological burdens. People assumed she was just overweight or overindulgent (a few who even said this to her directly!), but this former model and athlete was suffering. She was living inside a body and mental state that did not belong to her. Once the doctors finally found a cure for her illness, the weight began to dissipate and health returned. The lady Phoenix began to rise. (Ironically, SHE previously lived in Phoenix... How appropriate!)
At age 45, Em began a personal journey to wrangle life.
Donned in her daily uniform of a ball cap and her Nikes, she took to the hills hiking nearly 7 miles a day. Eventually this accelerated into some pretty aggressive rock climbing.
She would send me pictures showing her progress, even sometimes less clothed (LMAO...because girl squad is cool like that).
I would cheer her on and celebrate with her about her newly emerging body. But more so, her spirit. She was always highly, very apparently confident -- but something different was happening here.
It was as if she was re-discovering the real Em. A transformation was in progress.
"YOU'RE FEELING YOUR SiP," I told her.
"My what? SiP? What's THAT?" she asked.
"Your sensuality is your power. It is my lady motto... S-i-P"
#SiP became our rally cry as we both moved toward self improvement.
By the time July 2017 rolled around, Em had lost 90 pounds. 90 POUNDS. She had also gained the most killer legs and booty you could ever imagine, as a result of the rock climbing.
"I AM STILL NOT AT GOAL, STILL NOT PERFECT, BUT I AM READY. I WANT THIS," she said.
"Well, mentally READY means you are PERFECT exactly as you are," I said.
And so, my mission now was to take this sporty, rugged, energetic mountain girl/former engineer ...and help her see what her "SiP" looks like in an intimate setting like my boudoir studio. I could see her fire, (I see everyone's fire!). All it would take is some wardrobe and posing to illuminate it. Her images would be pure, clean, raw and with very little Photoshop. She truly wanted to see her reality at this point... as she approaches 46.
This was her birthday gift. Not for someone else, but for HER. And that's OK. It is not selfish, or vain, or exposition. It is acceptance and celebration. It is about telling her story of HER version of feminine power and sharing it with those who may be inspired by it. Together, we want others to feel the joy and vibrancy that she feels right now.
She is proud of her hard work and triumph. As her friend, I'm proud too.
I am grateful she shares this with us all.
The photos themselves will tell a story of Em finding her "SiP". But the lesson she teaches all of us is this... (And I will list them in bullets, because she is a former engineer and bullet points are her life HAHA):
- There are parts of you waiting to be discovered
- The Boudoir experience is not a just a gift to your partner. It is, truthfully, your gift to yourself.
- You may share it with whomever you choose. That can be one person, or many people. Our reasons are different, but they are ALL OK!
- Transformation is a reason for celebration. You struggle for it, you earn it.
- Imperfect -- is actually SO damn perfect. (As Em demonstrated for us).
I am here for you. I am ready for you.