There’s a stigma about turning 40. Personally, I’ve never felt better. I know who I am and I love that girl. It took me nearly 40 years but I finally found myself. I mean, I guess I always knew I was there, I just no longer feel lost.
One evening back in December an ad popped up for a contest with Kent Smith Photography to win a Boudoir session, or, their special take on boudoir, Noir. I’ve always been curious about this sort of thing but I never really thought it was something I would have the courage to do. I was in a place in life where I was nearing 40 as well as approaching the 20 year anniversary of a traumatic life event and I’d been thinking about both of those milestones a lot and really was working on healing through reflection and self discovery and even challenging myself to do things outside of my comfort zone. Perhaps it was the wine and also the fact that I never imagined in a million years that I would actually win, that pushed me to submit an entry. But, maybe, just maybe, it was meant to be. I deserved to celebrate myself. And, I do believe that if I had not won I would have been led to do this another time, another way. It turns out it was really one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself. It was cathartic and empowering.
I’d spent most of my life struggling to love myself and was very good at self loathing behavior, mistreating and hating my body. At 19 years old someone felt entitled to my body and took it from me without me giving it to them. That event took me to some pretty dark places throughout my life. I realized I’d lived another lifetime of 19 years and I was still stuck in that night. But with the anniversary coming up and the MeToo movement out there and all the hims’ convincing the world that their potential was more valuable than all the hers’ pain, I knew I had to move out of that space. I was tired of feeling like damaged goods with broken pieces that no one would ever love. Doing the session for myself really moved me along on my healing journey.
So many thoughts, feelings and emotions rushed through me. I am beautiful and powerful. I am a woman and a warrior. I’m not damaged. I have beautiful flaws that tell my story. I grew and birthed 3 humans. I am sensual and sexual and that is natural and nothing to be ashamed of. My body is part of me but it is not all of me. I am more. My body is mine, but even if someone took it to use, he did not take me. I am alive. I am human. I matter. I deserve love, even the greatest love of all, self-love, because there is nothing I’m not worthy of. It was a very powerful experience and I am so grateful for everything it gifted me.
I want all women to feel this way about themselves. To see their beauty. We are deserving. And don’t wait for your sign. Just look for it, I promise, if you look hard enough, it’s already there.