One the main reasons I wanted to do a boudoir session with Rebecca was because of what I learned during my years in and out of eating disorder treatment. To me, it seems that the most growth occurs when we’re a little uncomfortable. The trick to this kind of growth is to find comfort in the discomfort; finding a way to push ourselves and still be safe. And this was that. A boudoir session is a really special way to challenge my body image and self-esteem issues in a safe environment.
I was only a freshman in high school when I developed Anorexia. It started off super innocently, just dieting and exercising more regularly. Though, when I turned 15, I set a goal weight for myself that was significantly lower than I was at the time. I reached it pretty quickly and continued to surpass it. This led to the first of seven treatment stays.
Looking back, I remember feeling so alone and miserable. And yet, so powerful at the same time. Like if I could conquer my body, then I could conquer the world. The thing is, that is so not true. I ended up leading a life that I didn’t want. I was alone and sad and anxious. I spent a lot of high school in the hospital and simply hating every part of me. My last treatment stay was in the Summer of 2017. It was so hard. It was the first time that I had taken an actual look at my life and realized that I didn’t want this to be the way I lived anymore.
So I made a choice. I flew back to America, and I fought and cried. I did my best. And now, my life is so great. It’s not perfect. And my food isn’t perfect. But when I look around at what I’ve built for myself, I get filled with crazy amounts of gratitude. I’ve realized that nothing about what I’ve done has to do with what my body looks like. I don’t love my body. But I don’t hate it. And I don’t love myself all the time, but I also don’t hate myself anymore. That is more than I ever thought I would have accomplished.
As you can imagine, I was SO nervous for my boudoir session. I can’t remember the last time I walked around my OWN apartment in my underwear. Never mind, someone else’s photography studio. I have to say that it went really well. I’d give the experience a 10/10, and as a former gymnast, a 10 is a BIG deal. When you’re basically naked, it’s a really vulnerable place to be, but during the session, I didn’t feel like it was a bad thing. It was actually really cool. As much as my body was the main focus, it was so not about my body.
When you have an eating disorder and a gymnastics history, most people only look at the negative side of it. But toward the end of the session, Rebecca complimented me by saying that I understood how to move my body. When I said gymnastics taught me how to pose and move within my body, she said something along the lines of how amazing that is. It was the first time that someone pointed out the positive relationship between gymnastics and my body. That is something that I’ve really appreciated reflecting on since.
I think a boudoir session can be a really incredible experience for all kinds of women, especially women who have struggled (and continue) to struggle with body image issues. We don’t get more comfortable in our skin by doing the same things we always do.
Makeup and Hair by Tiferet Lehrman