**Be sure to check out Body Confidence, Take 2**
I am not a size 2. I am not even a size 12. I am a plus size, curvy woman. I don’t LOVE my body but I love parts of my body. I love the shape of my curves. I love my breasts. I love my hair. I feel beautiful. I felt all those things in my marriage. But I wouldn’t get naked in front of anyone but my husband. I thought I only looked good clothed.
Being naked would have been one of my biggest reasons for feeling that I couldn’t have sex with someone I hadn’t gotten to know really well. I assumed I would need to trust them not to judge me. Because, let’s face it, I was still judging myself. Casual sex was never on my radar. I couldn’t imagine myself partaking. And then I was suddenly single, really single.
And then I met a woman. I met her like right after the split. She and I only had one intimate meeting but she was placed in my life at the perfect time. She made me feel so beautiful. She complimented my body. She said I was like the women in the paintings. Here is an excerpt from my journal entry about that night:
It was a body image love fest. I had not been fully naked in front of anyone but my husband in many, many years. I was a woman who carried the marks of pregnancy, of not caring for her body in a possible attempt to turn off my husband. I didn’t get much of a chance to get self conscious. I was nurtured and cared for. I was loved and treasured in that moment.
I was so fortunate. The timing was perfect. That set me on a positive course to loving myself and being confident to share myself with others. It was a giant first step to my new life.
From that moment forward, I got it. Sexy is sexy. If you feel sexy, you are sexy. Your potential partner, if they are into you, they are into you. You don’t need to worry about it. They aren’t! Lady Cheeky, a sex educator/blogger, wrote a piece that will forever be a favorite. I try to repost it regularly because it is that good. If you are a plus size woman, go read it and then find your sexy. Just feeling sexy will make others find you sexy. Trust me!
Later in the summer, I remembered that I had wanted to have a boudoir session with a photographer friend. I had wanted to do it for a few years but my husband always thought it was silly. Obviously, I had to do it! I contacted my friend Amanda with Hopes Creations and got it scheduled. I had about three weeks to prepare myself. I wasn’t worried about my body. I was worried about how to get the look I wanted in the pictures. I wanted to make sure they represented me. I wanted to look like myself. That is what I focused on.
When the day arrived I primped and prepped. I wasn’t nervous. I had heard that having these pictures done could really bring up feelings for me. I was prepared. But it was not an issue. I had no issues with dropping my robe. I had no issue being in front of the camera. I survived without injury.
I will admit that when I got the photos back, I cringed. It was a lot to take in. I picked the ones I liked and just pretended the rest didn’t exist. I was recently listening to a Life on the Swingset Podcast about sexual shame. (Episode 186: Women, Sex and Shame) In the episode they discussed a photo shoot Lady Cheeky had and how she had a similar reaction. Cooper, a photographer, assured her that 10% of photos are great shots.
I love the pictures I love. You will see them here on this blog. I gave myself the gift of seeing myself from someone else’s lens. I have gotten great feedback which is also very nice. But I did them for me.
Since then I have had other opportunities to push my body confidence boundaries. I still struggle. I don’t have an issue with sexual experiences. Those are full of energy and everyone involved wants to be there. That is easy. Now the moments that push me are more public events. I know, most people don’t find themselves with the need to be nude or partially nude in public, but I do. I recently took a workshop that required 2 days of complete nudity. I also happen to be experimenting and learning publicly about the world of bdsm. Both of those have allowed me to test my boundaries and my confidence. Any time I feel the fear creep up, I know I have to do it.
So go do it!