Shrapnel, Brides, and Boudoir | Knoxville Boudoir Photographer

I’ve always been an early bloomer.

Not in the “my boobs grew before everyone else’s” sense, more in just the life sense. I got married before all of my friends were even in serious relationships, I had a big girl job for years then quit said big girl job to work for myself. Stuff like that. While I’m grateful for all of that, years go by before I get to share my knowledge, and truth be told it probably fades. As a for instance, I know nothing about dating. Like nothing. I “dated” before Jesse but I was like 15 so can you really even call that dating? I’m not even sure I know how to flirt. Thankfully, I do have a pretty good grasp of weddings, so now that my friends and family are getting engaged and planning weddings, I FINALLY get to be back on that side of things.

A few weeks ago, I went dress shopping with my friend, Kristen. I’m 100% a people watcher, which in turn is probably why I’m a photographer, so sitting back in the dressing area and getting to watch people come out and show off their dream dresses to their family and friends is premium entertainment. I just realized how creepy that all sounded…. I mean after they’re dressed.

As Kristen went back behind the curtain to try another dress on, I watched another girl come out to show hers off. She had her mom, her mother in law, and what I guessed was an aunt all waiting with bated breath. This was it, this was THE dress. They could see it, she could see it, even I could see it. It was made for her. As she stepped onto the platform, a right of passage, and did a spin, all eyes were on her. Her mom stood up to adjust the train, primping and fluffing as she went, and then she said it -

“Its beautiful, but you’ll need to skip a few meals to make sure your hips don’t bust these seams…thats where you gain you know.”

And I watched the joy drop right off her daughter’s face. Something else replaced it, maybe agreement or acceptance. And while she did smile again, it just wasn’t the same. The damage was done. That word shrapnel had already pierced.

Mamas, what if we told our daughters all of the good things about them? What if instead of projecting our own insecurities, we reassured. If instead of spewing venom we flooded the room with kindness? What if we didn’t comment on our daughter’s figures but instead complimented their minds? My first thought when I heard her say that was how I wished I could turn back time, walk over to mom, and shake her real hard. But the truth is, mom says things like that because she herself has heard things like that. Its a vicious cycle and we have to make a conscious decision to end it. We have to raise up daughters to believe that the least interesting thing about themselves is their pant size. We HAVE to, or this won’t ever stop.

When you come into my home, into my studio, we don’t hate on ourselves. We laugh, we joke, we EAT, we drink. and maybe sometimes we cry. We work at undoing all that damage that the world has done to you, and we celebrate our victories. I’ve been shooting boudoir for a long time now, and the one thing I can consistently say is true is that you WILL leave better than when you arrived. You’ll see yourself in a new light, a fresh light. And I’ll be cheering you on all the way.

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