Here’s what I’ve learned recently: photo shoots are one of the best ways you can show yourself love.
And yes…you’ll take some where you can’t stop staring at your stomach or your arms or the way your chin looks bigger than usual and throughout the entirety of the shoot you’ll ask yourself a million times: why the hell is my forehead so shiny?
You will feel uncomfortable at first, but over time, with each new photo shoot, you will find yourself starting to find little things you love about yourself.
As I review the latest pictures from my own photo shoot, I realize how many little things I can fall in love with myself over. My plush, soft belly. My deep brown eyes. My crooked smile and the outline of my lips. My fashion sense which is all over the place, but it’s bright and poppy and fun. The imperfections aren’t as bad as I thought. The quirks make me silly grin….almost like I would towards someone I love.
Outside of my physical appearance, I’m learning to just love myself in the midst of my messiness. In fact, I’m deciding that I want to be MORE messy. Allowing for mistakes. Allowing for growth. Sometimes I find myself in a constant loop of hustling for my self worth- feeling like I need to come across as perfect, when all I really need to do is be here and do my best.
As Sonya Renee Taylor writes in The Body Is Not an Apology: “When we liberate ourselves from the expectation that we must have all things figured out, we enter a sanctuary of empathy.”
This sanctuary has everything I love. Kindness and old friends and great conversations about what it means to be human. And this is the sanctuary I want to inhabit the majority of the time. I know there will be some days I will feel unworthy to even go inside. But, I want to love myself even on those days, and know that when I’m ready to go back in, there will always be enough space for me and my many messes.
Thanks for reading this imperfect little meditation!
“Let’s live lightly, freely, courageously, surrounded only by what brings joy, simplicity, and beauty.” -Shauna Niequist