Miss J is another of my babely Glambassadors, a babe who struggled for a wee bit to find the woman that had gone missing for a few years. Her submission for the Glambassador position had me in tears and so did her recap of her experience with me. I am going to let her take over now, because she can explain it way better than I ever could, but let me just say that this woman is on a mission to change the way women and girls see themselves and when she talks about it, she sparkles from the inside.
On October 7th, 2017 I went and did something…SOMETHING HUGE!
For anyone that knows me they know that I am pretty much the girl next door. I am not fancy,and pretty simple in the way I wear my makeup and dress. I am a Momma, a wife, a friend… Iam the one that listens, helps, comforts and nurtures anyone and everyone that needs it. That’s pretty much me in a nutshell.
I have been lost for a long time. The woman that I was was long since gone. I don’t know where or when it exactly happened. Perhaps a little bit, day by day, week by week and year by year as little pieces of who I was were stripped away. It took me watching my children grow to start to see how much of myself I had lost.
I knew I wanted my children to grow up with a Momma with a strong sense of self-love and identity. One that is happy, healthy, confident and comfortable in her own skin. Trust me it wasn’t easy to cut out the negative inner self-talk. However, I knew that I never wanted them to hear me utter one word of negativity because it would kill me to hear them speak of themselves in that way. So I made a choice to stop and never start again.
Part of this journey led me to discover Teri Hofford Photography. Being a lover of photography and a passionate hobby photographer myself, I was instantly drawn to her work. She has this incredible way of capturing people. I love how creative her sessions are and how she captured every body type in flattering ways using shadow and light. Shortly after that I discovered her private group and enjoyed watching her share her love of all things positive and empowering. I love how passionate Teri is and how she makes it her personal goal to help women fall in love with themselves again, and strives to build women up by seeing the beauty in everyone.
Anyone that is in the group knows that you cannot help but feel like you know Teri even if you haven’t met her. She just has this way about her. Teri is real…like what you see is what you get, there is nothing fake about her and I love that.
One day, I happened to be online when I saw her posting a search for Glambassadors. She was looking for people to share her brand and message. I think I looked at this posting a half a dozen times before I decided to apply on a lark because “why would she pick me?”. I am just an average woman. I’m not a model and I’m middle-aged. You know, just a ‘Regular Joe’ so to speak. Imagine my shock when I received an email in my inbox saying I had been selected. Seriously, I was like WHAT?! This cannot be right!? I must have read that email a halfa dozen times. Part of me was like shit, why did I go and do that? And then part of me was like YES! This is going to be AMAZING!
The thing I hadn’t realized at first was that as a Glambassador I was to do a session with her. Well, sure I had toyed with the idea of doing one….maybe at some point in the very distant future…LOL. Well… Teri is Teri and when she gets going on a project it goes full steam ahead! In just a short time she had gathered the team of Glambassadors together and she was booking us for our private sessions. Honestly, I still wasn’t sure what hell I had gotten myself into as I sat alongside all of these stunning and amazing women.
Here I was now one month out from my session and seriously freaking the hell out. I must have gone back and forth on what to wear at least a hundred times. I finally messaged Teri and shesaid, just relax, it’s not about the clothes…It’s about you. She told me not to worry and that she would find the perfect thing in the Boudy Closet for me to wear. So, with that being said, I did my best to put my fear aside and let my outfit obsessing go. I put my trust in her.
The day of my session I was a wreck but did my best to hide it. I am sure Teri could tell, although she never said either way. I was still second guessing my decision to do the session even as I walked in the door. It was like an internal armageddon going on in my brain…LOL. I didn’t think I could do it, yet there was another part of me that was yelling, DO IT! I was a bag of emotions, butterflies of excitement and absolute fear.
Teri was her fabulous self, of course, and that put me a bit more at ease. The first thing I did was pull out the possible outfits that I brought with me and laid them out for Teri’s perusal. Then we were off down the hallway headed to hair and makeup with the incredibly talented, Kylie. Seriously, this gal is amazing! Having never had my makeup done professionally before this was quite the experience. Kylie told me she had been instructed to do my makeup like that of a ‘Victoria Secret’ model. This gave me an inner giggle as there is no way in hell I am anything like a lingerie model let alone a Victoria Secretone. When my makeup was done I was blown away. I hardly recognized myself. It was me, only sexier. I was seriously feeling glamourous now. I am not sure why but Marilyn Monroe seemed to keep popping into my mind. I had always loved her sense of style and the confidence she always seemed to exude in photos. Anyways, now, it was time for the scary part…outfits and pictures! Ack!!!!
Heading back into the main studio, Teri and I chatted about my first outfit and the items I had chosen to bring. Teri pointed out that I had brought a lot of ‘Mom Clothing’…LOL, she was not wrong. Upon looking at it again. I realized she was right, but the whole situation was outside my norm and comfort zone. I typically wear yoga pants, tank tops, and activewear jackets. Now in sports terms, this moment would be considered: GO TIME!
It was indeed my GO TIME and I was now moving full speed ahead in my bra and panties, hoping not to crash, trip or make an absolute fool of myself. I swear my heart was beating so fast, I would be amazed if Teri didn’thear it. My palms were cold and sweaty and I kept thinking,“Oh my God, can I do this? Will I beable to pose right? Will I look super weird?”
Seriously, so many stupid things were going through my mind. I knew I needed to focus so I did my best to channel the music that was playing and Teri’s instructions. My goal now was to show Teri that I could do this and do it well. The first few poses started happening. Teri was fluid, she showed me what to do, she guided me, had me relax and breathe, she made me laugh. I closed my eyes and followed her guidance and with each click of the camera, I began to grow more relaxed. Teri was in her zone, her confidence and ease began to become my own.
As the session progressed and outfits changed and clothing disappeared. I didn’t really notice it anymore. Teri was so right, this session was less about the clothing and all about me, my body and love of self. I know this may sound silly and strange but I cannot explain what happened that morning other than to say I changed. I became more and more comfortable and confident in myself, my movements and my body. By the end of the session I was confident, strong and powerful.
Was I feeling scared or uneasy? Unattractive? Unworthy? Was I worried about my mommy tummy, stretch marks, and my scars? The answer was…
No. I had one feeling and one feeling alone…Freedom. I was finally free. Free from all of it.
The emotional weight of all of the mountains of feelings that I had carried with me each and every day for years, the judgment and over thinking, the worry & self-doubt, the wonder of who I am underneath it all. I could finally see ME. I could feel ME. I was there. I was real. I was raw. I was beautiful!
I had finally been found!