Be Your Own Kind of Beautiful
In a world with such impossible (and unrealistic) standards of beauty, it’s difficult for women to achieve body confidence.
This week’s model is no stranger to feeling like no matter what she did, she just couldn’t meet the beauty expectations set by society.
So she defied her comfort zone, booked a boudoir experience, and set her OWN standard of beauty.
This is her story…
I grew up an athlete, playing competitive sports from childhood into college. I love so many of the things that my teammates and coaches have given me through the years. But one of my biggest regrets is that I didn’t take the time to foster a healthier relationship with myself. I viewed myself as having a body that could score and defend, that could succeed or fail. If I gained weight, I would slow myself down. If I lost weight, I lost muscle and strength. I trained 20 hours a week, but I didn’t have a six pack or a thigh gap. My coaches would praise me for my work ethic and in the same sentence say it wasn’t enough. That I wasn’t strong enough, or fast enough, or anything enough.
It’s incredibly draining, both mentally and physically, to work and push your body beyond its limits, knowing that you’ll always be held to the standard of someone better than yourself.
Throughout my athletic career, I craved the drive and the push to be better. But then my career ended, and I finally had the chance to accept myself. I was allowed to be happy with myself because nobody was telling me I shouldn’t be. At the same time, I felt lost. I didn’t know how to see my body without the pressure surrounding it. It took me a few months to realize I could see my body however the f*ck I wanted to. I found pole dance and aerial silks at Pole Dance Fitness, and realized that I could work out and genuinely enjoy it. Further, I realized that there are no rules on who’s allowed to be sexy. I have the right to be confident in my body—who’s to say I don’t? Why should the default be insecurity, and confidence be something surprising? I’m surrounded every day by people who inspire me and love each other and love themselves, and that energy rubs off powerfully.
I booked a boudoir session because I want to document and remember this, how I feel at this point in my life. I love myself, and I love my body, and I want to share that feeling with as many people as I can.
When I saw the first picture, my first thought was, “Holy shit! I love THAT body. That body looks strong and free and sexy and graceful, and it’s goddamn beautiful.” Seeing myself from a removed, almost objective perspective, and seeing the beauty from the outside-in rather than just the inside-out…that’s more than I could have hoped for. The more I looked at it, the more that I saw things I loved rather than things to pick apart, and that’s a powerful thing.
Professional hair and makeup done by Maria Bonacuse-Martin.