As many of you know, back in March I had an event at my studio to commemorate International Women’s Day and to celebrate women. I had invited entrepreneur and lifestyle personality Chinae Alexander to be one of the speakers, and she had graciously accepted. It’s now the end of May and I’m still fangirling over her talk. I’m not sure I’ll ever stop thinking about it! She. Was. So. Empowering.
When Chinae spoke from her heart about the feelings women face when they’re not confident in their own skin, she made a powerful connection with every single woman in that audience, including me. I don’t think any of us can say we’ve always been confident in our skin. I don’t think some of us can say we’ve ever been confident in our skin. As women – as human beings – that is a tragedy. Chinae helped to shed light on why this is so common among women of all ages and walks of life, using some words of wisdom from Oprah:
“Beginning when we are girls, most of us are taught to deflect praise. We apologize for our accomplishments. We try to level the field with our family and friends by downplaying our brilliance. We settle for the passenger seat when we long to drive.
That’s why so many of us have been willing to hide our light as adults. Instead of being filled with all the passion and purpose that enable us to offer our best to the world, we empty ourselves in an effort to silence our critics.
The truth is that the naysayers in your life can never be fully satisfied. Whether you hide or shine, they’ll always feel threatened because they don’t believe they are enough.
Stop paying attention to them.
Every time you suppress some part of yourself or allow others to play you small, you are ignoring the owner’s manual your Creator gave you. What I know for sure is this: You are built not to shrink down to less but to blossom into more. To be more splendid. To be more extraordinary. To use every moment to fill yourself up.”
I’m still thinking about these words. Self worth is taught from an early age. Society, and even family traditions, play a huge role in how we’re raised as females. You know… boys are told to just “be boys”. But girls are told to “be nice”. Why not just “be girls”? Aren’t we allowed to do that? If the building blocks of confidence and self-esteem aren’t part of our foundation, it’s no wonder we lack these traits as adults.
To me, being a boudoir photographer is my way of standing up for myself and women everywhere. It’s my way of saying “enough”. It’s time to just be girls. It’s time to acknowledge that even if we don’t have a foundation built on self worth, it’s not too late to knock the walls down and rebuild from the ground up.