Perfection in Dallas: Confessions of a Boudoir Photographer

I get it. No one on this Earth is immune to insecurity at one point in their lives. Even the prettiest princess has her moments of doubt. How are we supposed to navigate the ever-evolving standards of beauty we are supposed to live up to? I know exactly how you feel.

We as women feel that we must always present the perfect side of ourselves. This can be damaging to one’s self-esteem and self-worth, because perfection does not exist. It is an elusive thief in the night, stealing away the love we have for ourselves. We cannot compare ourselves to one another or to photos in a magazine. This must end here. We have to stop doing this to ourselves.

I never struggled with my weight as a teenager / young adult. I was always very active. I loved to jog, belly dance and even fish, when I wasn’t taking photos! I am dating myself here, but I learned photography on film. I even developed my own film on occasion in a local darkroom. It was so peaceful. Even after a near-fatal car crash in 2001, when I was 19, I remained active. Between work and school, I was always on the move.

One day in June of 2005 I went for a jog and as I completed my second mile, my entire right foot went numb. It almost felt like my foot fell asleep, but I could still feel it enough to walk. The numbness would come and go, but I brushed it aside. The next summer, the numbness began to spread up my right leg. One day, during a thunderstorm, the pain and numbness became unbearable and I finally went to a doctor. I thought the numbness and pain were the ramifications of the back injuries I sustained in that awful car crash in 2001. Oh, how naïve I was.

After many (painful) tests, several years, and consulting 10 doctors in 4 states, I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. It is a disease in which one’s own immune system attacks (and destroys) the myelin sheaths of nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. My MRI lit up with lesions on the left side of my brain, which explained the numbness I was experience on my right side. I was placed on so many medications I lost count. Suddenly, my 150 lbs body swelled to accommodate another 100 lbs. I didn’t know who I was anymore.

I was angry at the world and I hated my body. How was it fair to cut someone down in their prime? After I got sick I thought my life was over and I waited for a death that never came. I was only 23 years old that day my foot went numb. I was healthy and active. Where did I go wrong?

The answer is that I didn’t go wrong. This is life. Things happen. People get sick. There is no fault, only the ramifications of living in an imperfect world. Multiple Sclerosis isn’t a death sentence, it is a life sentence. I had to learn to live my best life within the parameters of my disease. Through converting to the Paleo Diet and incorporating exercise into my routine, dealing with this disease has become a bit easier.

Over the last 14 years I have had to learn to love myself all over again. Some days I struggle. I still resent the life that was stolen from me. Yet, I still remember to enjoy and appreciate the life that I have. Just because I can no longer run 2 miles and I am not a slim 150 lbs anymore does not mean that my life does not have value. I have value. I am a wife, mother, friend, business owner and official cheerleader of all women.

This is what boudoir photography is all about. Though I am not a spry young athlete, I want to use the life I have to uplift my sisters. I want to show every woman in Dallas the beauty that we all see in her. I will do this by capturing her magnificence in the lens of my camera and reflecting her beauty right back at her.

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