Sometimes You Just Need To Go Through Some Shit...| Wisconsin Boudoir | Duende Boudoir

Amanda is a special person to me. Over the years we’ve bonded through our mutual love of lingerie and she’s probably just as obsessed with vintage clothes as I am, always scoping out the best deals in the coolest places.

I’ve photographed her a few times but never really feel like I truly capture her raw essence. It remains elusive but someday I’ll get it! Either way, the images always turn out gorgeous so I must be doing something right.

One thing I really love about working with Amanda is that she trusts and encourages me to create whatever I want with her as the subject. Last year she wore only a veil in the sunlight and the year before that she was one of my first boudoir clients. This time around we went with this awesome brightly dyed vintage girdle set with a sheer tulle skirt on the top (because why the hell not) and then her own Lonely lingerie set paired with one of my kimonos. Perfection!

When I asked her to do a write up for me I knew I was going to get a story because I had seen, through social media and photographing her, the weight changes throughout the years but I had no idea the personal struggle that went behind it and how far back it went. I feel like a lot of us can see ourselves in this story and relate to temporarily losing our way when it comes to relationships and the struggle to stay true to ourselves above all else.

And without further ado, Amanda’s words-

“When asked to write about my journey through weight loss, body image, and self love, I chuckled to myself and thought, “Shit, where do I begin?” I honestly can’t remember the first time I felt ashamed of my body but if I had to guess, I’d say about 8 years old. That in itself is troubling to say the least. I knew that I was bigger than most of my classmates but it honestly never bothered me until the teasing started. Looking back it’s clear how the downward spiral of self criticism began: we usually are comfortable until someone else makes us question our image and self worth.

Creating an identity and having a sense of style was a struggle for many, many years, which I can laugh about now. In fifth grade my favorite shirt was a thin cotton tie dye poncho that I wore constantly. I was a “tom boy” for years and remember refusing to wear a bra to the point where my mother would check me before I left for school. I was an early bloomer and just wasn’t having it. Floppy boobs or bust, baby. Puberty was just a vapid ole bitch in general. I was terrified of shaving and had hairy armpits for a while until one of my friends moms said something to me.

My parents were always very gentle about the way they handled concerns about me, which I will always appreciate. Around the end of elementary school they started taking me to a dietitian. I knew that they were just trying to help me but I was so embarrassed whenever we went to the clinic and prayed that we wouldn’t run into anyone that we knew. I never even told any of my friends about it and eventually buried it so far in my memories that it didn't resurface until a few years ago. Toward the end of middle school depression set in and I’ve never felt so alone in my entire life. I tried explaining my feelings to my friends and they just didn’t understand why I was sad.

At my largest I was a size 18/20, weighted 230lbs, and was incredibly depressed. I became convinced that I would probably have heart problems, develop diabetes, and would never find love if something didn't change. I started working out at a small fitness center and felt good about my path until a friends dad approached me one day and offered his advice on building muscle vs. burning fat. I’m sure he meant well but again, the stomach cramp of embarrassment set in and my workouts became less frequent because of it. I struggled with yo-yo dieting into my college years until I eventually managed to maintain 160lbs. In 2013 I contracted a parasitic infection called, cryptosporidium, which was part of an outbreak in the Midwest linked to contaminated lettuce. I lost about 15 or 20lbs in two weeks and it was the sickest I’ve been in my entire life. My diet changed quite a bit after that and I became more active in attempts to slowly heal myself.

Just as I was starting to feel healthy and got accustomed to a smaller self, I met a guy. At first I thought his sense of humor was just strange and that teasing was his shtick, but as the words became more hurtful and specific to me, my arms, my belly, my stretch marks, my legs…the voice of denial faded and the truth set in. “You can just get plastic surgery to fix that.” “You shouldn’t wear shorts. You just don’t have the legs for it.” His words cut me deeper than any childhood dickweed. When things finally ended I fell into a deep depression of guilt, constantly asking myself how I had let that happen to me. Why didn’t I leave early on? Why didn’t I stand up for myself? The answer is fear and it is a powerful motivator.

I desperately needed to regain my independence and sense of empowerment. I caught wind that Massive Attack would be playing a festival in San Francisco so I bought myself a ticket and went on a weekend trip by myself. My family thought I was crazy but it was one of the best things I ever could’ve done for myself. I felt like a new person when I got home and decided to cut my bust length hair to my chin, got bangs, and a tattoo. It comforted me in a way I can’t describe.

It took a long time to build up the courage to open myself up to someone after that. The first guy I saw was super fit and always had been. He knew about my journey but just couldn’t relate and that’s okay, but the first time he saw me naked he said, “When is the next session with your personal trainer?” and my heart sank. Really dude? Needless to say that didn’t last long and I didn’t date for a while. The next guy shared a similar story to me and also lost a lot of weight. It was so relieving to meet someone that I didn’t have to explain anything to, because he had been through it too. But over time it became clear that we were very different and that gas lighting had been happening for a while.

When things ended at the beginning of the year it was obvious that the things I was “overreacting” about were true. I felt betrayed, miserable, and enraged. I soon realized that those feelings were unsustainable and that I should transform that negative energy into something better. I was interested in boxing for a while and decided to take a class with a friend. She bailed out at the last minute and I almost did too, but then I realized that it would be good to do something for myself and by myself. The feeling after that first class was so intoxicatingly empowering that I’ve been hooked ever since. Nothing has ever made me feel more strong and confident in my entire life. I made a promise to myself from that day that I would put myself and my happiness first before anyone else. Live a bit more, take more chances, and embrace change. I dyed my hair, got new glasses, met a new dude, and finally feel like everything has fallen into place. Going to the gym regularly has been great for my stress, anxiety, and confidence. It’s kind of funny how things came full circle from dreading gym class to missing the gym when I’m sick or reschedule a workout. Everyone’s journey with health is different and sometimes it just takes a while to figure out what your body needs.

Losing a substantial amount of weight is often glamorized to the point where all we really talk about are the physical changes, when it is really a long, hard, and emotionally draining process. I still worry about moving out of the way for people and exaggerate the amount of space to give them. I have stretch marks and extra skin, especially around my belly. The most frustrating part is that I’m strong now and have hard abs underneath, but no matter now many crunches I do that extra skin has nowhere to go. I’ve considered surgery and felt guilty/vain about it for the longest time. When I talked to my boyfriend about it recently, he told me that I should do whatever makes me happy. What a great dude, eh?

Looking back to the awkward chubby girl with Cheeto stained fingers, I still wouldn’t change a thing because I wouldn’t be the same person. Sometimes you just need to go through some shit in order to become the person you were meant to be.”

To The Fullest Capacity | Nashville Boudoir | Duende Boudoir

I talk about loving yourself and learning to love yourself A LOT. I practically shout, "YOU ARE A STUNNER!" to every woman who complains about their body anywhere within my earshot. But the truth is that it's not that easy to see your beauty when you pick yourself apart all the time. You don't just fucking wake up one day and feel at peace with the flesh cage that permits you to live this life. It takes WORK. And I talk about that a lot too. It's a real battleground for most women, and a lot of them are fighting on the wrong side. Wasting all of that precious energy attacking themselves instead of reveling in the miracle of being alive! This life is such a precious gift, something so trivial as your stretch marks should not control your thoughts. My goal is to help you flip that switch from hate to love, to show you just how amazing you really are, and to empower you to help others do the same. 

I recently had an amazing session with Chelsea whose self-image is something to aspire to. I asked her to write a little sumthin' sumthin' for me and when I received the following response I swear to you I started crying in public. And you know why? Because SO MANY WOMEN HATE THEMSELVES THAT FINDING ONE THAT DOESN'T FEELS LIKE YOU'RE IN THE MIDST OF A MAGICAL BEING. I encourage anyone who is not okay in their body to print this passage out and put it on their mirror. Let's all try to get our Chelsea on! 

Here's what she had to say-

My body is my vessel. No, not in a religious, spiritual, or metaphysical way, but in the truest most factual sense possible. There have been times when it has failed me, made me feel like a complete outsider, and hate every inch of my being. But I've also rejoiced within it, worshiped it like an altar and anointed every curve I have. Only within the past few years have I learned to balance forgiveness and self love. At 21 years old I've helped myself see how strong and beautiful my body truly is, and see that every possibility is mine to grab. I've been in awe of my muscles, gotten lost in the stretch marks that map my thighs, and fallen in love with my self. This is the only vessel that I'll have in this lifetime, it's the only thing I have to get me through this journey and to survive. Why would I spend so much time beating it up and forcing it to be things that it's not? I'm going to nourish it with the love and affection it deserves. I'm going to celebrate every day I get to spend wrapped up in its perfection. I am going to love myself to the fullest capacity.

Holy shit right? 

And to top it off, her images are just going to blow you away!

Lingerie- Duende Boudoir Lingerie Closet

Corsets- Corsettery

To book your own Self-Love Experience- CLICK HERE

Blue-Haired Girl | Memphis Boudoir | Duende Boudoir

Sometimes I don't have much to say in my blog posts. The writing gods aren't blessing me right now and I don't feel like regurgitating the same 'love yourself' mantra to you again because honestly I'm struggling right now personally. 

Everything is sort of out of balance in a big way for me.

I'm working on getting things back on track, sorting through my priorities, and changing some things.

It gets old, this re-aligning. I feel like I have to do it a lot.

But maybe it's because I want the best life for myself, who knows. 

Either way I'm still taking on boudoir clients! And I'm pushing myself to try new things, to create in new locations, to just let the human in front of me BE more of who they are and then pose around that. 

This is Luna. A beautiful, currently blue-haired woman living in Memphis. We didn't really get to connect as much as I usually like but I can tell that she has stories within her. This was her first boudoir shoot and she really rocked it out!

Darling Just Fucking Own It- Part 3 | Minneapolis Boudoir | Duende Boudoir

Here it is people!

Part 3 of Darling Just Fucking Own It!

If you haven't yet I suggest you go back and look at Part 1 and Part 2 so you can better acquaint yourself with Kit and the message behind these posts. 

Wardrobe- Duende Boudoir Wardrobe Closet

Hair and Makeup Artist- Elle Allen Hair and Makeup

To book your own self-empowerment session- Click this! 

Darling Just Fucking Own It- Part 2 | Minneapolis Boudoir | Duende Boudoir

Remember when I wrote about this awesome powerhouse of a woman? If not, hop on over HERE to catch up and check out the first set of images.

In that first post I also talked about how I'm doing things a bit differently now and I'm following my heart more. Which really is a fancy-ass way of saying I'm gonna just get a bit more RAW and SEXY and make imagery that give you ALLLL THE FEELS, HOKAY?!

So without further ado here is Part 2 of my session with Kit.

And YESSS PEOPLE THERE IS A PART 3!

So stay tuned for even MORE. 

Also p.s. aren't those balloons the BEST!? (And that ass gives me serious squat goals.) 

Wardrobe (and balloons)- Duende Boudoir Wardrobe Closet

Hair and Makeup- Elle Allen Hair & Makeup

To Book a shoot with me- Click This!