I met Anna just shy of a year ago. I had just left the corporate world and was working part time at Anthropologie’s Rittenhouse store. I was in back stock on my break when I noticed a strikingly beautiful woman. It wasn’t just her looks; yes, she had that going for her, but she also had a great aura. Something drew me to her like a sweet smelling perfume. Always one to strike up a conversation, I started chatting. She had recently moved from Virginia and was a student at a local college. Surprise, surprise, she lived down the street from me. She was an Old City Philly babe like myself. Since then, Anna and I have become better and better friends. She’s helped me at workshops, put together lingerie kits, photograph for this blog, yada, yada, yada. We’ve also become gym rats, working out together on the weekends and keeping each other motivated throughout the week.
By no means am I old, but I am getting older. About to hit the big 3-0, I’m still comfortable and confident to pose in my me-made undies. Being a photographer, I’m not shy in front of or behind the camera. It’s actually very natural for me. Also, I work hard for my body and want to encourage others to feel comfortable in their own skin in a way that is not sex kitten or va va voom. That last portion is really important to me. Never do I want to come across as some sort of sexual object. Always, always, always my focus is to encourage body positivity and highlight the art of handmade.
I know there will be a day when I don’t feel comfortable to model my own undies. Over the last year, my body, especially my boobs (bug bites to 32B/C), have changed. I try hard not to, but I have been feeling more and more self conscious. It’s not that I hate it, just feels foreign to me. Dealing with changing/aging bodies is something I want to post about on this blog, but I am still trying to figure out how and what I want to say about it.
On a recent shoot where Anna was playing photographer (I’ve been helping her learn more about it), I was feeling especially blah. We all have those days. I texted her that night to thank her.
Me: As always, thanks for your help today and listening to my own insecurities. I’m getting old. Can’t be doing this that much longer.
Anna: Thank you for showing me the ropes on photography! I really really like it. And babe we all have insecurities. I could go all day about my own. Also age is only a number, you have an amazing body that has done so many good things to you throughout your life — it gets you through all of your runs, lifts, walks and busy working days. You’re beautiful and need to believe it.
Me: Thanks girl. You know it’s sometimes hard to believe, but I’m thankful for my ASS-ets. Haha.
Anna: Hahaha as you should be. You got the ASS-ets for sure.
I ain’t lying folks. Proof is here.
So because she is an amazing human inside and out, I asked Anna to share her own thoughts about body positivity. Take it away Anna…
The words “body confidence” and “body positivity” are words I have heard every single girl utter, followed by “I wish I had ____”. Believe me, I wish I had a lot of things—money to travel, more puppies (seriously, my puppy-fever is at an all time high), and more confidence. Body confidence and body positivity are viewed as this mystery “thing” that everyone is desperate to have. Pressure to be a certain size or to look a certain way is literally EVERYWHERE—Instagram, magazines, television, movies, friends, even our families. As someone who has had her photos taken down from a social media page for being a certain size, I understand these insecurities. So, the inner debate is how do I build confidence in how I look while being surrounded by the exact opposite message?” My advice for you is to focus on your soul. Focus on who you are—what you love, what makes you laugh, and what makes you smile. Looks are skin deep, and although that may be the first thing people notice, your soul and personality will impact them in a way much larger than any number on your jeans or the number on the scale.
I modeled my Nina on Madalynne before. It was last fall that strutted around Rittenhouse Square in my favorite bralette. Today however is very different. I’ve never ever done something like this before. Shirtless? I was terrified, but I told Maddie and myself I would do it. I could have said no. I’ve hated my body for years, but I’ve slowly began to wonder why? Why would I think of something that provides air to my lungs, blood in my veins, and two feet to carry me anywhere across this earth as “ugly or fat”? You only have one body to carry you through this life. Treat it well.