I Can’t Fix “I Hate Myself” in Photoshop

So, this is a sort of “reblog” of a post I did back in 2014. Lately I have been running into SO MANY women that are beautiful inside and out and have mates and loved ones that wouldn’t even consider changing one tiny thing about them, yet they just cannot seem to quit picking out THE MOST insignificant “flaws” they see in themselves. These women that bless my studio have just about ruined their sessions with me because instead of seeing this gorgeous photo in its entirety, they only see the hair they think is out of place, the wrinkle under her eye, the completely non-existent fat in the arm. I watch as they drive themselves CRAZY throughout the entire shoot for the most insignificant things that absolutely no one but themselves can see.

Ladies: I give this post…

Now, take a moment and just breathe. Let me ask you this: what would happen if you treated anyone else in this whole wide world the way you treat yourself? Make the cycle stop right now. Because here’s the thing: whether it stops now or continues on for your whole life, you still have to wake up everyday and live that life. How you do it is up to you.

It has been a rough few weeks with you ladies (she says while scratching her head, one eyebrow raised). Lately I have had a rash of women that do not like themselves, fiercely, come in to get photographed. If I pointed out every single physical characteristic of myself that I believed were unpleasing to others I’d be here all day.

In fact, let’s just start with the face. Yes, ladies, that’s me. In all my glory. Unwashed hair, no makeup…lest you’re thinking: “What would she know?? She can Photoshop herself into Gisele Bundchen status if she wanted to!” Well here I am.photo-on-11-3-14-at-12-03-pm

So let’s see here. My eyes are too close together, I have bags under my eyes, I have a big overbite, blemishes on my chin, wrinkles on my forehead, crows feet, frizzy-ass hair, gray roots…and this is just the face gals. I don’t have time to run you through the body.

And even if I juuuuuust take a few moments and do this:dsc-501-2

I am still fully aware of what I really look like.

It is one of the most interesting things in the world to work with women. So many walks of life, so many trials, tribulations, celebrations, milestones…so much to commemorate. I get why you come to me. Whether it’s for you, for him…whatever: you come to me to feel beautiful and get proof that you are beautiful. I’m a girl. I know.

But I simply cannot Photoshop you into liking yourself.

We all have insecurities. I have a ton! I just went through a 5 year battle of just hating myself physically. And I had a good grip on things, I thought. I am not a 41 year old woman that wants to forever be 25. I know it’s impossible and I have no desire to botox my way into fighting the fact that I’m getting older. It’s just not for me. But what I finally realized was that I am actually fine looking at who I have become in the mirror; it was the perception I thought others had of me that was getting in the way. And listen, this doesn’t come from nowhere. We have each been in lots of situations where friends or loved ones thought they were doing us a favor by pointing out the things we want to hide the most (like my ass) so we can’t blame it all on the magazines. My husband, God love him, has made more than one “helpful” comment about my ass looking like a shelf. Why did he think he was actually being complimentary? Because he noticed I dropped a few pounds for whatever reason and thought I would be happy when he exclaimed “Hey! You lost your shelf butt!” But what it really made me think was: How long had I been walking past him with him thinking “Damn her ass is getting f-a-t. You could set a drink on that thing!” And yes, you may not believe this, but I have actually found out that some women that knew me when I was a size 4 have been just WAITING for me to get fat and, in fact, were disappointed when I either hadn’t gotten fat yet or wasn’t fat enough to make them feel better about themselves. No I am not kidding and it was so disappointing on so many levels. So when I hit 36 and the metabolism starting to snail to a turtle crawl it was devastating for me. We all go through it, I know.

But I had let my entire self worth become about my body. It was so predictable. It was so disappointing. I was so angry with myself for obsessing about something that was so insignificant. I was a size 4. I am now a size 8 on my top and an 10 on my bottom. **GASP!!!** How can I live with myself?!?

But then I hit a crossroad and everything changed. I realized I could turn left and spend the rest of my life predictably and boringly being the woman that obsesses over her weight, her ass, her wrinkles, her size 8 bottom and continue to live on the diet roller coaster and actively volunteer in the love/hate relationship of “Yay! I lost a pound! I rock!” and then “Boo! I gained a pound! I’m worthless!”. Or I could turn right and simply put, accept myself. And at that moment the only thing that mattered was what I thought about myself. And at that moment it hit me that, for some reason, I didn’t care what others opinions were of me. And then in the next moment, something beautiful happened:

The gap between what I thought I looked like (ugly, old and fat) and what I actually look like and what the world sees me as (normal, pretty and of average weight) closed.

Well, it didn’t close completely, but wow did it get a ton smaller. I don’t know why all of a sudden I accepted myself but I did. I am now accepting of who I am, I love myself and yes I could lose a few pounds but who the hell cares?? I realized I would MUCH rather eat the foods I like, while still making healthy choices of course, be active and healthy and enjoy my life rather than count calories/points and hate myself into an early grave (all while starving and eating ridiculous things like rice cakes…what in the name of all things big and small are those damn tasteless things anyway??) And you know what happened?

I lost weight. And then I put it back on, and I don’t give a shit.The funny thing is I still weigh just as much as I did when I was trying to starve myself into happiness. So poop on it: I chose to have a life and enjoy it while I can rather than starve it and be miserable. Join me…it’s so fun here. 

I know…that’s a lot of talk you didn’t ask for but I wanted you to know my journey so you know that when I say this it’s with love, understanding and empathy:

Quit picking corn out of chicken shit. Yes, I said it.

Please stop looking at a photo of yourself that I took and say “Oh my God…I’m so fat.” or “Wow where did those wrinkles come from”….my boobs look weird in that photo, my hair isn’t laying right, my waist looks fat there, my ass looks fat….etc etc and please stop doing the whole “It’s not you, it’s me” thing. It’s not that you did a bad job; I’m just that ugly/fat/hard to work with…etc etc. Just stop it. Quit looking at these photos and seeing these phantom “issues” you have with yourself because you know what? You are the ONLY one obsessing about it and the moral of the story is: obsessing will not change it. Quit obsessing over something you either will not or cannot change. Enough. ENOUGH!

If you hate yourself walking into my studio you will not like yourself in my photos. No amount of harassing yourself will change that. And no amount of Photoshopping a smaller waist, smaller ass, bigger boobs or whatever will change that for you.

So here is a gift from me to you.  I believe each of you self-haters will find this awesome TedTalk video quite  interesting. It’s only 15 minutes and please, take a moment and watch it. Not for me, for you.

So…tell me about yourself.



Remember Your First Bump?

Pittsburgh Maternity Boudoir Photographer-4I do. I loooooooooved watching my belly grow. I didn’t have one care in the world that everything else grew with it. It’s such beautiful time of excitement and planning.

This is her 2nd shoot with me. She came in 2 years ago for a boudoir shoot for her then fiancé as a gift for their wedding night. Gosh how time flies. You’ll see in another post at some point that I also photographed another gorgeous previous client of mine on this property as well. In fact, it’s her family’s property and one that we also photographed for her wedding. Both pregnant and only 2 weeks apart. So much fun to see both of them and their growing bumps.

It’s a true gift being able to see my clients go through each lovely milestone as they expand their lives and families. Not a bad way to make a living.Pittsburgh Maternity Boudoir Photographer-6Pittsburgh Maternity Boudoir Photographer-2Pittsburgh Maternity Boudoir Photographer-5Pittsburgh Maternity Boudoir Photographer-1Pittsburgh Maternity Boudoir Photographer-3Makeover by AtHome Beauty.

LiveCast Giveaways!

You DO NOT want to miss this!!FBWk3

Join Lee Ann Boersma, owner of AtHome Beauty, and me (right here) for tips on natural summer beauty looks with GIVEAWAYS! Not only will Lee Ann be giving away a sweet makeup bag filled with goodies, but Scout & Cellar rep, Christy Stuber, gave us one lovely bottle of wine to give away as well! Never heard of “clean” wine? Look up Christy’s site and take a few moments to read through the info. If you’re a wine drinker like me, you’ll never go back to other wines!

Photography that Heals

Your Are Beautiful Just As You Are-7Follow me on this…who would have ever thought that visually capturing the very thing that makes you so uncomfortable, placing an infinite telescope and spotlight upon that which you think you loathe, to see and view and then memorialize for all time, would actually be the very thing that heals your wounds?

That’s what photography does. At least in my studio.

Lately I have been sent emails, had phone calls and even been in just random, chance situations that have consisted of some of the deepest, most sincere, painful, beautiful and tumultuous stories of women’s journeys into relationships with their Self. It has been both miraculous, awe-inspiring and yet so agonizing and torturous. These words that I read and the voices that I hear on the other end of the phone, filled with so much pain and so much hope, can’t help but make me speechless in their courage to finally come clean to themselves. Yet it’s so lovely to watch as this woman’s journey begins, this woman’s journey is well on its way, this one hits a bump in the road while another is simply soaring.

These women. They tell me all about their scars, both physical and emotional. The bullying as a child, the abuse from a spouse. I hear and read tails of yo-yo diets, self-loathing and eating disorders. Stories that depict full circles of lessons learned, like putting every hope, dollar in the bank, dream they’ve ever dreamt and every ounce of responsibility to make herself FINALLY happy poured into a cosmetic procedure, only to then sit in misery because it wasn’t nearly as fulfilling as she wished, with all her might. To then realize that her every hope, dollar and dream was always sitting right there, right in front her, just waiting to be noticed.

How amazing it still is to me that these are the women that come to me to stand in front of my camera, so bravely, to document allllllllllllll of that. All of those fears, hopes, loathing, breakthroughs, joy, depression, milestones, set backs just standing there waiting to be acknowledged for all time.

The human condition….it’s a confusing one. You would think that the women that fall under these umbrellas that I described above would RUN from my camera, screaming all the way. Yet, it is the very and complete opposite.

Have you ever watched a woman reckon with her Self?

It’s a bold occurrence and one that if you’ve been privy to, you’ll never forget it. I am privileged enough to get to see it every time I lift my camera to my eye. There she is, staring into a black hole, mustering all that is inside her, nervous that she won’t like what she sees when she looks back at herself in that image, so excited at the prospect that she will, filled with all that hope that for once, just once, she will find herself beautiful.

Have you ever watched a woman unexpectedly find peace in the image of her Self?

It’s mighty. The delight, calm and acceptance that washes over her is powerful. But more importantly, it’s healing.  Suddenly, the enemy becomes the friend and a whole new relationship begins.

Instinctively, she somehow knew that to heal, she actually had to memorialize, celebrate and hold up high that which she detested and despised.

How magnificent is that?Your Are Beautiful Just As You Are-2Your Are Beautiful Just As You Are-5Your Are Beautiful Just As You Are-4Your Are Beautiful Just As You Are-1Your Are Beautiful Just As You Are-6Your Are Beautiful Just As You Are-3Makeover by AtHome Beauty.

Facebook LiveCast No. 2!

Elizabeth Craig Facebook LiveCast2Is today!! YAYYYY!!! I can’t WAIT you guys! I’m not sure if you remember Amy, but she is one hell of a powerhouse and I fell in love with her before I even met her. Her very first email told me that she’s all heart and I’m so excited for you to meet her.

Though this story does have a lot to do with Amy’s weight loss journey, it’s not what you think. Let me be clear: it is NOT “Hey gang! I lost 100 lbs and my life changed forever! Follow my weight loss program that I’m selling to you so you can begin living the life you’ve always wanted to live NOW! Just lose the weight and you’ll be HAPPY!” We will not only be talking about Amy’s weight loss success, but more importantly, we will be talking about the myths she realized about weight loss while going through her journey. They’re important and if you’re struggling right now with an obsession to be thin, you have to hear this.

You’ll also hear all about Amy’s son’s struggle with his mental health and how this has impacted Amy and her family and what they do to not only make sure that he is living his best life, but that they are all living their best family life together.

And finally,  Amy will also discuss how her weight loss shifted everything in her life and how it even saved her marriage. I haven’t even heard this story yet.

There is just SO much to jam into this livecast today, so join us at 2pm! As always, if you cannot make it at 2pm, I will make sure to post the video so you can watch it later.

Remember, this livecast will be on my PERSONAL Facebook profile page. NOT my PROFESSIONAL page. Make sure to follow this link and be ready to be inspired!