When Aleena told me she’d be interested in a project I was explaining to her one day, I was more than happy, I was inspired. I’m thankful that amazing women keep appearing in my life to remind myself what confidence can look like. Our society is hooked on appearances, pant size, and features. My own daughters have let me know that their smaller backsides are all because of me and that they got the short end of the stick in the butt department. This covetousness of course largely influenced by the obvious Kardashian family. I remind them that there is no Jennifer Lopez in my lineage and to maximize whatever they feel are their best features (which I remind them is being kind). Aleena is all kinds of awesome curves and I am not, yet we both have complaints about some of our features. Aleena was looking for a view of herself through someone else’s eyes and she wanted be “free” which in some shots included being undressed. Again, another reason I couldn’t wait to be a part of this session. We were going to celebrate every curve and in my mind the most vulnerable among vulnerable…no clothes. She said “I want to know what the world thinks of me”
Aleena mentioned she was incredibly shy but that most people observe her to be very outgoing and friendly. She likes to make people feel good about themselves and goes out of her way to be empathetic because she has known what hurting feels like. Aleena is a single mom of two teenagers with a full time job. She envisions herself in a few years being with a partner but also admits that having to be a single parent has actually made her a better Mom. The thought of her kids growing up and leaving petrifies her so I asked what she thought was going to help her through that process, she laughed and said “alcohol” with a grin. She was kidding but she knew regardless of how this process was going to play out, it was going to be painful but could also open up more opportunities for her. Part of this photo shoot was Aleena stepping out of her comfort zone and what happened during that session was amazing.
Elisabeth Waller has a gift for making people feel comfortable in what for some is a very intimate experience. I watched Aleena, who was a little rigid and nervous in the beginning start to melt during the session and lean into her body and the positions she was in.
I asked Aleena what were some other things that as a woman made her feel confident.
- A nice bra and underwear
- Putting on a nice dress and heels
- My smile
I loved the last answer but also seeing Aleena look completely amazing in her attire, I asked myself when the last time was that I wore anything matching underneath a.k.a. bra and panties or even bought a pair of underwear that costs over $5. I’m frugal and I can quickly label something like nice lingerie as frivolous, unnecessary or materialistic.
So I challenged myself to get out of my usual and went to Victoria’s Secret that next day. I could feel my body tightening up as I went in “This is stupid, this is too expensive, nobody’s going to even see this stuff on me” I hesitantly picked up a few undies and bras from a table and hurried back to the dressing room as I knew my husband was waiting outside the store. “I’m just popping in to grab something” I assured him.
She measured me and we tried several styles of tops and bottoms. I explained to the twenty something that was helping me that body parts shift after children so getting a good fit takes a few adjustments. She left the room after another try on where I explained to her that having my chest pushed up and in up to my collarbone wasn’t a look I was going for these days. After her and all her perkiness left the fitting room I heard some sobbing that was being consoled by another voice coming from a fitting room to my right. I was absolutely 100% trying to eavesdrop and stopped with my stuffing and fluffing session. I could hear the girl who had been helping me going “You look great…. it’s ok.”
A few minutes later the gal helping me popped back in “Sorry that took so long, ok here try this one on” as she offered another style bra to me. As she handed it to me I asked “Is she ok?” She replied in a hushed tone “She’s in there with her mom, and she’s crying. I’m not really sure why but I know that this company doesn’t do a very good job at displaying models that look like anything in real life, it’s discouraging sometimes for women trying on bras.” I immediately thought of Aleena the day before, how she owned the skin she was in, how she inspired me to go invest in myself and if we all could just know how beautiful we were then the world for a woman would be much gentler.
I heard the door open next to me so I peeked out to see the mom and daughter exiting the dressing room . She wasn’t large by any means, average actually, and for her something didn’t fit the ideal she was seeking.
Our bodies are so different and coming from the other end of the spectrum of size, I find just as much judging for those of us that don’t have a lot of “extra” and have witnessed how easy it feels for someone to comment on your body size. I remember scrolling through Facebook a few months ago and someone posted about a weather anchor on Channel 5. “Is it just me or is she way too skinny?”
I thought to myself how well this would go over if someone posted on their Facebook feed “Is it just me or is she way too fat?” Suggestions are welcome in the comments.
Ladies we need to celebrate what is. Our scars, our wrinkles and the very fact we get to breathe another day can quickly quell our murmurings. If that matching set makes you feel good, go get it. If it’s a run on the treadmill that makes you feel sexy, go for it. The self talk is a big one and believe me, your body is listening. Thank it for having children, for your hands that help others and for your smile that makes another person’s day. Confidence will make its way externally if you give it what it needs to grow on the inside.
I’m proud of Aleena because she did what many won’t. Be vulnerable and confident regardless. I asked her how she felt about the pictures after we saw them and she said that either someone is going to like her for who she is or not….and it didn’t seem to bother her one bit.
If you’d like to more about Elisabeth please visit her Facebook page , website or Instagram and if you’d like to know more about what we’re up to then stay in the loop for more by following Honey Holistic Esthetics on Facebook.