My favourite part of being a boudoir photographer is showing people their photos. The gasps, the shocked “Is that really me?!”, the excitement, the relief, the tears… the part where they finally start to believe in themselves. I also hear a lot of stories- sometimes hard stories- about the things that brought people to me. Here’s one of them.
Don’t Call Me Cute
Growing up a chubby girl, all people ever called me was cute. “You’re so cute,” they’d say, or “Look at your cute round cheeks.” Pretty was for other girls. Skinny girls. Girls with long legs and lithe bodies. My mom was the only one to ever call me beautiful, and every kid knows their mom doesn’t count- not in that great tally of voices that tell you what your body is worth to the world.
As they grew, those girls with slender waists and graceful limbs became beautiful and sexy. I stayed cute. Cute is a word for children and puppies, not for grown women, but no one but me seems to notice that. Sometimes, searching, they compliment my smile. That’s allowed, fat girls can have a nice smile. Friends and lovers, meaning well, continue to draw me back to childhood with that one word- cute. No one has ever called me sexy. Beautiful. Sensual. And I know it shouldn’t matter, I know mine should be the opinion that counts, but knowing it doesn’t make it true. How am I supposed to feel sexy when no one has ever seen me that way?
Making the appointment to do these photos was hard. Not bailing was harder. Believing I was worth it was the hardest yet. But looking at these photos I can finally see myself as sexy. Beautiful. Fucking HOT. And I wonder- why did nobody tell me?