I sat here for a long time thinking about how I got here. A woman with little confidence, often using my sense of humor to cover my unhappiness with myself, to brand ambassador for an incredibly talented photographer. Life is funny. I always knew deep down that there was confidence in me but no idea how to get it out. I thought, “I’m not skinny enough, I hate my arms, I hate my thighs, my chin is too big” the list goes on and on and it went on for YEARS! Why are we so mean to ourselves, so hard on ourselves? Why do we make it so hard for ourselves to be happy? It shouldn’t be so hard to be happy.
One day I woke up and it was like my brain completely changed while I was sleeping. I remember getting out of bed and I actually felt weird! I stood in front of the mirror and I cried for a solid ten minutes. And not that cute cry, the one where a few years run down your cheeks and your facial expression remains adorable, I’m talking full-blown blubbery ugly cry. The kind of ugly cry where your face is red and blotchy, snot pouring out like some sort of snot volcano just erupted in your head and the cries coming out of you couldn’t be replayed even by the best of actors. I was over it. I was over feeling like crap, over feeling like I’m not enough, over feeling (yep, I’m saying it..) UGLY. At that moment I realized that it’s no one’s responsibility to make me feel good. It’s mine. Get out of your own head!!!!! I can’t stress this enough!! We are our biggest enemies. That voice inside telling you that you’re ugly, you’re fat, whatever that voice is telling you, is full of crap. That voice is an ass hole. That voice is only taking up real estate inside you because you let it. Crush that stupid voice and don’t let it back in.
When the opportunity came up to work with Stefanie and The Pouting Room, I jumped on it. Everything that The Pouting Room stands for, is what I wanted to express to others. Empowering myself, empowering other women, because let’s be honest, the world is cruel, and we need each other. Sometimes kicking that voice out is hard. We can’t all do it alone. And that’s why I wanted to do this. I want to show others that they are freaking amazing! I want to help others feel the way that I finally feel about myself because everyone deserves to feel good. Everyone deserves to see and feel their worth. Of course, there were those thoughts that crept up, could I really do this? What will people think and how will they feel about this? Will I actually impact or help anyone? I squashed those negative thoughts real damn fast because I knew not only could I do this and help others, but it only mattered what I thought. And all I want to do is help others and that is reason enough for me.
Before my first shoot with Stefanie I was SO EXCITED. When I first met her, I knew immediately that this was going to be one of the most amazing experiences I’ve ever had. The weeks dragged as I awaited the day of my shoot. The night before, I expected the nerves to hit, the anxiety, I expected that damn voice to come back to tell me that I had no place posing in my underwear and showing it to the world. There were no nerves, no anxiety, and most importantly, no voice. I felt oddly calm. Odd for me because I stress about everything. When I arrived at The Pouting Room, I felt calm and relaxed. The pouting room is such an inviting and fun space. It’s hard not to feel at ease when you walk through the door. Stefanie greeted me when I walked in and it was like walking in to see a friend that you’ve known forever. It was easy. I didn’t have to pretend, and I didn’t have to be anyone but me. While I was getting my hair and makeup done by the talented and amazing Angela, I felt so comfortable and so excited. When you’re a mom of two tiny humans who suck the energy and life out of you, it’s rare to find a moment of peace. Here, I found it. I got to have a conversation with a human over the age of 3 and damn did it feel good. I even apologized to Angela for my moments of silence because it’s a sound that I rarely hear. She completely understood. I took this time to clear my brain of all the noise that’s usually in there and just enjoy myself and feel good about the fact that I was doing something for me. How often as moms or as working professionals, do we actually take the time to do something for ourselves? Time without worrying about what’s not getting done because you aren’t there. Time without feel guilty about the fact that you are doing something for you and ENJOYING it? Not often enough. I think that’s one of the biggest reasons that we get so down on ourselves. Self-care is so damn important, and we just don’t give ourselves enough of it.
After what seemed like only minutes, Angela had finished my hair and makeup. OH MY GOD! This woman is a goddess!!!! Talk about talent. Angela made me feel like me again. It had been a while since I’ve witnessed her in the mirror. I was basically speechless because I couldn’t believe that I could look the way I did. That the person in the mirror was a mom of three-year-old twins. Am I supposed to look like that? Am I supposed to look that good? Damn right I am.
Then came time for the shoot. Stefanie and I went through the outfits that I brought and went with a couple of different options. I chose ones that pushed me out of my comfort zone and I’m so glad that I did. I love that Stefanie jumped in and helped me choose because honestly, it was hard! It’s hard to picture yourself looking sexy why you haven’t felt it in what could quite possibly be forever. I felt as if I was there with my friend. It was comfortable and natural and downright awesome. I remember telling Stefanie that I have never felt the feeling of complete comfort and relaxation mixed with over the top excitement. It’s a feeling I’ll never forget, and I hope to experience again and again. Throughout the shoot, I had so much freaking fun. Stefanie is hilarious. Between making me laugh and making me feel fierce, I could see and feel that Stefanie really loves and believes in what she does. It’s clear in the way she makes your feel and its clear to see in her photographs. This was just another reason that I knew being a brand ambassador for The Pouting Room was something I was meant to do. During this shoot, all I could think about was how I wanted others to feel as badass and as beautiful as I felt. I almost felt guilty like I was sucking up the world’s confidence and feelings of worth. I felt so damn confident that I decided that my last couple of shots were happening in my birthday suit. After all, my birthday was the next day and I’m awesome so why he hell not! Now let me just set the record straight, I am NOT someone that lets anyone see me naked. I don’t even look at myself naked. Especially with the lights on or without something covering up 97.8% of my body. Well, I did it, and I felt good. I felt free. I felt natural. Not wearing clothes, it feels freaking awesome. Being comfortable in your own skin and being able to do it in front of another woman, freaking awesome. It was so cool to experience that and not once wonder if I was being judged because guess what, she’s just as much of a badass woman as I am. Stefanie empowered me and made me feel unstoppable. For that, I can’t thank her enough.
After the shoot, I was totally bummed that it was over! I felt so good about myself, I felt empowered and I felt inspired. I felt like ME! I forgot what that felt like. It’s so easy to get caught up in life. To lose yourself and just live with it. Don’t lose sight of yourself. I did, for a long time. I’ll never lose her again. If doing a boudoir shoot is something you’ve been thinking about, DO IT. Invest in yourself. Treat yourself. Do something for you because I promise you, the feeling that you will get is like no other. Feeling yourself, feeling confident and sexy and worthy, its seriously the most priceless feeling. If you aren’t sure, reach out to Stefanie, me or any of the other amazing brand ambassadors to hear more about our experiences. Heck, if you need a gal pal to talk to or to lift you up, reach out. Because we’ve been there. And this is why we’re here now.
~ Becca Tepper