Dear Katie (Part 1 of 3)
It is a known fact that we are the hardest on ourselves. It is also a known fact that we compare our "behind the scenes" life with everyone else's "social media highlight reel" - we've talked a lot about this on my Katie Burnett VIP Group. I am photographing a client in a few weeks, let's call her Miss P, and she sent me a long letter, her reason for doing so was to explain to me what is going on in her head and what she is feeling. Boudoir is very intimate but not just in a "I see you naked" way. It is raw, it is vulnerable, it is bare. I am used to people sharing their stories with me and explaining to me their reason for wanting a boudoir shoot. Rarely is it ever about sexy photos. This case was no different. Her words shook me to my core and I am so glad she is allowing me to share them with you.
This is a long post so I have split it into 3 parts.
In a week, you’re going to be seeing me naked. Not just without clothes, but vulnerable. Because in order for this to do what I need it to do, I need to uncover more than just my skin.
So, here is my open letter to the woman who is going to see me naked.
If you had asked me five year ago if I felt comfortable naked, I would have said no. I was chubby, dare I say fat, and dealing with more insecurities than I could count. Being seen naked terrified me. Throw in the emotionally abusive relationship I was in and Bam! There was nothing beautiful in me.
Now, I’ve never been a fan of being beautiful. For those who are, congratulations! But I recall many years ago hearing my mother say (in reference to someone else), “If you can’t be smart, you should at least be pretty.” It’s an old saying, and certainly not one my mother coined. But it made me think. I wasn’t pretty, but at least I was smart.
So I took that by the horns, and rode it hard. I’m incredibly intelligent. Being beautiful was never really an option, so I expanded my mind. I absorb information better than skin absorbs lotion.
I’ve never been pretty. (Stop. Don’t. Just listen.) I DON’T CARE THAT I’M NOT PRETTY. For real, I promise. And yes, I know, I know “Everyone is beautiful! Love yourself! You have value because of the way you look! Even if you look like you don’t have value!”
No. I am not beautiful.
I am intelligent. I am strong. I am powerful. I am confident. I am everything I have ever needed to be. And at no point along the way has been being beautiful factored in to the empire I am building.
And yes, I know, the phrase really means what is inside of you is beautiful, or whatever the pinterest quotes are saying these days. But we all know what it really means.
So, now I can imagine you’re asking me why am I doing a boudoir shoot if I don’t care about being beautiful? Because it’s not about being beautiful. It’s not about feeling pretty. It’s about documenting a portion of my journey.
On April 27, 2014 (at 7:27 AM), I gave birth to a son. A son that I gave up for adoption. And during my pregnancy, and after his birth, my body changed. I went from an emotionally abusive relationship, to a pregnancy alone, to giving up a child, to standing in the midst of the rest of my life with empty hands. And all I have to show for it? Stretch marks. That lower abdominal paunch. Pieces of me that don’t quite add up without a baby in my arms.
You should know, my son is beautiful. And he’s intelligent. And he’s stubborn. And if I had to do it all again, I would.