This is me.  I snapped the above image while testing settings before a shoot.  I've gone to great lengths to feel loving, grateful and proud of every inch of my post 2 baby birth self.  Boudoir was a huge piece of this journey for me and continues to be...and taking makeup-free self portraits that I can appreciate and love.  It's part of my ritual self-love pattern I suppose.  The last time I took no makeup boudoir selfie's was right after Aria was born.  And I'm just getting the bravado to share one now.

I felt at this time I needed to feel beautiful at the most basic version of myself.  The early months with an infant leave little time for self-nurturing and pampering.  I thought, I need to feel good at my ground zero, and these helped me accomplish that.

I set up the tri-pod in my bathroom and in a rare moment of personal time before a bath, snapped a few of myself, mustering all the sensual gusto I could possibly access.  And I'm so glad I did.  They carried me through many a dark thought and forced me to hold my head high when I felt so sleep deprived I wanted to just cave in.

There's our raw beauty, who we are without a stitch of makeup, or clothes, or perfume or hair spray.  I've been doing my best to fully embrace and love this raw beauty for the past 4 years, since I was pregnant with my first, Gracen.  What an immensely emblazoned experience it has been.  I see my perceived flaws so differently now.  It's been a special chapter and I will continue to deepen this feeling of self love throughout my life the best I can.

So, yes, my raw beauty is sacred to me and nothing can tarnish it.  Not the years, or stress, or anything.  It is only deepened by the strength I've gained from lessons I've learned, from lives I've touched, from everything that happens to me on my soul journey.  I've come to know this.  However, I adore accessing and embodying my alter egos.  I love calling forth my goddess, starlet, and vixen archetypes that want to be drenched in silk, wrapped in lace, and painted with the lines of Cleopatra.  Not to mention all the extra glam goodies...curls, waves, lips, heels, push-ups and the whole darn 9.

As a mom of a 3 and 1 year old I am challenged to find opportunities to usher forth my glam goddess archetype, but somehow the end of 2015 has offered 2 such opportunities.  The first of which was at the Ojai Valley Inn this past October, celebrating my 7 year Anniversary with my husband.  We planned the one night escape for 11 months.  And it was glorious...I brought all my boudoir goodies.  I wanted to feel like one of my clients so I tried on half the boudoir closet, picked lingerie outfits for the trip and brought my makeup kit.  I wanted to do it up!!!

I also wanted this moment in time captured.  My husband Grant, whose premier profession is an energetic healer and spiritual counselor, kindly assists as my second shooter when I photograph weddings.  He picked up the camera for me here and I got to be THE CLIENT.  I had so much freakin fun, I can hardly put it into words.  I was pretty terrified of posing for him at one point, but when the time came, it was incredibly awesome.  Not just awesome....THRILLING.

Honest, sensually infused imagery is just magic to me.  It feels mystifyingly wonderous to see myself in this way and I'm so proud of how closely connected I am to HER, my vixen eros archetype, my erotic self.  She is empowered, beautiful, free, unbridled, filled with joy, pleasure and desire and is one of the best parts of me.  There was a time I lost this connection, which gives me the perspective of deeply valuing it now.

It is something to be honored, revered, and treasured.  It is sacred.

As empowering as it was to step in front of my husband's lens, and incredibly inspiring, stimulating and all else you can imagine, I did miss a portion of the boudoir piece.  When you step in front of a boudoir photographer's lens, someone who exists outside of your home ;), the nerves are different and the experience is different.  Each boudie Photog, I imagine, would have some unique piece to share, a process that is theirs and theirs alone that would help you access a piece of yourself you may not even know existed.

I know this.  And that is why when my fellow Photographer, Graciela Valdes, came up to me at the AIBP Retreat early this month and asked if she could photograph me I said, yes!!!  It's such an important exercise as a Boudoir Photographer to step in front of the lens, and many of us found time during the retreat to work with each other.  And I am so immensely pleased I did.

She made me feel so incredibly beautiful.  Looking in the mirror after finishing my hair and makeup, I felt awesome, but she made me feel like a SIREN.  It was AMAZING.  I just felt like a rock star.

Graciela, your words, your lens, your images just everything about working with you, was so wonderful.  I'm so grateful to have artful evidence of the experience that day.  Boudoir photography is such a gift and I am so thankful to have been on the receiving end two times in just a couple months. 

I feel this is an awesome time to mention the irony of some recent news.  I am, in fact, pregnant with baby number 3.  A new soul is on its way to bless our family and although I feel sick as a dog, I feel incredibly grateful and honored to host this growing life.  Did boudoir have anything to do with it?  Hmmmmm....maybe?  I let you answer that question for yourselves. ;)

Stay fabulously in love with every side of yourselves my friends!!!!

Much love,

~Erika

 

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