Soulnaked Boudoir Photography Los Angeles

Boudoir. Fall in love. With you.

Body Positivity

WHY YOU DON’T NEED TO CHANGE A THING ABOUT YOU (INCLUDING LOSING WEIGHT) TO EXPERIENCE A KICK ASS BOUDOIR SHOOT.

Boudoir, Self Love, Healing, GrowthMichelle Dorothea TuckerComment

The number 1 rebuttal I hear from women interested in a boudoir shoot is that they need to lose weight first. And while I understand where they are coming from, I’m not at my ideal weight, let me tell you what I learned during my boudoir shoot.

A BOUDOIR EXPERIENCE WILL CHANGE THE WAY YOU SEE YOUR BODY My body does not look the way I would prefer it to look. I’ve realized that hating it is not the way to move through this. Learning to love all of myself while always striving to push myself forward is the healthiest way through this. Shedding your clothes in front of a camera, refusing to hide anymore, is you making a declaration to embrace and love ALL of you. This is how you begin to change the way you see yourself. It begins within.

IT DOESN’T MATTER WHAT YOUR BODY LOOKS LIKE I’ve been thin and I’ve been heavy and you know what? I felt unworthy in my own body both times. When I was thin I still saw myself as heavy and when I was heavy I saw myself as heavier. I love myself more than ever now and I am still not at my ideal weight but I’m happier. You know why? Because I’m taking steps every day to love ALL of me.

SOCIETAL STANDARDS OF BEAUTY IS A BUNCH OF BULL SHIT Throughout time the idea of beauty continues to change. If you see portraits of what was thought beautiful in the past and compare it to what is considered beautiful now you will see that the ideals vary. What does this mean? It means it is all bull shit. Don’t get lost in external and fleeting ideas of how you should look to please others. The only opinion that will ever matter is yours. Fuck everybody else’s.

When I finally received my boudoir images I must admit there were a few that I did not like. For the most part, I felt I looked heavier than I saw myself. I told my amazing photographer Teri Hofford and she told me something I will never forget. She said that I needed to spend time with the images that I did not like and learn to love them. I can honestly say I’m still working on falling in love with them but I definitely love them more than I did originally. Most of all I’ve learned how important it is to learn to love my body in a healthy way. In a matter of fact, if I think about the one thing that I’ve struggled with my whole life, it’s my body. And I know that once I fully move through this, I will be so much more powerful than I am now. Think about how far you and I can go, if we stopped hating something as big as our bodies? If we woke up and loved the skin we were in, trust me, we would move differently.

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WHAT MY FIRST BOUDOIR EXPERIENCE TAUGHT ME

Boudoir, Self Love, HealingMichelle Dorothea TuckerComment

A couple months ago, I found myself traveling south to San Diego. I had a beautiful experience visiting Coronado Island for the first time. I finished my trip at the amazing, Britt Scrips Inn. It is a restored home from 1887. As soon as I stepped into the bedroom, I thought I have to photograph here. For those of you that don't know the word boudoir derives from the french verb bouder, meaning to sulk. Boudoir became a room for a woman to retreat to and eventually came to mean her bedroom. If I've ever slept anywhere that made me feel like I was transported back in time to a boudoir, this room would be it. As I looked at myself through the mirror of the vanity, I posed and posed to see what photographs would look like. I've never stayed in a home so old and beautiful. I told myself repeatedly, I will be shooting in this room.

Fast forward a few weeks later and a photographer that I followed online, Teri of Teri Hofford Photography posted that she was traveling and wanted to shoot while she was in San Diego. Mind you, I already knew of Teri and admired her vision and work. I jumped at the opportunity to shoot with her. I thought not only will I have the amazing experience of being in front of the lens but I'll be able to learn from her as well, from a photographer point of view. Now we didn't end up shooting at Britt Scrips but we were shooting in San Diego, which I definitely know I attracted.

The experience was interesting for me. I've been in front of the camera years ago, on stage, and in film so I'm fairly use to it. But as I said, that was many years ago. I felt fairly confident in my wardrobe but as we began to shoot, Teri told me to deep breathe with my mouth open. I could feel my lips tremble. My knee jerk reaction was to focus on being sexy but the experienced will tell you, that is exactly what you should not do. I kept telling myself to focus on my breath and the trembling eventually stopped. For the remainder of the shoot, I focused on my breath and feeling my body. I stayed with my body and really felt the softness of my skin.

It turns out for me, the most difficult part of the entire experience was not shooting but in fact, viewing my images. There were definitely ones that I loved and ones that I did not like at all. The few where I looked heavier were the ones I didn't like. But it was weird because after a few minutes I had the overwhelming urge to post the ones I didn't like. I emailed Teri and told her what I was feeling and she said that I needed to really sit with the ones that I didn't care for. I needed to fall in love with them. She was so right! I needed to love all of me, not just the parts of me that fit society's standard of beauty.

I've never had an experience like this with my photographs. Normally, I see images mostly where I look bigger and they will never see the light of day. I've never thought twice about them. But not that day. That day I sat with them. Looking at them and eventually smiling with them, embracing every bit of me.

Did I post them? You bet your ass I did and I've posted them here as well. The first image you see below is the one I disliked the most. It is not a coincidence that you can read my ink that says, I love you. I got that ink during a difficult time and I wanted it as a reminder of self love to myself. I ended up, unknowingly putting it in a location where everyone can see it when I'm walking towards them. I always tell people if they can see it, I'm telling them I love them too. The universe is so utterly beautiful. It's always speaking to us, sometimes it shouts.

 

There was a freedom in posting the images I disliked. I realized that since I've gained weight over the past couple of years, I've tried to create this online persona where I had not gained weight. It wasn't something I was thinking about. Instead, it was something that was on autodrive. So many of us are on autodrive. It's time we stop and think, put a pause on things and slow down. Something else I realized months ago and I have not told one soul. I hold my stomach in. I don't know how long I've been subconsciously doing it. Years, I assume, shit, maybe my whole adult life. Isn't that mind boggling? At what point did I feel like I had to do that, so much that I did it on a subconscious level. I still do it now but I notice I catch myself doing it and I'll deep breathe and push my belly out to stop. That's just one way I was disliking myself everyday. How many of these am I doing?

It never crossed my mind that my real growth would be in the aftermath of my shoot. My experience with boudoir prompted me to discover more parts of me that needed healing and that's what self love is. It's continuing to discover all of these parts of you that have been hidden, waiting for the right moment to be brought into the light. Does it mean that I all of a sudden love myself fully, no it does not. But it does mean that I love more of me today than I did yesterday and that's the goal. I am grateful for that and for Teri.

Moral of the story, self love is an ongoing process. In every moment you are either moving in love or in fear and it all begins inside of you. You choose what you want to see in the world and that depends on what you choose to see within yourself. I'm just like you, on the same journey of self love. Some are still trying to find themselves, some are trying to find their career, a love, a meaning to life, and some are just trying to survive. But underneath all of that is the discovery of self love. We're all together in this. So stop judging yourself and stop judging others. Stop pulling yourself down and pulling down others. We're all the same, just all in different spaces and sometimes, sometimes we meet in the very same spot. And in that moment we have the opportunity to meet in love or in fear. I choose love. What do you choose?

These two images are my favorites and will be purchasing these as my Soulnaked Wall Art. I can't wait to come home to these beauties. I can't wait to come home to myself.

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Thoughts on spirituality, suicide, and knowing your truth...

Michelle Dorothea TuckerComment

First of all it's been a long ass time since I've written. That doesn't mean that my energy is not with you or that your energy is not with me. It just means that I miss you and I'm so happy to be with you again!

I've been wanting to write this piece for some time but wasn't ready to really sit with it and let it wash over me. But now I'm ready, so here it is.

Through my journey of loving myself, I've come to realize that there is so much darkness that exists in us all. And as you begin to embrace those parts of you that you've run from all your life, you will start to feel like...I don't think there are any words for it. You can feel it emotionally, spiritually, physically, this unbearable something that makes you feel not right. People who run and always live in chaos feel pain. But they do not feel their darkness. Darkness is something else. It is a place that I think some people feel as though they cannot return from.

There was a beautiful light named Faith Parks. I never met her in person, only through FB. I instantly felt connected to her. I requested her, she accepted, and we shared a few emails. There was no sense of her pushing away my love. She seemed open. Her heart seemed wide open. Shortly after that, I didn't see much of her on my feed and I figured it was FB picking and choosing what I saw so I didn't think much of it. A few weeks later it showed up that she had transitioned and taken her life.

Another beautiful soul who I met on FB a couple years ago, has recently transitioned as well. It has not come out yet but my soul tells me that he took his life as well.

The irony in all of this and what was so painful at the time is that both of these spirits were so loving, so giving, so spiritual, and both intelligent. Now, yes I did not know them very well but they both seemed well aware of the light and darkness that we all have. Many of their loved ones seemed shocked as well. So how is it then that someone who seems very much so "enlightened" take their life?

I don't have an answer and this continues to perplex me. I see many who lift others, yet have difficulty lifting themselves, myself included. The journey of self love is such a complex one, yet so simple if we just let it be. There are so many ironies in life. Everything we run from is exactly what we should be running towards and yet we know this and we continue to run from ourselves, over, and over again.

What I really want to express is that when you do this work, it's easy to get lost in it. And you have to know yourself well enough to seek light when you start to feel like you can't. The love you need is out there, even if you don't have it near you, you can find it online, in group meetings, in books, on youtube, therapy, etc. You are not alone and you can get through this. It's weird because you need to get lost in it but you also need to know when you need to get help.

The truth is that love is the most amazing, most powerful, most beautiful anything in this universe, and you are that. There is so much work to do on this planet, so much love to give, to teach, to lift, so many miracles yet to occur, so many inventions yet to be invented. Love is all around you, it surrounds you, it is you. So keep pushing through.

This is dedicated to all the beautiful lightworkers in this lifetime and the next, especially the aforementioned. Thank you for having such a profound meaning in my life. Next time we are meeting in person;) I love you!

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