I recently reached out to a friend/photographer about taking a few photos for my site. Most of what you see of me I've taken with my phone and I wanted some more lifestyle type images - ones that represented the ethos of what I'm trying to give in this space. But I have a confession to make, I hate photos of myself. I know this is a common problem among women and I'm ashamed to admit just how deep this runs for me.
As someone who suffered from disordered eating starting as a teen, the pursuit of being thin and beautiful has always been a running tape in the back of my mind. I often exercised twice a day and tried limiting and labeling foods as bad then feeling shame when I ate them.
It's been a lifelong struggle for me, and as my weight has increased over the years I've found the mental stress to be quite exhausting. There is a sense of control that happens, and while I don't use the same, extreme tactics I did when I was young, the battle continues. And when things aren't going well, a simple picture can trigger a shame spiral that results in days of me obsessing over how I am going to "fix" my problem.
Ironically, these thought patterns and under eating/pushing myself too hard were actually contributing to my weight gain, fatigue, and putting my autoimmune disease in more distress. In recent years, I've sought a healing journey that has been more holistic - because through a lot of therapy - I've learned my triggers and I'ver learned ways to combat those disastrous "shame spirals."
Sadly, images of myself are one of my main triggers - and usually the most aggressive ones. It makes me sad because I tend to avoid popping in a photo or even taking one with others - because I just don't want to deal with what may come. And if you find this to be extreme - it is. Those of us that have suffered from anything related to eating disorders can understand the trauma that comes and the mental and physical battle that entails.
So this was all in the back of my mind when I contacted Yaz about photos for my little brand. I shared some of this with her - no pressure, right?!? And when she sent me the link to the finished images I had to take a deep breath and coach myself on accepting what I was about to see as beautiful (knowing what could come).
What I found was a beautiful depiction of me. Not only did Yaz put me at ease during our session together, but in some miraculous way she was able to capture the essence of who I am. When I saw these, I didn't see a person staring back at me that didn't feel like me, but I saw myself. A lovely, real, and true version of the person I am today.. That is a gift in and of itself - and the wonderful thing is - I walked away wishing I had done it sooner.
So if you are looking for someone to help you with some personal branding shots, I highly recommend www.yazvantage.com. And if you struggle with some of these issues like I do, its worth it to do the work. I'm not there yet, but I've come a long way from that teen that exercised excessively and starved herself just for the sake of being thin and I'm so much better for it!