Be The Change: Real Valentines Series #4 — {Saxapahaw NC Women’s Portrait Photography}

My friend Suzanne is a girl after my own heart. She can clean up with the best of them, girly and stunning. But most of the time, she is her own authentic self…. A dedicated farmer, embracing all of the beautiful mess that comes along with that. Wearing whatever best serves the task at hand. With confidence and nonchalance.
Suzanne - Valentine4 - by Luck Photography - Saxapahaw NC Womens Portrait Photography

 

It wasn’t until my thirties that I accepted the idea that I am a girl and I can look like one. For a long time, I straight up rejected it all. The makeup. The high heels. Uncomfortable fashion. Flowers, frills and pink. I was mad and confused. I didn’t like that those things were supposed to make me pretty. To make me acceptable. I felt alienated because I didn’t want any of those things.

I’m not beautiful like you,
I’m Beautiful Like ME

One afternoon in high school, my mom called up the stairs. My it’s-complicated-sort-of boyfriend had unexpectedly dropped by. Surprised, I wander outside without a thought to my hair or clothes. Its not until I come back in that my mom says casually and possibly with begrudging respect, “So, I’m surprised you just went out there like that.” Its only then that I look down and notice I’m wearing an ancient (yummy soft) camo tshirt and a pair of yellow pajama bottoms with pink polkadots that my mom bought me when it was 11.

Here’s the thing. It didn’t cross my mind for one second that I am any less of anything because of what I was wearing. Because my inherant confidence and sense of self worth has nothing to do with my outside appearance.

On those days when I feel frustrated. Like I don’t measure up to what I’m told it means to be a woman…. I let that strong woman inside of me rise up. The one who doesn’t measure herself by her clothes/hair/makeup, because she knows who she is. The one who says “I am enough.” I’m going to quote the lyrics from Joydrop’s Beautiful:  I’m not beautiful like you, I’M BEAUTIFUL LIKE ME!

So go find your beautiful. And here’s a hint. You are truly beautiful when you feel beautiful. It doesn’t come from the outside. It shines out from the inside. Believe in yourself. Because confidence… Confidence is beautiful.

 

About the Real Valentines Series:

In theory, a day all about love and sharing love sounds great. I know that many of you love to celebrate love. And so do I. But….. In practice, it often doesn’t quite feel authentic to me.

Be The Change

I want a holiday revamp. To take back Valentine’s Day from the merchants selling random last minute smatterings of chocolates/red roses/miniature bears holding hearts. I want to make it inclusive and not the sole domain of romantic love. More…

Be The Change: A Real Valentines Series — {Burlington NC Portrait Photography}

In theory, a day all about love and sharing love sounds great. I know that many of you love to celebrate love. And so do I. But….. In practice, it often doesn’t quite feel authentic to me.

Be The Change

I want a holiday revamp. To take back this day from the merchants selling random last minute smatterings of chocolates/red roses/miniature bears holding hearts. I want to make it inclusive and not the sole domain of romantic love.

I want this to be the day you look in the mirror and say “I LOVE YOU!” with your whole heart. And mean it.

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I want this to be the day you tell the people who have walked with you through “the fear and the mess” that you appreciate them.

I wish for you to receive this in return. For the ones you love to tell you, in an authentic way, how much you are loved, wanted and appreciated. Because really, that’s the crux of the matter.

I’m going to quote Shana Niequist here and tell you this: “What I can do is offer myself, wholehearted and present, to walk with the people I love through the fear and the mess. That’s all any of us can do. That’s what we’re here for.”

I am here. I am here for you. And I love you. Please don’t forget.

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Let your light shine. I will see it and celebrate with you :) — {Burlington NC Women’s Portraiture}

“Yes, but can we wait a few months? I’m about to start this new [health/fitness/diet] that I’m really excited about.” I ran into a friend the other night. This was her reply when I told her I haven’t forgotten. That she has a date with my camera. That it’s overdue.

How often do we ALL do this? We say ‘Yes, but….’ Last year, while our husbands were in a conference together, I went to a boudoir photographer because I wanted the experience of being on that side of the camera. She came along with me and it was so much fun having her there in the background, making me giggle. Here’s the thing. I went because I wanted fresh perspective. I went because I wanted to embrace who I was. Right then. To say with confidence and action that I am good enough. Right now. As I am.

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~ Snapshot from that Boudoir session ~

To quote my Taking Time To Feel Gloriously Wonderfully Beautifully Confident post from 2013:

Bride Portraits Watters Bridal_7006B LuckPhotography Graham NCMany days I feel frumpy and tired and like I’m slipping into geezerhood. Where is the beautiful, confident, optimistic woman I seem to remember being?

To counteract that little feeling of inadequacy, I started a personal project of self-love.  A few years ago I started taking self portraits to remind myself of what I love about who I am. Little blocks of time where I try and capture images of the woman I want to be. And the funny thing is, through the process, I realize that I am that beautiful strong woman. I just forget.

Those boudoir photos were not for my husband. They were a gift from me, to me. An affirmation of choice. I wanted to see myself through someone else’s eyes. To practice what I believe. I won’t post them here, but I’m happy to show them to any of my girlfriends who are curious. In the year since then, I’ve gone through a transformation that started with looking myself squarely in the the eye and saying “I love you. You are enough. It is ok to chose happiness.”

I believe in self love. In the beauty of self confidence. In the light that shines out of all of us, if we let it. But occasionally, we forget. We get caught up in our own perceived flaws. That’s what I love about being a photographer. Finding that light in someone else. Catching that shining moment and then showing them who they are if they look through my eyes.

So my darling friend, its time for you to say yes. Because you are beautiful and I love you. Right now. Exactly as you are.

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Let your light shine. I will see it and celebrate with you :)

Here is my latest self portrait:

Sarah - Womens Portraiture - Burlington NC - By Luck Photograph

Sneak Peek: Pawelek Family {Asheville NC Portrait Photography}

To Erin & Joe: Thanks for showing us around your new stomping grounds and introducing us to the West Asheville lifestyle. And a special thanks to Tut (handsome husky in front) for snuggling up and keeping my toes warm Saturday night.

Pet Portraits - Bent Creek - Asheville, NC - Luck Photography

Sweet Ketza —- This weekend I had the opportunity to spend a gorgeous afternoon hiking with this sweet girl and her family at Bent Creek Experimental Forest, located just outside of Asheville NC.

Pet Portraits - Husky - Bent Creek - Asheville, NC - Luck Photography

Pets are family too! We love photographing your entire family, including your four footed family members. Be sure to let us know if you would like to include them in your next family portrait session. ~ Sarah