Possible womxn 5/12 Jenn – labeled too big her whole life

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Not only did this womxn do the impossible in her mind, which was show up and DO boudoir photos, but this incredible human showed up after needing to take weeks off of work from bronchitis and a high fever. SHE IS A DAMN CHAMPION. I myself, who is recently dipping into getting her own boudoir done for herself, would be so terrified and nervous to show up to a shoot that I have never done before completely sick. I have so much respect for Jenn for stepping highly out of her comfort zone while not feeling 100% healthy in her own body from her massive sick spell. Moment for a round of applause…

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“I was nervous at first for sure. But you were so sweet and enthusiastic and energetic so that was really calm and assuring. As the afternoon progressed, I felt more relaxed and comfortable and actually had fun!” -Jenn

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“After the session I felt calm and happy. I didn’t have any qualms about changing or standing in front of a window with just a bra on and that was a big thing for me. It was freeing.” -Jenn

One thing I love about when I shoot in studios for the Impossible Boudoir Project or just any other client, is the fact that not only are they confronted with showing off their body to me, but any onlookers in the building across the way, or the street across the way (at my new studio.) There are no changing rooms in the space and sometimes you can make someone’s day if they look in at the right time and moment. That, in and of itself, has proven to be a powerful experience for my clients. Not only are they undressing in front of some crazy, loud four eyed girl with a camera, but they kind of are on “display” if you will, for some people in Seattle. People always mention it after their session and I have been realizing how important and monumental that can even be for people. Like hey, I’m basically naked in this studio right now, can you see me? You probably can and that’s okay because life is kind of strange and funny at times.

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I asked Jenn how others have made her feel about her body growing up and today without a single hesitation Jenn answered, “mostly awful.” For most of us out there, our body shame starts young and it starts within your own family, mostly. Like myself and many other out there, Jenn experienced the same at a very, very young age. Thankfully, Jenn had the support from her Grandmother and her Mom and Dad. Her Aunt on the other hand was not so kind when it came to Jenn. When she was just a kid, Jenn was told by her Aunt that she couldn’t play upstairs because she could hear her footsteps more than anyone else’s. She wasn’t allowed to sit on the antique armchair, wasn’t allowed to go on the swing set and was basically restricted when it came time to being around her Aunt. Jenn says her Aunt hurt her feelings for most of her childhood.

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School was never easy for Jenn either. Elementary, middle, high school and college. It started off as teasing in the younger years, and once college came around, well you can guess… adolescent boys can kind of be the worst. Sorry any guy form the ages of 18-22. You just need a little more time in life to fully understand. The real world needs to smack you around a little bit first. 

“It’s been a long, long road of dealing with stuff like that.” -Jenn

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When Jenn says long road, she means long road. She has dealt with the unnecessary and definitely unsolicited comments for many years. One she got out of college she thought to herself,

“Hey, we’re adults now, this should be way easier.” -Jenn 

Right??? No.

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One time Jenn got set up on a blind date and was there at the restaurant with her friend who was setting her up. Jenn said as they were sitting there and her blind *asshole* date walked in, he took one look at her from across the bar and didn’t even make his way through the restaurant. Not only did he not make his way over kindly, but he decided to shout across the bar/restaurant “You didn’t tell me she was fat, you told me she was cute.”

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I screamed in my chair “BUT YOU ARE CUTE!” while hearing Jenn say this. Then I let that disgust sit in my heart as it broke in half for Jenn and what she must have felt in that moment. No asshole, tiny, puny man should ever, ever make this womxn feel less than. And I know as hard as she probably tried to shake that experience off, because CLEARLY– this man was not even worth her time at all. Stuff like that still sticks with you and it sucks. It sucks that we let the comments of complete strangers affect us, but they do and it does. It’s something I know we all as humans are working on.

She thought again, “We’re supposed to be grown ups. At least give me a handshake and a drink… and then you can ruin someone else’s life.” -Jenn 

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I asked Jenn how easy or difficult it is for her to brush stuff like that off. I mean that above, never. That is traumatizing and I hope that man today realizes that. But how easy is it for her to brush off comments, looks or rude gestures. She told me that today it’s easier for her to brush stuff off. She still needs time to process things but she said she’s at the point in her life where she thinks negatively about herself already, so she doesn’t let the comments of strangers affect her that much.

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Jenn does tell me she suffers greatly from social anxiety. She worries all the time about if she will be able to fit in certain chairs at restaurants and how big or small the bathrooms are going to be, and is she going to feel comfortable just going to dinner with the added stress of wondering if she’ll literally and physically fit in. She says she has developed this stress from other people, their reactions. Their reactions to her, sitting and eating a damn meal, or even walking through a crowded place.

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I asked Jenn if she has been big most of her life which she responded yes. Her family is also bigger as well, including her gem of an Aunt. Oh the hypocrisy. “When my Dad was diagnosed with cancer I stayed at home for 9 months taking care of him. I was on the night shift of taking care of him and I would be up all night long while he was asleep and I would eat and eat and eat. I didn’t go anywhere for 9 months. I stayed at my parents’ house and gained 100 pounds during that time.”

It was around this time that Jenn developed some medical problems as well. She was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome and a thyroid problem, both of which she is still on medication for today. Around this same time Jenn experienced something absolutely crazy when it came to her health as a womxn. She was on a full-blown period for over one full year! 

“A full year of constant, full flow, cramps, unrelenting PMS and I would get migraines every other week.” -Jenn

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To which I responded saying, and as we all know as womxn, when you’re on your period, all we want to do is snack, because Aunt Flow just likes to make things difficult for us womxn. So moments after being home bound, taking care of her sick father, binge eating to stuff down the awful feelings of seeing your parent sick, and then right after that, boom! She’s hit with a year effin long period that just makes her crave even more. Ladies, can you even imagine? A period for a full year. I cannot and Jenn you are INCREDIBLE for going through that. At the end of the day, periods are no fun, they suck and it’s annoying to get them every single month, let alone for over 365 days…

“It’s been a rough couple of years. shortly after that as well, I fractured my foot and was in a cast for 6 months. So even more not mobile. I played basketball to try to lose weight.” -Jenn

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“When it rains it sure does pour…” -Kendra

“Right, it’s supposed to make you stronger or something.” – Jenn 🙂

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Jenn then went from doctor to doctor getting ultra sound after ultra sound to try to figure out her whole period thing. When the scans came back, they told Jenn that she had tumors in her uterus which was making her have the incessant periods.

“Everything was all just wrapped up together over the course of a few, pretty bad years.” -Jenn 

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I asked Jenn what was the least favorite thing about her appearance and her most favorite thing. Her least favorite part of her body is the section above her stomach and below her breasts. She said, “If only that was just a little smaller and I had a waist, clothes would fit me much better.” What Jenn loves about herself the most are her eyes and hair, and after she discovered push up bras, her boobs! Yeah, girl! She’s happy and confident when she says she has always loved her hair. Ask anyone, besides anyone with amazing curls, or beautiful natural red hair, and they’ll give you all the issues and problems with their head of hair. My cowlick does this, these baby hairs do that, it just never lays the way I want it to… To love a part of yourself so furiously for your whole life is a beautiful thing. For me, I have loved my smile my entire life. What have you loved about yourself your entire life? Answer in your head and continue 🙂

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I asked Jenn to talk a little bit about her past when it came to relationships. She started off by saying that she has never had partner who was ever proud the be her boyfriend. In any of her past relationships she expressed that they would rarely go out, if ever. She was made to feel unworthy and that none of her partners wanted to be seen with her/show her off to their friends. 

“I’m fun and and sweet and– good in bed so… *insert giggles* they stayed around for that. I think for the most part I was introduced as a friend a lot.” -Jenn

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We both chatted and related on how in certain areas of our lives, we feel a little immature in a way. Jenn was exiled for years basically from human interaction while dealing with her family, her social life and her health. “I’m almost 40 but I feel immature in some areas of my life.”-Jenn To which I said, I feel the same way when it come to me being in physical, intimate relationships with others. 

“We all have our own areas that we need to grow into I guess.” -Kendra

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“How do feel about your body today, after everything it’s been through?” – Kendra

“Well, I have good days and bad days. I feel cute and capable one day and other days where everything is achy, nothing fits right and I just want to stay in bed and not be in the world. I am constantly surprising myself though. I just did yoga for the first time last year and never thought a womxn of this size could ever do it and its completely changed my life! So I will get little moments of progress here and there” -Jenn

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We talked about how she is an over-thinker and the ways she is trying to remedy that today. With her anxiety and over active mind she tells me she is trying new medicine, natural medicine, so that hard drugs don’t mess with her brain chemistry. (I agree, those anti-anxiety/depressants really know how to mess someone up, just speaking from my own personal experience as well as some of my close friends and family members.

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I about lost my mind when Jenn told me towards to end of our conversation that she has been getting into witchcraft and crystals and oracle cards and all that jazz! 

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“When I’m doing something in that realm, at the moment it feels completely ridiculous, but after my slow brain has processed it, I feel better.” -Jenn

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It warms my heart to know that Jenn is making the choices every day to better her self love, her happiness, her health and her spirituality. It’s so important to always continue to love yourself even if there are parts of you, or many parts of you, you don’t necessarily like. As long as all of us just take small steps towards the right direction, we are doing ourselves such good. No one can fill your happiness but yourself, and no one else brings you down more than yourself. If we all choose to ignore the hate from others and ourselves, but rather focus on the good and what brings us joy, if it’s a burger or time with crystals or yoga or drinks, do it. Just do it. Do all the things that make you just 10% happier every day, because as we all know, our days are very limited. LIFE IS LIMITED. SO JUST LIVE IT AND LOVE YOURSELF AT THE SAME TIME.

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Words from Jenn-
“This last year has been so hard for me personally.  I’ve been struggling with depression and panic attacks and drowning in loneliness.  I have learned that nothing really works out how you picture it in your mind.  regardless of how much you want it or how hard you try.  I’m nearly 40, but I feel like I am just now starting to figure out who and why i am… quarter-life crisis starting way too late.
There have been so many days that I don’t want to get out of bed.  I hate my body and my mind and my lack of power to change anything.  Other days, I feel strong and capable and pretty.  I want to be outside and feel cute and eat temple food (as in your body is a temple; mangoes and radicchio and juicy raspberries).  I want to laugh and flirt and be noticed. But I see myself so differently in my mind.  skinnier.  sweeter.  lovely.  With curlier hair and a smile that isn’t crooked.  I’ll catch a flash of my reflection in a window or a puddle and the reality of who i am knocks me back down.  Its hard work to get out of that cycle.
But I am learning how to recognize that my body is strong and capable every day.  It serves me well, except when I abuse it too much (I work a lot!).   That the curls are good enough and if I whisper to myself nice thoughts, I smile more at the reflections.  I’m trying not to care about what anyone thinks about me, or what I think they think about me, I suppose.
This photo shoot was a difficult thing for me to do.  Besides the fact that I had a 101 degree fever and bronchitis at the time, the idea of having someone take “sexy” pictures of me was both horrible and laughable.  The studio was large and hollow with enormous windows open to the street.  There was nowhere to change really and my first though was “holy shit.  I’m not wearing any panties and I have to get naked in front of a stranger!!  What on earth have I done!?”  Kendra’s warmth and easy spirit was calming though and in the end, I was surprised to find that I actually had fun.
I had been secretly hoping Kendra’s camera had mystical powers and that upon seeing the finished pictures, I would spontaneously blossom into this amazing, confidant, suddenly stunning woman.  Ready to take over the world and all the gorgeous men in it.  I wanted to walk through a room wearing this new sexiness and be able to bounce the stares of desire off my hips with every step.  That didn’t happen, Shockingly enough.  I opened the pictures and thought, damn… its still just me.  And so I didn’t like them.  Not at all.
I looked at them again and then again and then one more time.  And only then, Did I like them.  They are growing on me more and more every day.  There is magic in them.  In the light on my curls and the color of my eyes.  And simply in the fact that I did it.  Lopsided boobs, stretch marks, stomach fat, thigh rolls, crooked smile, and all.”