Possible womxn 5/12 Jenn – labeled too big her whole life
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 having 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.
“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
“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 studio for the Impossible Boudoir Project or 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. There are no changing rooms in the space and sometimes you can make someone’s day if they look in at the right 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 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.
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 our own family, mostly. Like myself and many others 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 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 running around. She wasn’t allowed to sit on the antique armchair, wasn’t allowed to go on the swing set and was basically restricted with a lot of things when she was near her Aunt. Jenn says her Aunt had hurt her feelings for most of her childhood.
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 age 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
When Jenn says long road, she means long road. She has dealt with the unnecessary and definitely unsolicited comments for many years. Once she got out of college she thought to herself,
“Hey, we’re adults now, this should be way easier.” -Jenn
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 entire restaurant “You didn’t tell me she was fat, you told me she was cute.”
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
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 that 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.
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 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.
I asked Jenn if she has been big most of her life, which she responded, yes. Her family is also bigger, 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