Possible Womxn 12/12 ME – Kendra K // Mental Health

“It wasn’t like a rain, it was more like the sea, I didn’t ask for this pain, it just came over me.”

-The National, Pink Rabbits 

My lort almighty. I can’t believe we are here. When I decided that I was going to be a part of this project I was straight terrified, not going to lie. Not necessarily about the photos or getting them done, but more about opening up and sharing my story. With the truth meaning more to everyone who reads this, I knew that sharing everything I am is what I not only owe to myself, but owe to this project too. For over a year now I have been blessed to witness 11 ladies with 11 different stories about their bodies truly bloom right in front of my eyes. I got to not only hear their stories first hand but share them every month (or so…) with each of you. Each womxn feeling marginalized within their own bodies and never seeing themselves represented in boudoir imagery. I got real personal real quick with each of these ladies and I am forever grateful that each and every one trusted me in doing this – not just the photos, not just sharing their story, but representing them as a womxn in this project, in this time of our lives. Showing them that beauty is whatever they are. It’s been a lot of hard work, but it’s one of – if not the most rewarding – things I have ever done in my life thus far. It makes me excited for what’s to come. It also makes me nervous because I know that in order for me to take the next steps I need to in life, I need to better myself. This year has been a big year of me coming to terms with what I need to do next in life. I struggled a lot, this wasn’t a year I will look back on fondly honestly, but I know I will look back on it regardless. This is where I started to grow, and I mean really grow. Through it all I tried to see the beauty in the pain, I tried to love harder, crawl out of my shell a little more while simultaneously failing a lot, learning a lot, pushing through a lot and failing some more. I questioned many things in my life, including my career, my relationships, my purpose, and my mental health. I made some significant strides towards the end of 2019 after having a very lackluster year within myself. I’m proud of it and I hope it shows the path that I will continue to take in 2020. Being a part of this project has been one of my kickoff moments in life. Having boudoir done for me, processing years worth of feelings within a couple months, writing it all out while my hands shake. This has been a huge moment for me and hopefully a jumpstart to a new Kendra, one I’ve been trying to find for a while. While I am nervous to go on, I know I am only surrounded here with love, so thank you.

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Thank you again, to everyone who has stuck around. Your support through this all has truly meant the world. I wanted to take a brief moment to shout out MY amazing photographer, Alejandra Maria. Or, littlalejandra on instagram. Alex is not normally known for doing boudoir, but I have been such a fan of hers, her style, her art, and her dancing skills since day one and wanted nothing more than to get a little creative with her. I am blown away at my photos, I still can’t believe I get to cherish these for a lifetime. Thank you so much Alex, you have been so instrumental in this project and in my life, honestly. <3

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I am excited to be able to represent the category of mental health in the Impossible Boudoir Project. Although I will be talking about my body here and there, it will mostly be about my mental health – depression and anxiety. I have been depressed for roughly 14 years and anxiety seems to be a thing that progressively worsens for me as I grow older. My depression is a huge part of my life, it’s the only constant I have ever known. I have struggled basically everyday with it for these past 14 years and it’s honestly the worst. For me, it’s the worst because it’s the worst pain I know. It’s an endless cycle and I’m learning that it’s something I can help manage but not fight. It will always be there but there is hope for it to get better. Even if that means circling back to low times again, thats okay. I hold out hope for even just a few good years ahead, a few years where I can maybe feel like me.

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For those reading who share the same pain, I am sorry. I’m sorry this is your reality as it is mine. I am sorry if you may have had months, or even years taken away from you because of this. I’m sorry and I am also here for you. To those who know someone struggling with depression, just be there for them. Reach out, tell them you love them and that you are there for them always. You never know what message could help and redirect someone you love.

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Holy shit, let’s begin.

When it was time for my session, I won’t lie- I was actually fucking ready to go. Like, running to the studio, makeup did (first time in my life, thank you to my friend Jessie), Fenty lingerie in hand (wasn’t supposed to be delivered until after the session, thank god it came early, or on time for me), with a big ass smile on my face ready to strip down to my underwear. I am one billion percent confident that being a boudoir photographer is what gave me all the confidence going into my own session. I know where to put my hands, which way to turn my face, and all the flattering poses to make. I have seen and helped hundreds of babes in front of me not only feel confident in their posing, but feel confident in just being themselves. There was no way I was about to walk into that session not being myself and living out what I preach to others. It was amazing, I felt on fire and the confidence and pride lasted for a while within me.

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For the longest time, I thought I couldn’t do boudoir even while being a boudoir photographer. Literally what would go through my mind is, no one ever sees my body, so why should I get photos like this taken?. Shame on me I know. But I really thought, well what’s the point…

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Having this session put a lot of things into perspective for me. Although I’m not someone who bares her body, so to speak, that doesn’t mean that is a reason for not getting photos like these done. I have a living, breathing body and thats the only reason I need. Now having done this myself I can truly say, this needs to be a requirement for everyone. It doesn’t matter if you’re married, single, dating, a womxn, a man, trans, non-binary, or queer person, you have a body that deserves your love the most. Doing a session like this is the ultimate way to start loving who you truly are in your own skin. So coming from the terrified boudoir photographer who thought she didn’t have a good enough reason to get boudoir done and who finally had a session of her own, it’s worth it- trust me.

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Growing up I had a very nice life. My childhood was pretty normal, good, nothing too crazy, nothing too terrible. We always had enough money growing up to take the yearly family vacations to Disneyland, my mom would always throw nice birthday parties when my brother and I were younger and we would travel and camp all over the western part of the United States. It was a lovely childhood full of outdoor activities, family, friends, scenic views, and fond memories. Part of me wanting to live in a van is to live out my childhood again. My Mom and Dad showed me that long road trips and camping were fun, and they are the most fun things I do today. I was a pretty lucky kid. Grew up moderately healthy, I have never been abused, I have never been sexually assaulted, had never even broken a single bone in my body. I was fortunate to grow up the way I did. I know a lot of people who had it far worse than I did as a child, so I thank my stars for my life thus far, even though it had its own set of bumps and challenges.

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It wasn’t until I got a little older that things started to change for me. I started losing interest in a lot of things. I was sad most of the time, socially anxious, not wanting to be around my family, not wanting to do any sort of activities; you know the typical teenager stuff. But I noticed that I would hide out in my room and cry, a lot. I would lay in bed with tears streaming down my face and listen to my family be a family outside of my door. I didn’t want to be a part of my family, I didn’t know how to, I had so many bad emotions within me I thought that shutting myself off to them was ultimately protecting them and me.

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At the time, I didn’t realize that I was dealing with a lot more than just teenage angst. I kept to myself most days, maybe too much. It wasn’t until I was 14 that I realized that I was depressed, or rather, knew something as wrong with me. I remember the day almost perfectly. It was my 14th birthday and everything just went wrong. I’ll spare you the minor, trivial details of everything because it seems so silly to even recall, but it also was a very painful day for me, as silly as it does sound. What had really set me off that day was something my English teacher said to me.

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Before I get into that, I want to talk briefly about my parents. Growing up I always clung to my Dad, if and when I did choose to cling to a family member. He would give me the best hugs, hold me tight and tell me that he loved me and it would honestly calm all the nerves and worries I would have. He still gives me the best hugs to this day. I’ll get more into it with my Dad later, but my story here really lies with my mother. My mom is one of the most wonderful humans ever and as the days pass one by one, I love her more and more. It wasn’t always like this though and we both know it. We had a really shitty past, the two of us together, but I am very proud at how far we’ve grown. I didn’t ever think we could get here. But I do want to say how much I love my mother and how different our relationship is now today before going any further.

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Growing up my Mom and I honestly never really got along. Once I became a teenager trying to navigate my feelings, my depression (not knowing I was dealing with it quite yet), our relationship took a major turn. For years and years and years my Mom and I had a terrible relationship, just awful. We would fight, argue, and bicker all the time. I would say some not so nice things to her, she would say some not so nice things to me. I think we were both just trying our hardest to live with one another and it’s wasn’t easy because we were both just operating from a place that we knew and we didn’t see what the other was going through at the time, nor did we know how to help one another. Around then, my Mom was our main source of income in our home. My Dad struggled to find work up here in Washington for years, which ultimately lead him back down south for work when I was around 18. We were all struggling, there was a lot of pain and it resulted in a very distressed home.

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I would come home, go to my room and sometimes not even see or speak to my family that night. I isolated myself, I was sad and felt distance from my family and just did what I felt like I needed to do, which was to be alone. I couldn’t verbalize my feelings, my thoughts, or even really how my day was. I felt like a mute at times, not being able to speak at all, not really knowing how. My mom wold ask me how school was and I couldn’t even say anything to her- this happened everyday. We were a family that kept our feelings closed off, and sadly some of us still do to this day, me included. This past year has been rough for me as I said earlier, and it’s almost reminded me of how I felt when I was a teen. The worst pain I have felt to this day will remain those days when I was roughly 13-17 years old.

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Those were the days where I learned of my depression and tried my best to navigate it on what felt like my own. All I could focus on was this pain. Friends didn’t matter, school didn’t matter, my home life didn’t matter, nothing mattered. My heart would physically hurt, like an elephant was sitting on top of it and I still feel that pain to this day. It feels like a heartache, like a longing for something I’ve never had or the feeling of just losing someone close to you. In fact, a doctor told me once recently as she tried to explain to me that I looked healthy and believe it or not, wasn’t depressed at all, that my heart pains really need to be looked at and scanned. It could be something much worse and we want to try and prevent anything from happening. I told her, ‘oh no, it’s fine-‘ this is just what I feel when I am really, fucking truly depressed, as I have said to you just now, as I am here to speak to you about my depression. Learned my lesson there, never see a primary care physician for mental health. Take notes, learn from me, because that encounter set me off on an emotional spiral for days.