Working on Self Acceptance
Self acceptance is not easy for many. I think it’s been pretty clear this past year that I’ve had some things going on, but haven’t openly come right out and talked about it. So here it goes… the honest truth.
I’m living with depression. I’ve battled depression and anxiety through out my entire life. I remember in elementary school having an anxiety attack in the 3rd grade about a word cross that “had to get done”, stayed up waaay past my bed time, was in tears for hours. Through the tears I finished that homework…only to turn it in the next day and have it be a surprise “extra credit” assignment. My depression was on and off through jr. high – and then high school hit me like a ton of bricks – and I didn’t deal with it very well. Now into my adult-hood, panic attacks are sort of the norm during times of high stress. The depression constantly looming over me.
I think people hear the word depression and they think “oh hey there crazy lady!” or that I’m just constantly in tears or popping anti-depressants all the time. Not true. What it does mean though, is that sometimes I am not accepting of myself. It means some days I have to really work at finding the positive things (even if I’m surrounded by them). Depression has stolen my self-acceptance. I’m in constant judgement of myself. Not smart enough, not good enough, not physically fit enough. I even get on myself about my depression; I feel guilty that I even have to deal with it in the first place. Constantly wishing I could just be one of those happy-go-lucky people who are always positive. That’s just not me.
So here I am. Preaching to women about self acceptance and being body-positive, and yet behind the scenes I have days where I’m punishing my own body. The beautiful thing about boudoir is that I’m learning I’m not alone. Through boudoir I am finding my way out of this current state of depression, by simply connecting with other women. In January, I had the braniac idea to put myself in front of my own camera.
These photos were taken 2 months after my grandfather’s funeral and just before my other grandfather passed on. I was in the middle of shit storm. The month before this I had hit my rock bottom – to the point where I had scared my husband a few times. As I started to come out of that space, I felt this need to remind myself that I am strong, that living with depression doesn’t define me; and that’s what my boudoir photos are about.
Self acceptance is not easy for me to obtain, but I’m working on it. Boudoir shines a light on your strength through any storm. It puts you back in touch with your own body, and opens the door for connection with other women who can help lift you up. It’s easy to feel alone and bogged down in times when you don’t love yourself; but I’m telling you, no one is ever as alone as they feel.
Photography: Autumn L. Rudolph Photography