If you’ve followed me for more than a day on social media you know that I adore my bestie Tutti del Monte. We’re those annoying best friends. You know the ones with our own voices, inside jokes, and constant giggling in corners mixed in with talking for hours about our hearts and dreams. And of course tears are involved. She said it best on her blog last week, “at the risk of sounding like a lunatic, we met for the first time a year ago but our souls had known each other for long before then. There, I said it! Ever since that day, Kat and I have been inseparable’. And that’s true.
Tutti is a dreamer, a doer, a giver, has a smile that lights up New York City, and she is 100% woman. Having her in my life has really impacted me in so many ways. One of those ways is that she continually inspires me to embrace my femininity whole heartedly. She is a Boudoir photographer, and one of the things she is most passionate about is spreading a message of love, acceptance and strength to women. She recently started a series called ‘Living Sexy’, where she interviews and photographs women and asks them what living a sexy life is about to them.
Last week she featured me, which was such an incredible experience. As a photographer it’s a whole other experience to be in front of the camera. Not to mention having photos taken of you where you are embracing your sexy side. When I saw these pictures I couldn’t believe this sexy woman was me! A lot of people think boudoirs or sexy photos are for their partners, but I’m so grateful to have these images of me as a 30 year old woman embracing my femininity and my sexiness.
Up until the past few years I didn’t consider myself sexy.
I hardly considered myself pretty.
Riddled with insecurity about my figure in college and in my early 20s I got really good at hiding my body. On top of that coming from a fairly conservative Christian background it seemed like sexuality and being sexy was bad (unless you were married of course).
So I was insecure, didn’t think I was pretty, and then started my own business in what I thought to be a very male dominated industry. It felt like in order to be successful I had to join in the locker room talk in the photographer’s pit. And even if I didn’t; it felt so dog eat dog that I thought I had to be harsh if I wanted to be succeed. I even became annoyed at times that I was a woman.
The conversations running through my head were
- If I could just lose 15 pounds then I’d have a boyfriend.
- If I was a man I’d be booking more clients.
- I feel invisible to men when I walk into a room.
- I’m annoyed that I am a woman in a man’s world.
Just to say it…I realize now all of these conversations are from a victim standpoint, and are completely untrue.
Here’s what happened.
In my 20s I did a lot of soul work; it wasn’t easy and it definitely got messy. And it’s not over. I think we never get to a place where we have arrived. There’s always room for growth, there’s always more healing to be had.
And as women I think we have these questions that we bring to world, and a lot of times to men:
- Am I beautiful?
- Am I sexy?
- Am I valuable?
- Do you want me?
- Am I worthy?
For a long time I wanted a man to answer those questions for me, and what I realize is that I was setting up every guy I dated for failure. Because no man was created to answer my questions.
And the reality is that my questions have already been answered.
I am enough.
Not some past version of me, or some future more polished version of myself.
The Scriptures open up with these verses that talk about God creating the universe and all that’s in it. And he says all of it is good. Then he talks about the creation of man and woman. And He says that we are imago dei. We are made in His image with His likeness. With joy he says again this is good. Man and Woman are good. Not just man, or not just woman. Not just his muscles, or her career aspirations. All of what makes up man and woman He says is good.
So internally I am grounded in imago dei. All parts of me in Him are good. This includes my womanhood, my femininity, and yes even my sexuality. We want to have things in tidy boxes, but our lives are fluid, and each part of us flows into the other.
Whenever we compartmentalize our lives, we shut down parts of our being. Giving myself permission to finally and fully be the person I was created to be? Well it’s been one of the most freeing experiences of my life.
And what I’ve experienced is free people free people. Freedom sets a spark, not only in the life of the liberated but in the lives of those around her.
I see now that it’s actually a gift to be a woman photographer because when I photograph woman to woman there’s this special bond. This trust we have with each other. Because I am a woman I get to evoke something altogether different out of my subjects. What a gift.
And what a gift that I am a woman.
To me now sexiness has nothing to do with my relationship status. Living sexy is loving myself from the inside out and embracing every aspect of who I am, and who I was created to be.