I’m very lucky to be associated with a group of women writers and bloggers who all share one thing in common: we’re middle-aged and we’re all working at coming into our power and talents either for the first time or with renewed vigor now the kids are gone or almost gone. One of the things I’ve watched many of these women do is take the brave step of boudoir pictures. The overwhelming response is how empowering it is to present their mid life bodies to the camera and then to the public. I’ve always nodded my head and given the “you go girl” message in the Facebook group or gone to their blogs and commented on how incredible they look. Because they always do look incredible.
I finally decided to pull the trigger on boudoir photos. I had a lover ask me for some a couple of years ago and brushed off the request, citing my belly was like Jell-O, I had stretch marks, my boobs aren’t perky…But over the last few years I’ve been working on my body and self image. I was fifty before I realized I was pretty and always had been pretty. My fifty-something body is actually stronger and fit than it’s ever been and I’m happy with my body as it is evolving. It’s just too bad I didn’t have the courage and the confidence before the toning and sculpting.
But even though I’m more body confident than I’ve ever been, I found myself obsessing about the back fat, ass flab, and stretch marks as I packed a bag of favorite lingerie and high heels. I almost fell into a shame spiral as I drove to the studio with those damn yammering Old Ladies that live in my head. They were in full blown tongue clucking chide about how I need to act my age and stop wearing short shorts, cut my hair off, and who do I think I am getting naked for pictures at my age! And don’t get them started on the younger man I’m dating…
I’m getting quicker at shushing those voices and so I had pulled my confidence together by the time I was in the studio. By the time my headshots were finished I was even having fun. I’m pretty sure I almost shocked the photographer when I just whipped off my dress and said: “Let’s get started with this. What do you think of this underwear with a man’s white dress shirt?”
WOW…what a rush. My pictures range from headshots suitable for framing and putting on a boyfriend’s desk in the office to wickedly erotic pictures done for the sheer freedom of saying: “I’m this woman, too.”
The photographer is wildly creative and a kindred spirit. He’s 56 and was probably a punk rocker in the 80’s. When we met a few weeks ago, he had The Ramones and Sex Pistols playing in the background so I knew we would have fun. That morning of the photo shoot, he asked what I wanted to listen to and I told him “that radio station you had on before.” In boomed the songs of my late twenties when I was “supposed” to settle down and get married. Granted I was an experimental when I was in my early twenties. I had simultaneous relationships with men and women that would be considered polyamorous now but I didn’t have the language for it then.
The first song Pandora gave us was The Cure’s “Love Song” it was wildly popular the fall my ex husband and I were planning our wedding. I wanted our friend’s cello quartet to transpose it for four cellos but my soon to be husband hated the idea and that meant I was outvoted. I told G the photographer the story and he looked sad for me. Because, yes, it was and still is a brilliant idea. Half naked and posing in wildly erotic scenes for an almost stranger so he could take my picture brought about a stunning realization. I was stunned at the woman I had become. I was pretty darn brave. It also made me realize how courageous and single-minded I wanted to be in my 20’s with my crazy relationship ideas and fluid sexuality. I flashed on an image of myself in 1989; completely unaware of the depth of my inner strength and power; mistrusting of people’s perception of my outer beauty. I didn’t want to reach out and hug the twenty-eight year old giving her advice because that would have spoiled her journey. But I realized at that moment–laying on a concrete floor half naked except for leather collar, latex panties and over the thigh boots–that young woman who played The Buzzcocks at full volume would be proud of her 53 year old self. It was great epiphany to have.
The other great epiphany is my ass looks amazing in the pictures. Not perfect but amazing for a woman of a “certain age”.