Sunday, July 14, 2013

A Beautiful You {Personal}

'To Love Oneself is the Beginning of a Lifelong Romance' ~ Oscar Wilde
This post is going to be a little different. Still photography related. Still beautiful work to show off. However, it's not my work that will be posted rather it's me in the actual images. Raw, un-photoshoped, stretch marks, no makeup (I rarely wear makeup anyways), and tummy bearing me.  Let me start off by giving you a little background on myself. I am a typical curvy girl. Always have been and don't really see much change in my body type for the future. I have always been told I was beautiful by both friends and family, however, I never believed it. I picked apart my body for the longest time...finding every little flaw.  I finally see the beauty others have seen in me but after years and years of self hate it still gets the best of me at times.  As women we all have our 'skinny' days and our 'fat' days and I am finding myself to have more skinny days than fat.  With age has come a certain confidence that I have never had which brings me to Ashley of Ai Photography project A Beautiful You.
There was a kickstarter project, A Beautiful Body by Jade Beall, floating around the different photography Facebook pages I am apart of. I found it very motivating and empowering. Ashley got ahold of the project and took it upon herself to spread the love and use her photography skills here in Okinawa by creating a spin off called A Beautiful You. When Ashley started photographing women it really showed me that behind the scares and imperfections there is a beautiful woman in each of us.  Ashley has a way with her photography that she makes you feel completely relaxed.  It took me a while to finally convince myself to do these photos for her because one I am a fairly modest girl. Yes, I sport the two pieces at the beach but I am hardly photographed in them. And two, I was afraid to just let it all the world the real me.  I had two conditions for doing these photos: one, I was to be covered....I give the women who show it all major props but I just couldn't do it. Two, I wanted to pose with my husband. Ashley was thrilled when I suggested my husband be there. She has already photographed several women with their children but had yet to have a husband involved.  When I presented this to my husband he without hesitation was supportive and willing. That right there made me so happy. It showed me that he not only supports me and still finds me beautiful after 10 years but he also supports Ashley and her passion for this project.
A Beautiful You has brought 17 women thus far to Ashley to bare all and share their stories including hers. I will continue to support Ashley in this journey of hers and I really can't wait to see what comes of this. I am beyond blessed to have met her during our stay in Okinawa. She has taught me that you don't need to be magazine perfect to be beautiful.  She truly is one of the most beautiful people I have met both inside and out. And these photos Ashley took has shown me the beauty that others see in me and will cherish them forever. If you are in Okinawa I encourage you to contact Ai Photography and if you are stateside please look up Jade Beall and please allow either one of these amazing women show that you are amazing and beautiful too!

*All photo credits go to Ashley of Ai Photography 
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  1. Love love love! Those are love marks!! Beautiful

  2. bold. stunning. brilliant. i want you to photograph me <3

  3. You are brave and beautiful, Ashley! She did a fantastic job. You do look very relaxed and I love the last smiley one of you! I'm on my 4th pregnancy and my stretch mark collection and extra jiggle just keeps growing, which does make me self conscious, but it would be amazing to have photos of myself like these. What a great gift, a beautiful reminder of what other people see!

  4. Beautiful photos - Thanks for sharing! - Lauren W