So much has happened since our first Confidence Campaign event in September! It was a pivotal event for me personally and professionally. It was SO liberating to publicly share my story of deep pain and body shame. It’s like a huge weight was lifted off my chest and I felt as though I wanted to drop to my knees knowing that I didn’t have to carry that burden any longer.
After the event, several women came up to me, some in tears, telling me how much they could relate and how powerful it was to bring this topic out in the open. It was so energizing and inspiring to know that by sharing my story I could help other women lead a more empowered life.
The universe was clearly telling me that I must host a second event. Based on feedback, we made a few changes and hosted a more intimate event at the ultra-spective gallery the following month. This event was even more powerful as five women shared their most intimate pain as well as their path back to wholeness. The body shame stories were from a diverse perspective, from physical abuse to feeling too thin & too fat to feeling too tomboyish. These experiences all left us with deep rooted feelings of not being good enough. Many of us acknowledged intellectually that these experiences do not make us unworthy. But the deep rooted emotional patterns make it hard for us to truly move past it. Simply acknowledging the pain is not enough to heal. I shared some of the techniques I continue to use to help break these emotional patterns.
Since the events, ultra-spective has helped transform the lives of dozens of women with our boudoir or fitness photo sessions. We’re currently considering a rebrand of these sessions into Empowering Portraits because that’s really what they are. A session with us is not just about the amazing photos as the end result. The power in a photo session with us is in the actual experience of being vulnerable with us in front of the camera, connecting with your heart through your breath and showing your true self… it’s an empowering experience.
The Empowering Portraits session can be sexy and intimate like a boudoir session or fun and sporty. It can also show off your personality with a cozy or silly tone. The theme of the session can be as unique as you are. Check out this video for some testimonials. I’m still receiving emails from women who attended the event that have shared how much their lives have changed.
This amazing success of the Confidence Campaign has energized me to continue the events into 2018 with the next event on January 6th at Omni Fight Club. But this decision to continue this campaign has been a huge growth experience for me personally. You see, I’m not a public speaker – at least that has been one of my limiting beliefs based on the thoughts of not being good enough stemming from my negative body image. I’ve been deathly afraid of public speaking. I remember having extreme anxiety in my professional career as a transportation engineer. I had so much anxiety that I would puke in the bathroom before a presentation. I have this specific experience where I stumbled on my words during a City Council meeting and I used the word “fudge” instead of “engineering judgement” to describe how cut-though traffic was calculated. Ever since, when I would hear the word, “fudge”, my stomach gets tied up in knots and a wave of nausea passes over me.
But now that I’m more connected to my body, I can recognize these feelings, acknowledge them, and address the emotional pattern that I created with my decades of negative body image. I told myself long ago that if I couldn’t be the pretty one, then I would be the smart one. So if I ever appeared stupid, this would confirm I wasn’t good enough. Why would I purposely put myself in this position? So these feelings of anxiety really have been a form of self-preservation. Being aware of these engrained emotional patterns by being more body confident and aware is still changing my life. It’s a genuine relief to know that I am enough just as I am now with all my perfect imperfections.
The first Confidence Campaign event for 2018 will be at Omni Fight Club Livermore on Saturday, January 6th 12:30-2:30. I’ve lined up several new guest speakers who will share their story and inspire you to change the way you see yourself. I will share some of my methods for gaining body connection through body positivity. We will also be offering an amazing deal on an Empowering Portrait session with us… so amazing I won’t publish it online so you’ll have to be there to take advantage of it!
All are welcome to join us. The event addresses issues directly aimed at women. I completely understand that men also suffer from similar feelings of body shame. However, I also acknowledge that the expectations of men in society are very different from the expectations of women. Honestly, I just don’t have any personal experience from the male perspective yet. But I am open to including the male perspective of body image in a future event, so I’m hoping that someone will read this and contact me to possibly volunteer to share the male perspective.
If you want to start to heal your negative body image and spread awareness of the damaging effects of the beauty industry’s brainwashing, then RSVP for the event here and invite your friends. I’m super excited to see where this Confidence through Body Positivity journey takes us next!