When I started making plans for the blog at the start of the year, I knew focusing on shooting more and featuring more high quality photos with me in them would be essential. I wanted to make sure you guys got to know the blogger behind the blog.
That not only meant showing my face more, but showing my body more as well.
To add a bit of context, I need to tell you all a bit about yourselves. Meaning, how you respond to the content I post.
When it comes to the blog, having me in the featured image (that first picture you see on the homepage) makes you all much more likely to read the post. On Twitter, it makes you share my posts more and more likely to follow. My highest engaged with and liked photos on Instagram are, you guessed it, photos of me.
But it’s not just any old photos of me that cause this engagement spike.
Selfies are cool, but pictures where you can see more of my body, outfit or what I’m doing always tip the engagement scales.
And I totally get it!
No matter what niche a content creator is in, there are likely hundreds if not thousands of other people creating within the same niche. The reason why there is still enough to go around despite that over saturation of content creators is the fact that we each have one unique thing only we can deliver. And that one thing, is our honest, truest, purest and most authentic selves.
So of course you’d rather read, view and engage with content where you can see me! It helps tear down the digital wall between us a bit. It’s how we connect with one another beyond likes and comments. It’s the reason why I’m so inspired to create day after day –because of the meaningful connections I make with all of you.
So, knowing that this is what you guys wanted to see and that it would help me build the community I’m after online, stepping in front of the camera consistently was a given. But it was also a tough pill to swallow.
Sadly, I think you’d be hard pressed to find a woman who was always perfectly content with the state of her body. Whether she’s a size 2 or a size 20, no one sees our feels our flaws more than we do. We’re our own toughest critics.
In her book Hunger, Roxane Gay so eloquently describes what it’s like to have an “unruly body.” One that takes up more space, requires some special treatment and moves a little differently. It impacts the way you do everything.
I know this is very true for me personally.
My body impacts the way I date.
My body impacts the way I work.
My body impacts where I sit on airplanes.
My body absolutely impacts the way I dress.
I’m always considering my body in some way, shape or form. And I’m especially conscious of my body when I’m around other people.
Don’t get me wrong –I’m 25 years old and for all that it is and all that it isn’t, I love my body. It’s taken 25 years to get to that point and I’m still learning new ways to love and celebrate my body. I’m so grateful for my body. It can do amazing things. But you can absolutely love your body and still cringe and feel that twinge of insecurity when it’s time to post an Instagram or blog photo.
Blogging has impacted my relationship with my body in so many ways.
Before I shoot new photos, I go through photos on Instagram and other blogs to gather inspiration on photo composition and pose ideas. This always results in scrolling through the photos of tons of women who are undeniably and universally stunning. Perfect bodies with acceptable curves, gorgeous hair and skin, styled to perfection.
Of course everything is perfect on Instagram. And those women are likely battling insecurities just like I do. But those moments can stir up a little body envy.
On the flip side, blogging has made me see my body in totally new ways. Not just from an aesthetic standpoint, but when it comes to endurance as well.
My body can withstand early wake ups, long hours, intense days of shooting and so much more. It’s really an amazing thing.
I’ve always wanted to be the kind of woman who was poised, graceful and confident when she walked in a room. Someone who had definite presence everywhere she went. Want to get better at knowing how to carry your body? Photograph yourself for the internet!
My first few blog shoots were bad. No sugar coating it. I wish I could still find those images to share! I was awkward, insecure and completely uncomfortable in front of the camera. But now, with a few years of shoots under my belt, it’s a completely different experience when I step in front of the camera.
For one, the camera sees what the camera sees. You can choose to hate it or love it, and I’m committed to loving it.
I’m also very blessed to be able to shoot with one of my best friends. He’s super talented, but I’m also super comfortable shooting with him. I try new things and unleash my full personality because I can relax and just get the job done.
I know among all of the goals I have for my blog, one of the main reasons I’m meant to do this is simply to be a girl who looks like me on platforms where so many do not. I know that for a lot of you, me being a brown girl with a bigger body helps you just as much as when I give you tips on bullet journaling or time management. I know this because you guys have sent me plenty of emails and DMs telling me just that. I’m glad my own journey to self love has inspired some of you to take the same journey. It’s not always an easy one.
I want to end this post with a thank you to you all. Putting any portion of your life online can be nerve wracking. The court of public opinion isn’t always just. I’ve never received hurtful or hateful comments here or on social media, even though there are sites literally devoted to tearing apart blogger’s every moves. So thank you all, for always being kind, courteous and for inspiring me, day after day, to be my own #BodyGoals.