The Power of a Great Dress & The Self-Portrait

It’s this past Monday, mid-afternoon. I’m wearing business-y clothes and even though I know I put deodorant on it doesn’t quite feel like enough. I’m standing on a stage in front of 150+ photographers starting to talk about… not photography. I’m nervous, mostly because I stumble over words on a good, normal kind of day. But as I started speaking, the wrinkles in my nerves smoothed. The words flowed if not perfectly, close enough.

I’ve been holding off on sharing these images for a month. I’d been meaning to photograph myself for a while, really ever since I started this site. And of course I put it off again, again, yet again. Until the leader of this conference said he needed a new headshot of me and suddenly there was a deadline. Taunting me. And so I did make the portraits and sent in the headshot, and still I haven’t made myself sit down and share them until just now. Because as much as I whole-heartedly believe ever woman needs an incredible portrait of herself, it’s a bit raw doing it for yourself. As much as I do love these images, I still know these images were taken with me at the highest number on the scale I’ve seen since losing the baby weight. I scour them for flaws instead of seeing what’s actually there. I tell women every day that today is the best day to be photographed and excuses of waiting to lose the last 5 just don’t work for me. This is the kind of experience that takes you as you are and shows you the beauty that’s already there. And yet…

In sharing this, I’m presenting the best side of me, harshly culled to the best I have to offer. It makes me feel incredibly vulnerable.

But today, I feel the need to share. At the end of the conference this week, we had a party. And it was a goooooooood party. 150+ letting loose after days of intense learning and much tea drinking. The speakers, myself most definitely included, letting go of any remaining nerves and just… dancing. I bought a dress last week for this party. I walked into the store and told a sales girl what I needed and before I even stopped talking she told me she had the dress for me. She was more right than she could have possibly known. So I put on the dress the night of the party. I put makeup on. I even put on heels, a rarity in my life. And I sat next to a girlfriend while she finished her makeup and knew.

It’s amazing, the power of a great dress. My friend told me I looked amazing. Women at the party threatened to steal the dress right off me. I definitely caught some appreciative glances that kicked my step up a notch. I might have spent too much time in the photo booth, just relishing. All that aside though, I just knew. I felt it. And I loved it. And so I’m not jittery about sharing these images anymore. I’m not feeling so vulnerable. I’m still riding that high that only comes from within, that emotional crest that’s always been there and just needs OUT. And who knows, maybe I’ll make some time to photograph myself in the green dress soon, too.

Signed, the girl who suddenly loves red lipstick and sequins.

This is me.