Posts in Beauty Tips
Fat and Uncomfortable

UNCOMFORTABLE, that's the description I hear most often when people come in to have their photograph taken. It's incredibly common to not like being in front of a camera. Whether it's because you feel fat, old, ugly, tired or what-have-you [insert your own reason here], having your portrait made can be unpleasant.

You are not alone. Based on my own experience with clients, I'd say 9 out of 10 people are uncomfortable having their photograph taken. Even I am uncomfortable in front of the camera. One of my biggest fears is looking fat in photos and not looking like the real me (whether that's looking too good or too bad - although I don't mind the "too good" as much). 

36915672_10209541574295917_7803197064132689920_n.jpg

Take this photograph, for instance. This is a VERY recent photograph and, oh my gosh, I HATE it. I look dopey, ghostly, have no jaw line and look chunkier than I feel I actually am. I have no eyebrows or eyes and I feel like a big pile of gross blah. I. Feel. Ugly.

My husband even, once I told him I really wanted to untag myself in the photo, said he contemplated untagging me because it's not how I look in real life. Like, it's a BAD, BAD photograph - and it's out there for the world to see, thanks to social media.

Now, I've had uncomplimentary photographs before and I've been working on being comfortable getting past my own vanity and appreciating the moment and the people I'm sharing the memory with. This latest picture is definitely testing my self-appreciation methods though. I'm attempting to be thankful for the humbling reminder to keep my vanity in check and always do my best to represent who my clients truly are. While I might look uglier in photos than I see myself, I am choosing to focus my attention on remembering that I love the people in this photograph and the time together this photo represents.

While there is little we can do about the quality of the photographs shared and tagged on social media by other people, any time you have photographs made with a photographer, you can always open a dialogue with them. I want to know your insecurities. I want to know which side is your favorite. I want to know what you are learning to like about yourself. I want to know all of these things so that I can be sensitive to where you are at and capture you in the best light, as the best representation of you.

It's natural and normal to feel uncomfortable in front of a camera. It is normal to have fears and insecurities; and, it is expected that, at a vulnerable time like when you're having your portrait made, your uncomfortable feelings may come out. Just remember you're not alone, your opinions about yourself matter and I'm going to do my best to photograph the most beautiful version of you.

Taking a Breath

I literally started this blog by taking a massive, slow, deep breath in followed by a slow breath out to get my mind in the right place. You see, seeing that my last blog post was back on the 30th of May made me slightly stressed. With my deep breath in though, and even as the continue deep breathing as I write, it's so much easier to focus on all of the good things that have happened and all of the progress that has been made in that 16 day gap. 

So often we get wrapped up in all of the ways we failed or in everything we've done wrong. We minimize our progress and growth because we aren't exactly where we want to be in this moment. By doing that, by letting ourselves be overwhelmed, we are also giving up our joy and strength. 

No matter what you've failed with, no matter the mistakes you've made, your shortcomings or your missteps - you don't have to live in them. You've been given the opportunity of grace and redemption. Just as we have been extended grace, we can give ourselves grace on occasion now too! 

It's so encouraging to breathe deep and know that I am more than my mistakes and short comings - even if they are as big as mistreating someone or as small as not blogging as often as I "should." And, yes, just like "with great strength comes great responsibility" the fact that we have the opportunity for grace and redemption doesn't give us the reasons to just act however we choose. We should always carry the integrity of our lives. 

In those moments of overwhelm where you feel yourself sinking into despair, shame and regret stop yourself. Take a few deep breaths and remember the good. Let yourself smile and sink into grace.

It's Okay
Massage : It's not just for pampering. It's a healing process.

For the longest time, I thought massages were just for pampering. Now, don't get me wrong, pampering is an important element of self care. Honestly though, I just didn't get it. I heard people rave about their massages and I appreciated their encouragement to go and get one myself but, I never really saw a massage being for me. Massages only sounded like an expensive, awkward experience where you are in minimal clothing and vulnerable and you walk away sticky.

Then I had my first massage.

Let me tell you, my world CHANGED. I never knew just how much pain I was waking up and existing in. That first morning after my massage was illuminating. I didn't have to stretch for 30 minutes before getting out of bed. I didn't have to tenderly and slowly roll over to let all of my joints crack and bones settle with the fear of throwing my back out before my feet even hit the floor. I didn't have to limp to the bathroom barely putting pressure on my left foot. I didn't have to take slow deep, purposeful breaths to slowly loosen my shoulder pain that usually made it difficult to breathe. In fact, I didn't realize I wasn't in pain until I was halfway to the bathroom. Then, when I did, I squealed so loud I scared my poor beagle, Sadie, but I couldn't help it. I was absolutely flabbergasted at the amount of pain I had ignored and the freedom that being nearly pain free gave me.

Now, I'm a firm believer that if you say you don't want a massage or don't think they are necessary, you just haven't had one yourself. Or, at least, you haven't had a good massage. Not only do I now believe in the need for massage but many of my fears of getting a massage have been eliminated. 

ALP-12HR.jpg

Christina gave me my first massage and she is the main reason my fears were eliminated. The first step was very medical - which, I wasn't expecting but, it made sense. I filled out a form detailing my medical history and where I was currently experiencing pain; Christina had even created the form as a sensitive way to inquire about previous abuse. To some, asking about previous abuse may sound intrusive. To an abuse survivor like me, it meant that Christina cared enough to know there are potentially sensitive boundaries and she wanted to respect not only my body and mind but she also didn't make the question intrusive and ask for details or anything that would have potentially made me uncomfortable. Once I filled out the form, Christina took time to read each answer to herself and ask questions only where she had them. She then welcomed me to keep on as many or as little clothing as I was comfortable with and then to lay down on her table. She stepped out of the room and I slipped under the sheets.

The bubbling of a peaceful stream met my ears and was accompanied by the smell of essential oils. Intended to calm my mind, these atmospheric elements worked like a charm. The sheets were soft and warm and, to my surprise, there were a large number of blankets I had to crawl under too! The blankets weren't heavy or hot but they allowed just enough pressure for me to feel cocooned and covered - an effort for atmosphere I greatly appreciated. Then, Christina knocked quietly and made sure she could enter. Her demeanor was always soft and reassuring and I could tell how attentive she was to where my body felt pain and when it had had too much pain. And, yes, there were parts of the massage that caused slight pain as Christina worked out the strain in my muscles but it was never unbearable and it was truly therapeutic. The painful part of the massage coupled with the painlessness I felt the next day caused me to realize exactly how necessary and therapeutic regular massages are. It's why I am now a believer!

All in all, my first massage experience was incredible. Christina was amazing and the results were phenomenal. Which, is why I am SO excited for everyone who comes to Jasper & Fern because the miracle worker who has helped me so much with my pain is moving in!!

I hope you are dancing with excitement over this, because I most certainly am! Christina is one of the many blessings that have come our way since establishing and building up Jasper & Fern. She couldn't be a better fit for our community because she has such a pure, sweet and loving heart. She wants to help you feel better, live a happier life and to not be restricted by pain.

I truly hope you choose to try adding massage to your self care. Massage can change your life!
 

P.S. If you want to book with Christina, she's happy to help you out! 
Email : mckenzie.christina2012@gmail.com
Phone : 828-423-6281