She said I was fat

I recently started running again. I used to run every day at 4 a.m. before getting ready for work.  When I worked in Downtown Fort Worth, I would run with one of my best friends downtown at lunch.   I hate running, but I love having run.  It was the greatest stress reliever and goodness knows it melted the pounds away.  When I quit running, I was just going through a challenging time in my life and it was no longer a priority.  Since then, I've gained 70 pounds. But I'm happy. I started running again; for my health; for stress; for my closet full of gorgeous Ann Taylor clothes I can't fit into any longer; for me.

Not for anyone else.

Yesterday I learned that a neighbor had some words of judgment when she heard I was working out again.  This person, who is of similar size to me,  called me fat and said I "used to be a pretty girl."  While it doesn't shock me, I do find it amusing that someone feels their judgment of my body and appearance would really be of any concern of there's.

Alex Shelley Photography Bio
Alex Shelley Photography Bio

Now, I could take this judgment and let it affect me, but I have never been one to let an other's opinion dictate my self-worth or self-value.  To me, this is a teachable moment. This is an opportunity to help other women brush aside the opinions of others, whether it regards their appearance, weight, or whatever.  Because Lord knows we have all experienced some sort of judgment and shaming of our body or God-given features in some fashion.

No one's opinion defines you, and your happiness in life is not contingent on what someone else thinks of you or your body or anything else.

In these moments, my blessings are what give me strength, as well as good friends.  Take a moment to count your blessings.

Go ahead. I'll wait.

Here's mine:

  1. I have a great life even with the extra pounds.
  2. I have the best husband in the world.  He loves me, tells me I'm beautiful, does the laundry, and I appreciate him every day.
  3. I have a kind, funny, and well-behaved child who is creative, loving, and stronger than she knows, and I made her!
  4. I am a living kidney donor and saved someone's life by giving of myself (That is automatic awesome points right there).
  5. I have a wonderful family, by both blood and marriage. (No really, I have the world's greatest mother-in-law).
  6. I have great eyebrows I don't have to tweeze, wax, draw on, or microblade.

Finally, I own a business doing what I love where every single day I get to make someone just like you and me feel beautiful and confident and appreciate who they are in the skin they're in.

That's my job. It isn't just about taking photographs. It is about empowering you to be present in the moment, and love and appreciate yourself for life.

I've written about this before; Too often women hide from cameras. It doesn't matter what size jeans you wear or if your arms jiggle.  Your husband and kids don't care about that. They care about you.

alex shelley body positive dfw photographs
alex shelley body positive dfw photographs

My birth clients bare everything in the most uncomfortable, vulnerable moment of their lives. They are sweaty, hot, and 9 months pregnant. Their hair is a hot mess, usually up in a ponytail or bun. If they even have makeup on, there's a 90% chance it has smudged, run, or come off.  They don't care about matching clothes or if they look fat in those pants.  They don't care about anything but delivering their baby. Each of them are the most beautiful women in photographs ever. Always.  No matter what size they are, they radiate with absolute beauty and love.

Quinn_120216_0760
Quinn_120216_0760

  One artist that inspires me is the great fashion photographer Peter Lindbergh.  He is the founding father of supermodels and responsible for redefined beauty standards.He strives to capture people's souls and personality in his photographs, not their "beauty." He is completely against the retouching that has taken over our magazines.    This is one my favorite quotes of his:

This should be the responsibility of photographers today to free women, and finally everyone, from the terror of youth and perfection.

alex shelley family photojournalism coffee morning
alex shelley family photojournalism coffee morning

Do not be afraid of the opinions of others who don't matter. Do not be afraid to be photographed because you need to lose 20 lbs.  Let me help you free yourself from this idea of perfection and appreciate you for the skin you are in at this moment in life.

Let me photograph you.

Your soul.

Your beauty.