I Am Beautiful, And So Are You -
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I Am Beautiful, And So Are You

SDN - 01

 

If I told you I knew that I was beautiful, would you relate to me less than if I told I thought that I wasn’t?

 

There are mornings when I look in the mirror, and I think “WOW! That’s what I look like!” Other times when I think “Oh… that’s what I look like?” More often than not, I don’t believe that I am beautiful.

 

SDN - 02

 

I can walk out the door feeling on fire, then see my reflection on a glass building and completely snuff it out. I will see photos of myself in a bikini, stunned by how much weight I’ve gained, feeling utterly depressed. Then a few days later I’ll see a different photo, stunned by how banging my body looks. Huh, I guess I’m not fat after all, I’ll think.

 

Often I wonder if I have any concept at all of what I even look like.

 

SDN - 03

 

Consequently, many times I’ve allowed outside attention to become my barometer for how beautiful I am. If lots of men stare, that makes me beautiful. If women complement me, that makes me beautiful. If someone tells me that I’m skinny, ok I’m skinny. If no one tells me anymore that I’m skinny, ok I guess I’m not skinny anymore.

 

SDN - 04

 

And of course beauty in this case comes from the narrow definition defined by our society. A definition that no human could ever sustain.

 

I wonder if the same way we limit our ability to love by defining love, we limit our ability to feel beautiful by defining beauty. If we limit our ability to be sexual by defining sexuality.

 

SDN - 05

 

As women we’re taught to control our sexuality and use it as a tool for manipulation. We withhold it and surrender it to get what we want. Culture tells us that while we can control others with our sexuality, our sexuality controls us, making us “crazy” and overly attached. If we allow ourselves to be sexual, culture tells us that we’re sluts. If we don’t allow ourselves to be sexual, culture tells us that we’re prudes. We can’t win.

 

All of these dramatic complications have become so undesirable to me that I’ve contained my sexual desires completely. I haven’t even been kissed in almost a year. Which hasn’t made me feel very beautiful.

 

SDN - 06

 

Though I recognize that the key factor here isn’t my body or my hair or my skin or anything other than my perspective. I’ve started to realize that if I want to feel beautiful and sexy I need to spend less energy thinking about the best diets and workouts and more energy on shifting the way that I think.

 

SDN - 07

 

With the intention of expanding my beliefs surrounding beauty and sexuality, a few days ago I decided to do something outside of my comfort zone. I booked a shoot with the Skin Deep Nomad, Sarah, who artistically photographs people stripped down naked in nature.

 

SDN - 08

 

As I connected with Sarah and her camera lens on one of my favorite beaches in the entire world, all of the layers came off. I stripped down bare, I swam into the ocean, I rolled in the sand. I felt so free. I felt like a child and a woman. I felt spiritual and I felt sexual. I felt empowered and I had fun.

 

SDN - 09

 

But when I saw the photos the next day my energy shifted entirely. I examined and judged myself. I looked through image after image, critiquing my body, my hair, my face. I knew that the photos were beautiful but I didn’t think that the woman was.

 

So I went back to connect with nature and I walked on the beach. I cleared my mind entirely and I listened to the waves.

 

SDN - 10

 

When I came back home and looked at the photos again, I looked at them as an observer. Instead of critiquing myself, I looked in amazement at how beautiful this woman was.

 

Why was it so easy to think that she was beautiful but so hard to think that I was?

 

SDN - 11

 

Is it because I think that if I’m not perfect in the eyes of everyone that I’m not allowed to believe that I’m beautiful? That if I don’t fit a certain ideal I’m supposed to judge and criticize myself for it? That I’m supposed to strive for something else rather than accept how beautiful I already am?

 

Or even if I do fit that ideal, am I supposed to still believe that I’m not good enough in order to be humble? Should I not embrace my beauty lest I make someone who didn’t fit that ideal feel bad about the fact that they don’t?

 

SDN - 12

 

Can I not let myself be sexy because then all I am is sex? Then all I’m worth is sex? Then someone who doesn’t feel sexy feels even less sexy when I’m sexy?

 

SDN - 13

 

If I don’t sound like Adele am I not supposed to sing? Am I supposed to be quiet to spare the world of my song?

 

Then if I did sound like Adele, should I silence myself and contain my vibration because sharing that talent is boastful? Would I make those with insecurities… insecure?

 

SDN - 15

 

It’s so much more acceptable to celebrate someone else than it is to celebrate yourself. Yet when you don’t celebrate yourself, it’s impossible to celebrate anyone else.

 

SDN - 16

 

Are we not allowed to own our beauty the same way we’re not allowed to own our brilliance? Are we not allowed to pursue that passion and create that thing that lights our soul on fire and changes the world because who are we to be so big?

 

SDN - 17

 

Are we so scared of how stunning, how sexy, how powerful, how phenomenal we are that we make ourselves small?

 

SDN - 18

 

When will we see that we are worthy of our greatness?

 

SDN - 19

 

It’s time to celebrate our beauty. It’s time to celebrate our brilliance. Because I am beautiful and I am brilliant and I am everything. And so are you.

 

SDN - 20

 

My light and my sparkle doesn’t diminish yours. Your light and your sparkle amplifies mine. Just like every animal, a lion, a panther, a gazelle, a flamingo, a butterfly, a beetle, we are all so different and we are all so beautiful.

 

SDN - 21

 

When we expand our ideas of what beauty looks like, we can embrace all the beauty that already exists. We don’t have to hide our beauty and we don’t have to deny our beauty, because we see that beauty is not scarce, we all have it all of the time.

 

SDN - 22

 

I’m working towards embracing the body that I live in. I’m thanking it for all that it gives me. I’m thanking it for allowing me to receive pleasure. I’m thanking it for allowing me to feel. I’m thanking it for being so beautiful.

 

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Thank you body because you are mine.

 

 

If you’d like to arrange your own shoot, contact photographer Sarah Landolt through her website

 


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Comments

  1. Great piece. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, as my grandmother would have said. I see a brave and yes beautiful young lady, laying bare her emotions and thoughts. Sarah is a fantastic photographer and you a great subject model. The blog itself and your heartfelt words are of course the true essence of your story! This is a great way to finish this small chapter of your story as you ready for your European adventure. Great job!

  2. This post made me really reflect on myself and my body image views. I have felt everything you have felt and it feels so healing knowing I’m not alone. These photos are radiant!!!
    Im backpacking Costa Rica from December 30th to the 13th with university friends and we are definitely going to look into Sarah’s work. What a beautiful concept.

  3. Camille, this was lovely. You look stunning in your photos (I adore the ones of you facing the water and the ones with the loose white shirt) and you raise, as always, such profound and insightful questions about the nature of sexuality and self-acceptance. Thank you for addressing the idea that the beauty of others amplifies our own and thank you for your honest, heartfelt post. The candor you have with your readers is in part what makes you such an excellent blogger. Love & light xo

  4. I loved every word of this… you’re inspiring. You are beautiful as well! (&brave!)

  5. Gorgeous words and gorgeous girl!!

    “Often I wonder if I have any concept at all of what I even look like.”

    Isn’t that the truth? We completely distort ourselves in our own minds. Going to Costa Rica I actually felt the most beautiful I had maybe ever felt! Jungle magic I swear. Something about that laid back place, and people. When I got back and looked at my photo’s I felt that same sense of “Ugh! Next time I’m in a bikini lets loose 10 pounds” but that is so silly! I took the time to remember how i “felt” and realized that that’s what made my photo’s beautiful. It’s all in our heads! Its all perspective. Great post Camille!! Thank you for sharing :)

  6. I relate to this post far more than I’d like to admit. This post, your photos, and your spirit are brilliantly beautiful. Keep shining :)

  7. Absolutely stunning Camille! I started reading your blog a few weeks ago and can’t stop coming back for more. You are so raw and real with your emotions – it is truly a breath of fresh air in the blogging world.

    I’ve been thinking about this idea of beauty for a while now. I’ve been so fortunate to travel for a large part of 2014 and I’ve been living in Bangkok, where there’s a photo opportunity at every corner, but I’ve found that I don’t have many photos of myself to look back on. They’re all of other people, places and things. They could be anyone’s photos. I wanted to make a pledge to myself to get in front of the lens more in 2015. I want to remember myself as I am now, in all these beautiful places, in my 25-year-old prime. Flaws and all. But does that make me narcissistic? Am I feeding into an image obsession that is all so common in our photo-crazed world?

    It’s these conflicting ideas that have been weighing on your mind. Your post today just made me realize that it’s okay to want to feel beautiful. It’s okay to embrace that beauty and celebrate it and share it. And most importantly, it’s a reminder that there’s beauty in each and every one of us ~ flaws and all.

    xxx Amanda

    • weighing on my mind**

      typing flaws and all too 😉

    • Camille Willemain Says: December 10, 2014 at 3:26 pm

      Thanks for your thoughtful comment Amanda. I too have albums of entire countries in Southeast Asia where I don’t even have a single photo of myself!! Finally I started setting my camera timer and forcing myself to get on the other side. Let me know how it goes for you with becoming less camera shy :) xo

  8. This post was amazing! I agree and personally identify with so many of your posts regarding being free in every aspect of life and this post hasn’t fallen far from that tree. I see your pictures and I see a beautiful person inside and out. Society has told us what we should define beauty as but I believe that the mind and the connection we have with our inner selves is one of the most beautiful things that exists once we discover it and your words in combination with these excellent photos shows that you’ve been able to find that! Good luck on the rest of your travels and may your wanderlust never leave you! Blessings from a fellow American nomad! :)

  9. Flew down to Costa Rica 7 years ago to the Osa and have been Dying to go back ever since. I envy what you are doing. Wish I could do the same but have plans to travel later in life. Have fun and enjoy every min of it. We just followed each other on twitter so I will keep up with your travels. Im @Polskasausage
    Cheers!!!!

  10. So beautiful, Camille. Thank you for embracing your divinity and giving others the inspiration and courage to discover theirs. Sending you lots of love from Aotearoa xx

  11. This post touched me thanks to your beautiful words !!!

  12. Reading your blogs today have sealed the fact that I want to book the trip to Nosara in March. These pictures of you are breath taking and awe inspiring.. Your heart and mind are beautiful and strong. After 22 yrs of marriage ended I am now in the strong state mind to try to travel on my own. I would also love to have a freeing opportunity like these pictures.
    Thanks for your words of wisdom and advise.

    • Camille Willemain Says: December 30, 2014 at 1:00 pm

      Jill you are so welcome. Costa Rica is a phenomenal place to begin a journey not only of the world but of the self. <3

  13. […] Dare to bare it all? Feel empowered, love your body, and connect with nature on a whole new level by booking a nude, semi nude, or bikini photoshoot with Sarah Landolt. The experience itself is worth it, I felt such freedom and noticed a lasting sense of body acceptance afterwards, and the photos are stunning and very tasteful. I highly recommend a nude shoot with the Skin Deep Nomad even to the camera shy. Read all about my experience and see the photos here. […]

  14. You are beautiful, amazing, sexy as we all are if we don´t identify with our thoughts that tell us other way. I think many of us thinks the same way about ourselves.
    In our brilliant core we are all the same. When we can let go of our thoughts about how we should be, then the light will shine brightly to everyone.
    Keep on shining Camille :)

  15. I love all of your posts, but this one is so easy to relate to. And absolutely beautiful!

  16. Words can’t describe how beautifully written this is. It’s easy to forget that the things we say to people can potentially make or break their entire day. Kudos to you for your courage, beauty, and inspirational writing skills.

  17. Beautiful. Very brave. :)

  18. Amazing article. I’m glad I’m not alone on this.

  19. I am really happy to see there are no negative comments on this post! Beautiful post and beautiful photographs.

  20. John Barganier Says: April 16, 2016 at 1:36 pm

    My dream woman :)