**Disclaimer: Go no further if you don’t want to see mastectomy scars, my friends, but really, I promise it’ll be okay.
Last Saturday, I found myself half naked, posing in front of a camera. My momma warned me about things like this…
But no, I promise it was legit, and my underwear never left my bottom. You see, my friend and the official Lagemann family photographer, Chantel, did this amazing thing for me and kind of brought my sexy back. Out of the kindness of her heart, she offered me a free boudoir session in the middle of her full-on boudoir weekend. She said that she thought we could do something “really beautiful and lovely and sensual,” and she just wanted to bring me some joy. I was skeptical, but I went for it anyway. The result: meow.
But, first, let me back this train up a bit. Before you go backing dat ass up into a camera, there’s some formal maintenance to be done. And in my case, I had to face the reality of hair regrowth — in all the wrong places. That is how I found myself having a conversation about God and my purpose in life with a beautiful Polish woman while she was skillfully spreading my butt cheeks.
“So do you think God was trying to tell you something with this cancer?” she asked while applying hot wax inside my butt crack.
Umm…WHAT is she doing? Did she just put wax in my butt crack? I thought this was just a bikini wax! What exactly is a bikini wax?? I think I’m in over my head.
“Yes, I definitely do. I think this was His way of redirecting my life.”
God, help me now!
“That happened to me too, you know?” she said while spreading another thin line of wax in places to be unnamed. “When I was younger and still lived in Poland, I had an infection, and I thought I would die. It changes your life, and I think when God gives you a warning like that, you have to change.”
So yeah, prep for the boudoir session was fun and enlightening. I also had to find something to wear, and let me tell you, lingerie shopping without boobs is no fun. It’s just not. It’s one billion times worse than shopping for jeans and eighty four times worse than swimsuit shopping. I ended up taking Josh’s guitar with me out of sheer frustration, and I’m glad I did. Because this.
The whole experience was pretty amazing though, and not entirely what I expected. Chantel had mimosas waiting for us on arrival, and good call, my photographer friend. Alcohol was the exact right way to start this morning. There was also a perfect playlist, yummy snacks, take-home gifts, and a hair and makeup wonder worker, Kate. In general, the mood was cool, feminine, and fun.
The woman shooting before me didn’t mind if we watched, which really made me a little braver, like, “Yeah, why should I care? We’re all women.” But she was really, very beautiful, and I…well, I don’t have boobs. And my butt is kind of out of control. You know how you are self conscious about this or that about your body. Well, my this and that happen to be my rear end and my thighs. So much so that when I walk out of a room naked (It happens. You know, to the shower or something.) and Josh is around, I moonwalk out. I literally would rather moonwalk out of a room than have my husband look at my butt in the light of day. He thinks I’m ridiculous. I think I’m hilarious.
I tell you this to give you an idea of how nervous I was to strut that thing out in the open and not only let someone look directly at it (You’re not supposed to look directly at the sun, a Basilisk, or my bottom.) but also take PHOTOGRAPHS of it. When I spoke of my trepidation, “So I kind of have big butt and some cellulite back there,” Chantel retorted, “We all have cellulite. That’s what the blurring tool in photoshop is for!” That’s when I knew this was going to work. And hey, can I get one of those blurring tools to take with me to the pool this summer? That’d be great. kthanks.
Aaand after all that booty talk, I can’t show you any of those pictures, but believe me. They are good. Those are for my husband’s eyes only though. And for sexting my bffs.
I also have never felt very “flat and fabulous,” which is kind of a bullshit term in the breast cancer world for “Cancer took away my boobs, and I’m trying my hardest to be okay with myself as I am.” But I really am trying to do that. For me but also for my daughters. I can’t let them think I define myself by my breasts, or that they should when the time comes. I can’t let them think that a woman is only judged as sexy/confident/beautiful by her body. I have to show them that, while it’s okay for me to miss a part of my body, I know who I am, and it was never my breasts or my big butt or my hair or whatever it is that people LOOK at. And for the other women out there facing mastectomies, it really will be okay. Buuuut that didn’t make it easier to bare all. Chantel, Kate, the other ladies, and the whole vibe of the boudoir shoot did.
We laughed. Because when else does a friend say, “Open your legs just a little bit. A little bit more… Nope! Nevermind, close them!” or “Okay, I want you to pop your booty. Yeah, perfect! Just like that!”
It turned out to be a lot of fun. More important than that, though, was how EMPOWERING it was. I put it all out there, and by doing so, I somehow took my body back — the good and the bad. For the first time in a long time, I felt like a woman again. I felt feminine and sexy. Both of which are super hard to do with a buzz cut and a general lack of boobs. I felt like I was back in charge, and for that, I can never thank Chantel enough.
I left thinking, “Every woman should do that.”
And I really believe that.
I asked Chantel if she’s ever done one herself, and she said, “Oh no. I had twins. My stomach is a wreck.”
“Well, I don’t have boobs, and I’m doing it.”
**So I promise that Chantel didn’t pay me or bribe me with a lifetime supply of Reese’s peanut butter cups or anything to say any of this. I just really love her work, and if you are interested in a boudoir session or any other kind of session, you can find her at Breathtaking Photography on facebook or here on her website. Here’s a post she wrote about her boudoir sessions if you’re interested.
Also, she took my all-time favorite picture of Penny and me the night before Alice was born. <3 So, you know, you can keep your clothes on too if you want.