Yesterday, I stepped out of my comfort zone.
I’ve done professional photo-shoots before. I’ve been doing them since I was probably 8 or 9 years old.
But this was different.
This shoot wasn’t something I was working for other people. I wasn’t representing a company, an artist, or a show. I wasn’t restricted to behave any type of way. I didn’t have guidelines, spoken or unspoken, about how I should or shouldn’t look or pose. Mostly, I worked with people that either personally wanted, or professionally needed, me to keep things PG rated.
Not to say that this has ever been an issue for me, but now there wasn’t going to be someone drawing the line for me about what was acceptable. I’ve never had the opportunity to draw that line for myself before. I’ve always had a slightly rebellious personality; so subconsciously, it was all of a sudden time to decide how far I wanted to push this freedom. I didn’t have a problem with my PG rated box I was living in. It was comfortable, easy, and familiar. But now there are new places to go, and I have no gauge of what’s comfortable for me there.
There are a lot of people that I’ve worked with, that can tell you how uncomfortable I am with very sexual dances, or attracting that type of attention in a public way. Yes, I can be super sexual, but only on my terms. Putting that out there for people I’ll never even meet to see, is hard for me. Putting myself out there like that for people I’m not intimate with, but work with and see a lot, is hard for me. I’ve done my best when I’ve been in those situations to come out of my shell because I don’t see anything morally or ethically wrong with it, it’s just not something I’ve been comfortable with personally.
Yesterday, the photo-shoot I did became pretty sexy. It fit the theme, and I was fully clothed the entire time, and if I saw anyone else’s photos looking like mine did, I would have said how great they looked. But from the second I saw them, and maybe a little bit during taking them, I questioned them. How do I really feel about putting pictures of me out there for criticism? How do I feel about the potential unwanted sexual attention that could result from them?
And then, I decided to post them, even though I wasn’t sure how I felt about it. I think I was truly curious to see the outcome. If this is something I’m considering doing, I need to firmly decide where my line is. Because since I don’t see anything wrong with sexy, or even nude, photos, I can easily be swept up in the moment and cross the line of what I’m comfortable putting out there. So, these are borderline for me. I decided to test the waters.
As expected, comments were left by guys I didn’t know, but nothing gross or crossing a line. I wasn’t DMed at all, let alone by guys trying to flirt. I got all encouraging feedback from family and friends.
But a few people made passive-aggressive negative comments, and there was hesitation in the voice of one or two people’s whose opinion I respect. One or two of the poses were borderline for them too.
And even though it’s irrational, I felt a tiny bit of offense at that hesitation in their voices. I was asking for their honest opinion, because I wanted it. I value their thoughts, and beliefs, and even though we don’t always see eye-to-eye, there’s always a respect between us. And I did respect what they were saying. It was constructive-criticism: a compliment. But secretly I was hoping for them to say I was still within the line. I wanted them to draw that line for me, because it’s easier that way. But they can’t do that. There isn’t a line anymore. There are only opinions and comfort levels.
My opinion is that there’s nothing wrong with the pictures I took. My comfort level right now is this. These photos are my line. They’re borderline, so anything more would be too much for me. I decided to proudly share my work from yesterday. Maybe in the future that line will move for me, in one direction or the other, but as of now, this is it.
So people can make comments, they can call me names, and they can act like these photos lower my value. They can pick the photos apart, and make fun of my flaws. They can act like I need attention to think something of myself, or that people are misplacing their compliments and I don’t actually look good.
But all that means is you’re noticing me. You feel a need to ‘put me in my place’ because you think I’m rising above it. You can act like I’m deluding myself into thinking higher of me than I actually am.
But I noticed that all my life, people want to push and pull me back down any time I start making moves to something more… that just means I’m growing, and it threatens you. Experience has taught me time and again that those threatened by my growth are those that feel like my competition. Well, I love competition; I’ll either see you at the top, or from the top – the decision is yours, but either way, I’ll be up there.