“My story lies deep down in my soul, and it is a part me I usually never show or share with anyone.”
Connecting with other people from behind the camera and being able to make them feel beautiful with my photos is one of my absolute favorite things about being a Columbia boudoir photographer. Today, I am excited to share with you Abby’s outdoor intimate portraits and her story. Abby has taken the time to tell us a little bit about her self-love journey, her life story, and her struggles with loving her body, and I wanted to share with you her words along with her beautiful portraits of her outdoor Columbia SC boudoir session. I want to go ahead and warn you; Abby addresses some heavy topics in today’s blog post, so if you find discussions about self-harm, anxiety, depression, or physical abuse triggering, please stop reading now.
If not, I hope you read until the end and soak up every word Abby has offered for us today; She opened up her soul for this blog post and moved me to tears with her words! Not only am I incredibly proud of these images, but I am also so proud of Abby for having the confidence to book an intimate portrait session with me and share her moving story with you today. I hope you enjoy!
Columbia Boudoir Photographer
I went out to eat with my sister, her newborn son, my father, and his wife a while ago. I ordered nachos, and my dad said in front of everyone, “You better eat that whole thing!” My heart instantly dropped. I was so embarrassed and hurt. He, and others in my life, were constantly saying to me that they need to see me eat.
These comments were nothing I wasn’t used to. I had always been thin and petite. I also had always allowed stress and my struggle with anxiety and depression to dictate my eating habits. While struggling with my mental health, my body and physical health would also suffer and show the signs of my struggle.
I responded back quickly to my father that day with an adamant, “OH, I am! ” But, it’s a memory that had stuck with me to this day; someone publicly highlighting my secret struggle.
Sweet, but sour.
As a young girl, my severe depression and panic attacks began to get much worse after I found myself in a toxic relationship. Man, did I love that boy… He was nice at first and really sweet, but things quickly turned sour. He was like one of those key lime pie cupcakes you get downtown Columbia from Cupcake Down South. You know the ones, right? Sweet, but sour.
He and I dated for almost two years. He and his brother were involved in many illegal activities, many of which I didn’t know about until after we started dating. By then, I had already fallen so hard for him, so honestly it didn’t bother me that much at the time.
After living together for some time while he was involved in various crimes, I received a call from his mother in a panic. Something had happened to him; something bad. I remember being shocked, worried and numb all at the same time. My boyfriend had been robbed at gunpoint in our home, and nothing was ever the same between us after that.
We moved after the break-in and attack into an apartment all our own, and that’s when the abuse began. It started with emotional abuse, just his words, but then it progressed and progressed past any sense of normalcy. It got harder and harder to stay, but I loved him and continually gave him endless chances to make things right.
Until one day, he punched me in the mouth. Hard. I remember the blood, the hardwood floor, and being crushed by what he had done to me. My heart was shattered, but I still convinced myself to stay. I felt worthless and ugly on the inside and the outside at that time. Who else would want me? Who else would love me if I couldn’t see anything to love in me?
A few months later, I decided decided to pack up all my stuff and leave. I wanted something better for myself, holding onto the hope that just maybe, I deserved something better. That decision and the aftermath of the trauma I endured did not come without repercussions. My childhood anxiety and depression transformed into a monster I felt I could never beat. I struggled for a long time to get myself together and forget the things I went through. This trauma triggered so much in me, and I began dealing with panic attacks and severe, numbing depression.
I began to struggle with self-harm and in July of 2016, I attempted to hurt myself very badly.
Thankfully, my attempt failed and months later, I’m now working as a makeup artist with one of my closest friends and taking positive steps on a daily basis to take care of myself.
My relationship with my body has always been rocky and unstable. I still have moments of self harm, I’ll be honest with you. I’m not afraid to share that with you today. Because, after going through what I have and coming out a stronger woman on the other end, I’ve learned that ending the stigma around mental health challenges is very important for every one of us.
These photos are a huge part of my journey to love myself inside and out.
I wanted to get intimate photos taken for a long time. I just never built up the courage or met the right photographer until I met Jessica Hunt. As with any field in the artistic industry, you have to have these vital qualities: talent, trust, professionalism, and the feeling that you are not strangers. Jessica makes you feel extremely comfortable in front of her camera. It’s like you’ve known her your whole life, and she showed ME the beauty within me that I thought didn’t exist.
These photos are a huge part of my journey to love myself inside and out. I was transformed into the strong goddess I always was deep down during my session. I just needed to find her, to realize she was there, inside of me the whole time. These photos helped me realize how beautiful, strong, and vibrant I truly am!
I feel beautiful no matter what anyone thinks today. Despite my past struggles with my health and my body image and the surgery I had last September that caused me to drop 35 pounds in 2 months, I can tell you today that I feel stunning. I feel differently about my body than I ever have before, and my boudoir photos helped me get to this spot in my journey to love and accept myself fully.
I know that I’ll still struggle from time to time with everything I’ve told you about here today, but after I saw the first sneak peak of my shoot, my eyes flooded with tears of joy. “Wow, thats me.” I thought to myself when I saw them for the first time. Seeing these images of myself, so full of life and happiness reminded me that I am beautiful. That I strong. That I am and can be healthy. That love and light radiates from my face and my soul.
These photos mean the world to me! I will treasure them for the rest of my life. Just the experience was enough, and to feel that I am enough means I’ve come so far in my journey to love myself unconditionally.
I feel better about myself than I have in years! Above all, I’ve started to accept myself for me. At the end of the day, I just need to love me for every part of me, because if not, I will never learn to love anyone else in a healthy way.
Through this session, I have learned how fearless, beautiful, strong, and worthy of so much I truly am. I am worthy of more than I thought previously to this step in my journey.
The fact that Jessica wanted to do this super amazing creative shoot outside with these stunning florals made me so excited and feel so special. I knew Jessica was the best around, and I only trusted the best with these images. Jess radiates with positive energy and makes you feel like you’re one in a million. She walked me through everything and asked if I was comfortable and okay with each new pose and change as we moved through the shoot. She also arranged to have Andrew with WAS Design Works come all the way out to this secret to-die-for location to create some ABSOLUTELY phenomenal floral designs! I felt like such a goddess wearing his floral creations!
Not only was my session fun, but Jessica also made be feel so visible. She truly made me feel fearless, extremely beautiful, and important. I felt seen.
My favorite part of my session was… Oh, I don’t know! I don’t have one! I loved every minute! If I had to settle on one moment, I guess the very beginning of my session, because even though I was nervous, Jess made me feel so wonderful!!! She had the most relaxed, excited vibe. The nervousness started to melt away instantly! Then when, Jessica started taking the first few frames, she was thrilled by what she saw in her camera and her compliments from the very first pose set my soul on fire!
Having Boudoir Photos Taken is the Right Choice
Whether you just want to feel extremely beautiful, take some sexy photos for your partner or are on your journey to love yourself unconditionally as I am, having boudoir photos taken is the right choice for you! Do it!! It is worth EVERY SECOND, because you will feel amazing during and after your session. If you have issues with loving yourself, this is a great way to introduce yourself to being comfortable with embracing your beauty. If someone doesn’t realize your worth or accept you, whether inside or out, then they are not meant to be in your life and you might just discover that during your intimate portrait session, too!
Through this process, I have learned how fearless, beautiful, strong, and worthy of so much I truly am. I am worthy of more than I thought previously to taking this step in my journey to love myself.
Columbia Boudoir Photos
I hope you truly enjoyed reading through Abby’s story and her experience today! Her Columbia boudoir photos are not only stunning, but also mean so much more to her and I than just a pretty portrait session. I genuinely LOVED photographing Abby and Andrew’s work, and I hope you enjoyed browsing my favorite frames from this Columbia SC boudoir session! Huge thank you to Abby for being so willing to share her thoughts with my readers. Being this vulnerable with strangers on the internet isn’t an easy thing, but I’m so thankful she felt safe and strong enough to do so!
Hair & Makeup: Pretty and Pinned
Photography: Jessica Hunt Photography