As a Nashville Boudoir Photographer, I meet a lot of women who are interested in booking a session with me, and then when it comes down to it, they hesitate. They don’t know that I completely understand that hesitation.
Did you know I love a bold lip? Surprised? No? You probably could have guessed.
I love a bold lip, because I feel bold when wearing it.
When I see a new color, especially a new unusual color, I’m drawn to it. Purples, blues, browns, grays catch the eye. And wearing them makes me feel unstoppable.
Until, that is, I try to step out of the door. That’s when I hesitate.
That’s when I always hesitated, because that’s when The Eyes show up. The Eyes saw my lipstick. They took me in, looking from head to toe, and fixated on the new purple-grey color I’d smeared over my lips. They whispered, they sneered, they judged. The Eyes were mean, The Eyes were mocking, and The Eyes were completely in my head.
The Eyes are always watching, judging, and pointing. They never miss a chance to tell you that you’re wrong.
Every new thing you try, The Eyes see it, and they bully you out of trying it. Not because there is actually danger in trying new things, but because The Eyes are scared. They are scared of forging ahead of where you’ve already been. They don’t like taking chances. They don’t like risks. They know that you’ve only survived what you’ve already been through, and everything else is a gamble. They are bullies because they want to keep you safe. Safe from completely pretend and made up threats.
I hesitated when I had to apply for my first job, I hesitated when I tried spin classes for the first time, and I hesitated when I had my first boudoir experience.
The Eyes will keep you safely where you are.
I’ve been thinking about comfort zones a lot lately as I’ve read Jen Sincero’s You are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life. And the truth is, I have (we all have) been fighting our comfort zones since we were children.
Whenever I wanted to try something new, The Eyes weighed in first. I got a new hat, a new lipstick, wanted to try a new fashion trend. And The Eyes stopped me in my tracks on my way out the door. One day, it was for a hat, such a subtle little hat, I thought, there’s no way The Eyes would stop me here. I put it on; I looked cute. And I was determined to walk out the door with it on. As soon as I stepped out the front door, the eyes swung over, and stared their big judgey stare at me.
The Eyes told me everything they thought other people would think. That I looked terrible, that I looked out of touch, that I looked fat (come on The Eyes, it’s a hat for goodness sake). A sudden lack of courage overwhelmed me, and I immediately regretted putting on the hat to begin with. I tried to roll back my mistake, but I couldn’t. I’d locked my keys inside my house.
I had no choice but to continue on as I’d started.
And do you know what happened?
That day was magical.
The Eyes predicted that I’d draw attention to myself. That people would see me and stare. The Eyes were right. But only about that.
Not only did no one tell me how I could never pull that hat off. People liked it. People loved it. I had women coming up to me all day with compliments. I had people stopping during the middle of their busy day to tell me they thought it was beautiful. I had people telling me, “That hat is so cute! I love it. I wish I could pull something like it off.”
Did they know how much I wished I could pull this hat off?
Again and again, I realized the only reason I was getting these compliments, gaining the attention of people who’d never stopped to talk to me before was because I had made myself wildly uncomfortable.
That’s when I learned, the discomfort doesn’t last. The feeling is temporary. And really, all you need to pull something off is the willingness to try.
But The Eyes still come.
The Eyes were there the day I told my parents that I’d decided to become a Boudoir Photographer here in Nashville. They told me my parents would disapprove, would think I was crass, and would judge me for it. I went into the conversation expecting something along the lines of shock or disapproval. But The Eyes were wrong. My parents loved the idea, they said it was perfect for me.
Every time The Eyes try to stop me, I end up with more compliments for not listening to them. My butterflies go away, leaving a bolder, more confident version of me behind.
I get confident.
I get excited.
I’ve learned that every time feel those eyes, they are spewing lies into my head. When they tell me I can’t, I remember that I don’t know that until I try. I just have to get off my ass and get past the front door.
I am learning to live wildly uncomfortable and I am loving it.
So, let’s make a pact.
Let’s make a pact to get wildly uncomfortable.
You know what I mean. That gut gnawing, excuses making, mind-changing kind of discomfort that you feel any time you stretch out of your comfort zone.
You can do it. And you can do it Now. Don’t let The Eyes make excuses; don’t let them tell you their lies. Make a pact with me to be wildly uncomfortable. And let’s step boldly into the woman we all want to be!