**viewer discretion is advised – pictures are at the bottom of the post**
The entire topic of cosmetic surgery is something I have been very quiet about on social media up until now. I want to make sure to clarify the following at the top of the post – I do not think all body image issues can be or should be solved by cosmetic surgery, and I am not “recommending” it to anyone feeling that way. I also DO NOT think that confidence belongs to one body type, specifically the one I acknowledge I have. I am trying to be as intentional as possible with what I’m sharing and transparent about the story behind it.
I have struggled with body image since I was in late elementary school. Something as simple as thighs flattening when you sit on chairs and not shaving your legs yet at 10, 11, 12 years old became a much bigger deal than it should have. This was around 2004 – 2006, also amid the popularity of Teen Vogue.
I had been able to make a lot of progress in the way of body acceptance over the years, but I want to make sure to note that it was not without a massive struggle looking in the mirror and with significant self esteem issues rooted in physical appearance that I carried into my early 20s.
Finally, at 25, I was in a spot where I could look in the mirror and overall I was happy & at peace with myself physically. I also knew myself well enough to know that there were certain things I would not be able to reconcile with mental work alone. So after years of sitting on whether I should go through with surgery I had wanted since my teens or just accept where I was, I made a big, well-informed decision.
I did my research on doctors, the potential risk of Breast Implant Illness, and talked to people I knew personally who had done the procedure. I highly recommend anyone who is seriously considering cosmetic surgery of any kind do these things. I am no doctor, though as a human who cares about other humans and knows I’m not alone in my struggles, I strongly encourage anyone who is considering body modification (beyond tattoos and piercings) to have a more comprehensive check-up with your primary care doctor first. I do believe Implant Illness is real, and having a thorough understanding of your personal baseline will help you identify any new symptoms. I also made the choice for myself that the potential risk there did not outweigh any of the reasons behind my personal choice to move forward.
I want to be as transparent as possible that I did need (yes, need) surgical intervention to reconcile my body image issues – I could not shake the feeling of not being proportional in my own eyes. Today I am overall happy, mentally healthy, and confident. I will never try to hide that my journey there included (but was not because of) cosmetic surgery. With *mostly* public social media profiles & this blog, I do not want anyone who may see my pictures to look at an image of me and potentially idealize anything without also giving them access to information about the story behind the picture, because I wish I had it when I was younger.
I had the original surgery in December of 2019 for myself & my own desires, and my only regret was not doing it sooner.
As I posted about on my personal Instagram page on August 17, I did an implant swap just over 2.5 years from my original surgery. It started off as a reconciliation of pain via correction of a pocket from a displacement that was sustained Christmas morning 2019 – 7 days after the original procedure. You might be curious why it took me so long to get a correction if I was in pain, and that is something I will not answer in the form of this post.
I always knew when I did a swap I would also go for larger implants, though I thought my swap would happen closer to 7-10 years from original surgery date. My original implants pictured below are silicone & 485cc each and I chose them because I was scared of the number 5 being placed in front and wouldn’t allow myself to seriously consider that proportion. With my swap, I chose 600cc implants, sticking with silicone. I am obviously only ~24 hours into recovery, but I will say, I was happy with my choice of surgeon both times (it was the same doctor), the nurse team was just as great as the first time, and this anesthesiologist was the best one I have had of all my surgeries.
So, where does boudoir fit in?
Personal History – ‘sparknotes’ version
Mid-February 2018 I did my first “boudoir” style shoot. I absolutely loved it, and the confidence it sparked in me was invaluable. Those pictures are some I absolutely cherish. My last shoot like that was in ~May 2018, and resulted in another set that I value highly in my self-love journey.
After that point, I took a lengthy hiatus from being on the “subject” side of the party, but I did do a small shoot from the photographer side for a close friend in April 2019 before she got married (this also helped push me to start seriously considering being a photographer on a bigger scale). Since then, Levi and I have shot our own couples boudoir, and I have done another shoot with another friend. A 0% interest credit offer on my existing credit card was the final push I needed to finally commit to buying a camera.
Back to 2020
I had a shoot planned around my originally planned July 2020 wedding that kept getting moved and eventually cancelled. When this marathon day was announced in July 2020, I jumped on it. With the divorce process starting in September of 2020, I considered backing out of the spot because I had originally justified it as part of the bigger wedding process that I “missed” due to COVID.
However, I realized that this shoot was something that I was passionate about. I had compromised and given up so many things important to me in the previous years that I should not have, and I was going to break that cycle. So in the end, I did the shoot for me, and I am beyond happy I stuck to it.
With all of that, I am absolutely proud of these pictures by @desertdarlingboudoir! I was feeling myself that whole session and Jade was PHENOMENAL to work with!