Each of us has a story worth telling
and I believe a beautiful portrait doesn't need anything more than YOU.
After reading her story, I knew right away that she was the right fit for my Stripped Down Series. Miss H is incredible. Her story of pushing for more responsibility a male-dominated workplace is inspiring and her self-awareness and desire for self-growth is something we all could learn something from.
Miss H, In her own words:
“Working as an entertainment technician in the convention and hotel circuit can be a lot, especially for a 5’3” woman. Originally, I studied stage management and worked as a freelance stage manager for years in Los Angeles, but found myself searching for something else. I’ve always been confident in my ability to do everything I set my mind to, and one day I finally dared to ask myself, “Why can’t I design and learn about electricity, fixtures, and start painting the stage with light?” So that’s what I did. I found out that I’m actually good at it!
I’ve just decided to stop talking myself down and just freaking do it. I love what I do because it’s outside of what I’ve believed I should be able to do, and what most people presently believe or expect me to be capable of. I feel like a total badass working 65 feet up in the air on a boom lift wing doing what’s normally considered as a “man’s job”.
Like anything in life, there are ups and downs. Sometimes, I get treated as though I can’t do the same things a man can do. Sometimes, people will actually talk more slowly to me or act like I speak a foreign language. I used to feel the need to justify my actions or prove that I could do better than what was assumed of my abilities. But over time, experiences like this have shown me what I’m capable of and now I know that I don’t need to prove myself to anyone else. The acknowledgement or approval of others, or lack thereof, is no longer a concept that I get too emotionally involved with.
I’ve been building my emotional self-esteem and learning the power of positive self-talk for the last few years. In the past, I’ve dealt with codependency issues. I was in a long term controlling relationship where I was told who I was, what I could and could not do in my own home, and I was physically rejected almost daily without reason. I did not feel desired or wanted. I did not feel beautiful. In fact, I felt I lacked any sense of identity. I had to rebuild my emotional self-esteem in order for me to gain the strength to leave the relationship.
This new perspective only grew on my recent trip to Israel to study Judaism more intentionally. On a spiritual trek through the desert, I was advised by our group leader to “have an open struggle with God.” Since then, I’ve gone through an existential crisis recapturing my beliefs and dismissing others but also I’ve found great peace in being able to talk openly, if even to myself, and piece the world together in my head. This had brought a lot of calm to my life and has helped me have a better understanding of myself on a deeper level. Because of this shift, I am brave, confident, and more willing to explore encounters I wouldn’t otherwise engage in.“
“The next step on my journey is to build my physical self-esteem. I believe this is why I wanted to be a part of “Stripped Down” -- to get back to the basics. To nurture my own physical self-esteem.
When the day of my shoot with Marie finally arrived, I felt extremely "nervicited" . I left my house at 7 a.m. to drive two hours and have a stranger take photos of me in my underwear and nude. Generally speaking, I’m very uncomfortable being exposed in front of people I don’t have an intimate relationship with.
I walked into the shoot thinking that I paid money to make myself uncomfortable! That thought *should* have stopped me in my tracks, but the idea of pushing myself outside of my own comfort zone – calling my own shots -- and doing something like this for myself, nobody else motivating the decision, excited me. It terrified me. Ultimately, fearless.”
“It was definitely a day to remember. I felt amused, empowered, and happy. It was easy and natural to get to know Marie, who was hilarious and made me laugh most of my way through the shoot. Afterward, I didn't necessarily feel sexy or empowered at that moment, but I was happy with my decision to follow through with the photo shoot. Once I saw the photos, I was blown away. I started to feel more empowered about having gone through with this after seeing the images.
I LOVE what I do. I don’t tend to think about my appearance at work and my focus is more on the task at hand. I deal with chain motors and drive a boom lift 65 feet in the air; it’s a masculine job. My movements aren’t necessarily masculine, but I’m not the most feminine human in existence and boudoir is seemingly feminine. Even outside of work, I love being outdoors, hiking, climbing trees. I almost never wear makeup or do my hair. That's also partly why I felt this photoshoot was the perfect opportunity for me. I didn't have to put on a face or do anything I'm not used to. Being Stripped Down wasn't about me being a stripped down version of myself, it was about me being myself. It may have been out of my comfort zone to be without clothing, but I never felt like I was naked.”
“I didn’t realize what my body looked like, or that anyone could capture what Marie captured. Don’t get me wrong, I was happy with my body when I went into this; I just didn’t know what I could look like in a boudoir setting, I suppose. I’ve never looked at myself through that lens before and that’s altered my entire perspective.
I am enough, just as I am. “