When I opened Nola Pilates, my true desire was to bring Pilates to the masses. Over the last decade, my business has evolved and grown into a powerful community of diverse and strong women.
Unfortunately, one thing I can’t help but notice time and time again is the notion we are too busy to take care of ourselves, too busy to enjoy our own lives, too worried about how we look, too everything about everyone else with little concern left for ourselves. I’m guilty. I have a business to run, teenagers to raise, a home to take care of, a dog, and a husband who works out of the country most days. It’s a juggling act, and the last ball to drop is typically me, when I’m so worn out that I can’t even see straight.
So, when I was recently approached about doing a “Fabulous and 50” birthday photo shoot, I of course hesitated. First of all, I hate being in front of the camera. Yes, even despite the fact that my business is a very visual one, I’m a behind the scenes type of girl. I know that may be hard to believe because I work hard to inspire women to not be self-conscious, to be brave and not second guess their looks, and to pull from their inner beauty the confidence to put their outer beauty on display. It’s all fake news, and truth be told, most of my close friends will tell you I am most uncomfortable when in the limelight. As confident as I am in my business, I am equally self-conscious about my physical image.
Earlier this year, as I approached my 50th birthday, I made a promise to myself to no longer be held hostage to my definition of comfort and to put myself out there more often, living life to the fullest. I mean, I’m technically in the third quarter of my life, so better late than never. Despite the fact I would endure some pretty uncomfortable days leading up to the big shoot, I was determined to see it through. I was going to treat the opportunity as a job and focus on the fun aspects of the experience.
Then there was Beth Burris, my photographer, whose professional body of work would cause reason for anyone to believe they may not be beautiful enough for her to even take your photo. An added stressor, but I focused on the positive; including how blessed I was that she wanted to photograph me. Elizabeth Burris Photography
The day of the shoot was one to remember and so much more than I even could have imagined it would be. Beth has an innate talent for making her subjects feel at ease, even amidst the awkward poses and facial expressions. In that moment, I felt beautiful and carefree, two emotions I haven’t simultaneously experienced in a long time.
A few years ago, I read a blog about a mom who made the realization she was always behind the camera in her photos. She began to worry that her children would not remember her once she was gone. This was something that really resonated with me. At that moment in time, I pledged to myself try to take more photos with my kids, so when that day does actually come, the memories will remain. And not just pictures of themselves at a basketball game or winning an award, but pictures of our life together as a family, including me, their mother.
Throughout that day with Beth, I was constantly reminded how wonderful it would be to have photos of my own mother, letting it all go and enjoying life. I’m sure many of you would agree these photos don’t exist in our albums because our mothers had the same sentiment as many of us do today.
So in my fiftieth year, I hope to inspire you to get out there and get in FRONT of the camera, whether it be in your very own “birthday” photo shoot or just alongside your family in those candid shots of everyday life. I promise you no one will look back and be anything but grateful that you took the photo and that it’s theirs to treasure.
Cheers to Getting In Front of the Lens,