After months of being strapped for cash, I received news that I'd been chosen to train for a flight attendant position, thus catapulting my brand new relationship into a long-distance relationship all too soon.
Eventually, I made peace with the fact that God truly has bad timing (and a sick sense of humor) and decided that if I was going to partake in a long distance relationship, I needed to refer to my cardinal rule: Always keep your man satisfied, even when you can't be there to do so.
In that moment, my mind began racing, trying to figure out what I could do so he wouldn't miss me too much while I was gone. That's when it came to me: the idea to create a calendar filled with nothing but sexy (but tactful) pictures of me.
I searched all over Groupon for a good deal and even better reviews. I wasn't stifled by fear, nervousness, or even sadness; I was enthralled. Only minutes later, I found Intimate Impressions, a small photography company, specializing in boudoir photography in the New York City area.
The days leading up to it were exciting but intense, as I ran around collecting props like his favorite tie, shirt and whatever else I could get my hands on from him, which was difficult because he didn't know much, only that I needed this stuff for a photo shoot. (Trying to be fancy on a budget is no fun, believe me.)
However, I was so fixated on the other details like what to wear and how to style my hair, that I hardly took the time to consider the awkwardness of being photographed in the nude, especially given that I'm naturally awkward. I definitely didn't need to add to it with awkward circumstances, too.
Much to my surprise, those feelings faded as I arrived at the shoot. It was fun and I was able to muster up some sexy — a major accomplishment in my book.
Although I was completely out of my comfort zone (not always a bad thing), the experience provided my ego with quite the treat. And frankly, I recommend it to every woman.
And if you still need convincing, here are 7 ways the boudoir shoot provided me with an odd sense of personal fulfillment:
1. It gave me a major confidence boost.
The more obvious one, I know. However, there were moments where my awkwardness peaked during my session. For the most part, my "inner goddess" craved the attention of the camera more than any selfie (or I) could've revealed. I found that the demand for more face (and sometimes ass) engaged me that much more; it helped me find my inner model.
I guess the best way to put it is like this: they forced me to believe in myself.
All my initial doubts were stroked away, spoiling my inner goddess. I finally stopped saying how awkward I was and gave him all the "face" that he requested (as much as I knew how, anyway) that I practiced on my phone so many times before. Yes, duck lips and all.
2. It improved my body image.
It changed the way I view my body, in that I typically would've dedicated months in the gym before doing something like this — something that showed off so many areas of insecurity. But with this, I didn't. And for that reason, I admire myself and body all the more.
3. It helped me define what "sexy" really means, at least for myself.
During my shoot, I learned that like many things in life, sexiness is subjective. The less I told myself I was awkward, with the help of the photographer, the more comfortable I felt wearing my awkwardness as a badge of honor — not shame. I learned that awkward can be just as sexyas any other trait once you own it.
4. It brought better sex into my relationship.
My confidence transferred over to the bedroom. I was still on cloud nine when I left my shoot and my guy added to this ego trip after he saw a few of the proofs.
I felt like Mario when he gets those mushrooms that make him bigger, stronger, and all around better. Well, let's just say this photo shoot was my mushroom.
I was doing things on a normal day that I'd be far too shy to do. For the sake of our sex, I wish I could have a shoot once a week. Much to my dismay, that's not realistic.
5. It made me feel like a life-sized Barbie.
I got to play dress up by changing my makeup, hair and nails, for what I consider a fairly ordinary day. I mean, really, I didn't know it was possible to feel that "Flawless" on a weekday.
But this feeling was a great reminder that these are things we, as women, should treat ourselves to every couple of weeks.
6. It turned me into my own role model.
As humans, we look to other people for our #BodyGoals, and sometimes, this means hanging them as our screen saver. But now, I have no role models other than myself. I literally am my own screen saver and gym inspiration now.
7. It was the ultimate gift.
Although, in the beginning, this was a gift for my beau — more than anything — it wound up being an even greater gift to myself. I say it was a gift because it taught me so much about myself — things I never knew I could do or be.
Originally appeared on YourTango.