Warning: The Following Contains Nudity

Now that I have your attention, that’s actually not true. Nudity is anything but contained here.

Here’s a sneak peek of a little project I’m working on- an exposé if you will.

 * Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13


If you would have told me a year ago that a Boudoir photoshoot would be in my future, I would have launched into all the reasons why that would never happen. Actually, no, I would have asked you what a Boudoir photoshoot was. I honestly had no idea. 

I think the only way I would have considered it is if I was dating someone who wanted me to. Because really, why else would anyone want to share nude photos of themselves unless out of a desperate need for attention or vanity?

So clearly there’s been a dramatic shift in my perspective. There’s no boyfriend in the picture (literally and figuratively). And yes, I did it for attention, but more to be heard than seen. Because whether we like it or want to admit it, sometimes we have to be seen to be heard.

As far as vanity goes, that’s precisely why we’re here- to dismantle the assumption that our desire to exhibit our bodies comes from excessive pride or need or validation, versus a celebratory expression of our sexuality. More importantly, we need to sever the inextricable ties that still exist between our sexuality and shame.

* Note: I define sexuality as the array of characteristics our gender embodies, including, but not limited to, our sensuality, intellect, courage, empathy, resilience, creativity, intuition, and yes, our power.

This all started as a revelation I had while working on a women’s empowerment project. I would have previously thought this to be a contradiction- how can women be empowered when they are presenting themselves as sexual objects?

But I thought about what the word empowered means. To empower someone is to help them gain strength and confidence by reclaiming their rights and taking control of their lives.

So how are we objectifying ourselves if we decide, on our own volition, to honor the physical form we were born in? No, we are not our bodies. But our bodies are essential for becoming who we are. We can’t exactly work to expand our minds, cultivate our talents, find ways to challenge ourselves and overcome physical and mental hurdles if our heart stops beating.

But I don’t think anyone is arguing against honoring our bodies. It’s just when we choose to do so by showing our bodies that the celebration becomes problematic.

I realize this isn’t a new phenomenon. We have been enduring, resisting, and rejecting rules and restrictions imposed on our bodies for centuries. But even when the “collective we” acknowledge how antiquated this obsession with covering our bodies is, women are still being judged and shamed when they reveal “too much.” And let’s be honest, the majority of those doing the shaming is women.

So I ask you to ask yourself: if looking at these photos makes you uncomfortable, ashamed, or embarrassed, whether for me or just in general, why is that? Where does that come from?

I had to ask myself this question to realize that it was my shame about my sexuality that made me scrutinize the motivation of women posing or dressing in a “provocative” manner. It was my shit, not theirs.

Until relatively recently, my body was always a source of shame. I was either too provocative or too prudish. If I was too thin, I was competition. If I wasn’t “thin enough,” I was undesirable, and not just physically, but in every capacity. 

These beliefs were so entrenched at such an early age, the battle against my body started before I even hit puberty. When my body did start to change, it became an all-out war, and there was no escaping. I was attacked at home, at school, and by all the same messages every girl receives from the media and society as a whole.

This belief that my body defined me and how I used and expressed it was shameful– no matter what I did or didn’t do– destroyed my confidence, thwarted my potential, and obliterated my power.

It has taken me over three decades to realize that my sexuality was not my enemy, is not my enemy. It is, in fact, an untapped source of power.

So this is my declaration, for all of us to reclaim our power. Anyone who has been shamed, judged, humiliated, exploited or abused, we deserve to express ourselves fully, unabashedly, knowing we are invaluable, inside and out, and perfectly flawed.

We are all works of art- rich with texture, radiant colors, and an irresistible shape, all perfectly orchestrated to reveal the complexity of our minds and the depth of our spirits.

It’s time to own it.

No more hiding. No more self-loathing, playing small or resigning ourselves to saran wrap and spanks. It’s simply time to embrace our bodies- every curve, fold, and imperfection- be bold with our desire, demand pleasure as our inherent right, and stand our ground until it’s understood: SHE COME FIRST!!! (Men, for the love of women, PLEASE read this book!!!)

And we must eradicate the deeply entrenched belief that we can’t be smart and sexy, that we have to repress one to be the other. F*ck that.


Denny’s Magic

Initially, I was set on hiring a female photographer. But when I saw Denny Fenbers’ work, I was all in. His photos are works of art, which is exactly how he made me feel- like a muse inspiring creative expression, not an object being exploited by someone’s gaze.

There is something transformative that happens when we are completely exposed and liberated from the power we give our reflection. I was no longer reduced to my imperfections. I was the essence of the bold, playful, uninhibited girl I lost when I let my scars define me. And she felt stunning, almost ethereal, teasing the light and dancing with the shadows that shaped my silhouette.

It was a magical experience that can’t be stripped down to nudity or vanity. It was a chance to celebrate the qualities that make me beautiful that have nothing to do with my body- which I personally think is the least intriguing thing about me.

I’ll leave it at that for now and linger in the memory of my experience, mainly to distract myself from the sheer terror of releasing these photos into the ethers…

 Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?
 – Maya Angelou

2019-12-06-163045-6564 med

 

2019-12-06-173232-6641 med

Boudoir.Woman.Up.

Boudour.back.Revised

31 thoughts on “Warning: The Following Contains Nudity

  1. Kudos Brooke on deciding to experience this and find empowerment in the process. You are a beautiful woman inside and out. I like smart and sexy. 🙂 They look good on you, plus you clearly work out, and take care of yourself, so why not be empowered to take photos. I’ve considered being on the other side of this process taking photos like Denny. Thanks for your courage to share these. HNS…

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks for having the courage to respond…I think I shocked people out of their words! 😳 I think you would be amazing with this genre! You have such a unique, artistic perspective, which is what distinguishes the creative, classy photographers from the not so creative and classy. There are more women than you think who would jump at the chance!!!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Pride in your decision to stand for your beliefs. Pride in the hard physical work you’ve obviously endured. Pride in cheering others to see beyond the superficial. I applaud your strong constitution and visionary ideals.
    (Nice abs.)

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Brooke. Dear god. YOU LOOK FUCKING HOT AND BEAUTIFUL AND SEXY AND STRONG AND CONFIDENT AND I AM TOTALLY BLOWN AWAY. Gahhh. I am utterly gobsmacked, awed and RIDICULOUSLY proud. (I may also be a wee bit jealous of your ass. 😬 I’m squatting barbells and ship anchors starting tomorrow.) You have faced unrelenting adversity, but your tenacity keeps driving you forward and through. This, my friend, is a show of force. A license to be uninhibitedly proud of your body and who you are. An unwavering amen to speaking boldly about desire and the pleasure you deserve, without apology. And a fuck you to anyone that dares to shame you. I hope that whoever’s sword you hold next has read that book! You deserve that and then some. Keep being awesome, B, and never forget your worth.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Your comments are poetry. Please finish your book so everyone can understand what is missing in our word!! My ass is hard-earned and my body is also battered and bruised. This was my opportunity to honor it, but also a declaration to stop obsessing about it. I won’t always look like that chiseled badass, but what lies beneath is a fierce goddess rising to the surface, her own sword in hand…ready to clear paths instead of slaying imagined dragons. Love you fiercely.

      Liked by 3 people

    • Oh, I do hope you do it. It truly is so empowering. And thank you for the kind words. Denny, the photographer is extremely talented and deserves much of the credit for the outcome. But yes, I have worked hard to earn those muscles. 😉 Thanks for taking the time to read and comment, and I love that I provided some inspiration for you!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Dude!!! Your comment was in my spam folder! Wtf is up with WP? Our tribe has been widdled down to so few and now it’s targeting my two favs!! HEADS WILL ROLL!!! This melted my heart, especially coming from you. And I mean that. I think you know how terribly UNCOMFORTABLE this was/is for me to do, even though it was/is incredibly liberating. This life- a perpetual maddening and beautiful contradiction.
      Post Script: I tried to comment on a couple of your blogs, like effing novels in the making, and they wouldn’t send or seemed to just evaporate. See if they are in your spam folder!!! Hugest hug and truly have missed you!!

      Liked by 1 person

      • No way! Dammit! I have actually written Askimet about my recent excursions into spam land and they have told me (as of a few days ago) that they have “solved my problem.” Always message me here or on FB if you don’t see your comment appear and I will immediately explore. I just checked and there was nothing in my pending, spam, or trash bins. When did these alleged novels in the making fail to post?!

        I appreciate you letting me know, and appreciate the bravery and power in this post. You are an awesome human, one of the finest ever crafted, and I’m a lucky fella to have gotten to know ya!

        Liked by 1 person

      • That was very beautiful to hear, especially coming from you. I feel exactly the same.
        It was a few posts back- some long-winded political tangent. The powers that be probably deleted it. The other one was in response to your New Year’s post. They didn’t even seem to send, though, they just disappeared. I’m going to start saving long comments in a doc so as to avoid future meltdowns. Hugest hug to you, Tom!! You are a gift!

        Like

  4. Brooke, you are so beautiful inside and out, and I love that you made yourself vulnerable and empowered yourself at the same time. These photos are stunning. Your body is stunning! I know that bod did not come without an awful lot of hard work. I love that you are working on all aspects of your being. And I enjoy your writings and how you open everything up like a can of worms! You have inspired me now. I’m about one week post op from my double mastectomy and I’m cancer free. Still need a couple weeks of radiation which will start once I’m healed, about March 1. Then it’s biking season. Can’t wait to take you on a tour. Love and hugs to you my friend. Thanks for sharing your journey!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Monique!!! That just gave me chills!! If anyone is inspiring, it’s you, my girl. You are a force of nature! I appreciate your words, truly, as a fellow writer and friend, they mean the world. And yes, I worked hard for those muscles- a decades-long endeavor that has allowed for a lot of rewarding adventures…and I figure you’re only 45 and fabulous once, so I might as well celebrate it! 😉 I’m absolutely on board for a tour! It’s ridiculous that I haven’t joined in yet, so this year it’s happening. Love you to pieces and can’t wait to see your gorgeous face!

      Like

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