I like me better now.

 

A male acquaintance recently espoused the notion to some of us ladies that women hit their expiration date at 40. That after this date we will no longer be hit on, considered “hot” or turn any heads. Oh – and he confirmed I was not an exception to this rule. The fact that some men – that any man – thinks this way came as an even greater shock to me in light of my transformative summer boudoir shoot with incredibly talented Jen Rozenbaum, and appreciation and dare I say happiness with my 41 year old self that came along with it.  In my twenties or thirties, I would never have the self-interest or hubris to celebrate myself in that way.  And it’s that confidence and inner peace that make us beautiful.  So, to this acquaintance, I responded that women are attractive because of their spirit and their vibe which are ageless. And that in fact, I like me better now.   Image by Jen Rozenbaum (although cropped for public viewing), who I thank dearly for this experience.

 

3 Responses to “I like me better now.”

  1. Meredith

    Well said. Xo

  2. guadalupe perez

    Amazing Carrie! so true! celebrate yourself my dear

  3. Michelle

    I look and feel better than I did at 20 — ask anyone who knew me then, and judging from the number of men who show interest in me now, I dare say you’ve got at least another ten years in you. Men on the other hand … I can’t tell you how many I’ve met and thought were my age when they were actually in their late 30s or early 40s. #AgingDefiantly

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From Active Wear to Lingerie

A friend’s husband recently said to me, “I see all of these moms walking around in their pajamas with no make up… How do you get them to… ” At which point I cut him off and said, “take their clothes off?” Aside from pointing out that I don’t solicit, I told him that boudoir is not about the amount of clothes that you’re wearing – it’s about intimacy, vulnerability and truth. It’s about telling your story. It’s about embracing your femininity and sexuality, even though you walk around in active wear all day. It’s about being brave and about introspection and self-awareness. And it’s about recognizing what makes you beautiful unlike anyone else. So, as I told this hubby, while I don’t get these ladies drunk and drag them to my studio, I do sincerely and passionately encourage their journeys to self empowerment, and take great pleasure in observing the change in them from that day forward. Much love and appreciation to all the women that have let me share in this beautiful experience.

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Shamelessly Feminine: Adding My Experience to the Jen Rozenbaum Shamelessly Feminine Project

I have not written in a while, but I am so inspired this morning.  Inspired by women.  Inspired by all of our talents, obligations (chosen for us or by us), and our vast array of strengths and interests.

Inspired by the idea that dismissing a woman due to the fact that she holds many roles in family, workplace, and personal life is to sadly ignore her mind, her soul and her biology. Inspired to redefine life on a woman’s terms.

When you recognize that we are struggling to succeed professionally in a structure that is simply not conducive to women, the notion of an alternative acceptable work life culture is gloriously eye opening and yes, inspiring.

This return to my blog was spurred by a discussion thread that was started by a male colleague who is fixated on his time spent in the office and dismayed by what he perceives as a lack of work ethic and laziness in the staff that leave “early”. While I tried to bite my tongue, his obliviousness to the out-of-office obligations, priorities or passions that these “deserters” may have, caused me to do otherwise. Oh – and I left at 3:00 that day to take my daughter to ballet.

This is what Anne-Marie Slaughter refers to as the “culture of time macho” in her article that was widely circulated a couple of years back entitled Why Women Still Can’t Have it All. That is, “a relentless competition to work harder, stay later, pull more all-nighters, travel around the world and bill the extra hours that the international date line affords you… But more time in the office does not always mean more ‘value added’—and it does not always add up to a more successful organization.”

The article was my first eye opener into this alternative non-male dominated pro family universe. It spoke volumes to me – especially having been consistently criticized even as partner in a law firm for not being in the office enough once I had my first child, even though I had become more efficient and my productivity and fee income had increased.

The article is a must read, but states in part,

Ultimately, it is society that must change, coming to value choices to put family ahead of work just as much as those to put work ahead of family. If we really valued those choices, we would value the people who make them; if we valued the people who make them, we would do everything possible to hire and retain them; if we did everything possible to allow them to combine work and family equally over time, then the choices would get a lot easier.

My inspiration, however, goes beyond a woman’s commitment to her family, but to her spiritual and emotional self – which should be encouraged rather than punished. We are passionate multi-taskers, mothers, professionals, income earners, artists and friends, and indispensable to multiple people. We are women.

In the discussion thread I spoke of earlier touting the time macho culture, I was called out as a “fem nazi” (not by my colleague for whom I have great affection and who was by no means targeting women in his rant). While I’m not really offended by that term, I prefer shamelessly feminine, as poignantly coined by Jen Rozenbaum (Jenerations), New York based boudoir photographer, who shot these amazing images that you see here of yours truly. Jen, in her Shamelessly Feminine movement, urges women to stop apologizing for who they are.

http://www.jenerationsblog.com/2014/06/jen-rozenbaum-shamelesslyfeminine-starts-today/

Let’s stop apologizing and begin celebrating. How wonderfully liberating.

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Shooting 40 plus. When we honor it all.

I recently hit 40.  Heard a lot about how great the 30s was but was not completely sold, still struggling with who I was and what I wanted, and not completely comfortable in my own skin.  40 is when I started accepting my quirkiness and my far less than perfect life.  40 is when I realized that taking care of my mind and spirit was just as important as making sure the bills got paid.  40 is when I really started listening to myself.  It’s when I realized we need to honor it all.  That it all matters, and nothing is an accident, and there is no need to apologize.  For me, that meant I am a lawyer and now I am also a photographer and I will not make myself choose.  I think my sister, pictured here, a few years my senior, has known this for a while.  She enjoys a flexible teaching career, a my-kids-are-not-babies-anymore gym fit body and a busy social life.    She is an academic, a master of interior design, and has always had more close girlfriends than anyone I have ever known.  Comfortable with who she is and respectful of her wants and needs.  This is my sister, honoring it all.

3 Responses to “Shooting 40 plus. When we honor it all.”

  1. Meredith

    Well said. Xo

  2. guadalupe perez

    Amazing Carrie! so true! celebrate yourself my dear

  3. Michelle

    I look and feel better than I did at 20 — ask anyone who knew me then, and judging from the number of men who show interest in me now, I dare say you’ve got at least another ten years in you. Men on the other hand … I can’t tell you how many I’ve met and thought were my age when they were actually in their late 30s or early 40s. #AgingDefiantly

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From Head Shots to Hot Shots

 

Although we typically think head shots are necessary while glamour shots are a mere luxury, we place too little importance on building our self worth and confidence, which is what will get us where we want to be.  M did her head shots with me as a request from her company for their website.  But after we nailed those in about five minutes, we decided to have some fun and dig a little deeper.  She came to me out of obligation; she left discovering a new layer to herself.

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More Than Just Mom

It’s not that I don’t like shooting families and kids.  But for me, it doesn’t derive the same kind of gratification as reminding a woman, say a mom, that she is fascinating, powerful and beautiful unlike anyone else.  I believe there is great importance in bringing the attention of women, who play a multitude of roles, to their own needs, worth and inner beauty.

C.L. is a wife, a mom of a joyous energetic pre-schooler, a business owner, and so active in our PTA that my head spins just thinking about all of her thankless projects.  But the day she spent with me and my hair and make up artist getting pampered and photographed was all about her.  It didn’t take too long for her inner goddess to surface, creating beautiful portraits revealing the complex and sublime woman that she is.

In the weeks following, several of the moms from our preschool approached me expressing their pleasant shock that this was “the same woman who picks up —– from school everyday…”  And that is because she is so much more than that.

2 Responses to “More Than Just Mom”

  1. Meredith

    Well said. Xo

  2. guadalupe perez

    Amazing Carrie! so true! celebrate yourself my dear

  3. Michelle

    I look and feel better than I did at 20 — ask anyone who knew me then, and judging from the number of men who show interest in me now, I dare say you’ve got at least another ten years in you. Men on the other hand … I can’t tell you how many I’ve met and thought were my age when they were actually in their late 30s or early 40s. #AgingDefiantly

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