Other than home, there’s no place I feel more comfortable + alive than a Carolina shore – and even then, I’m not far from home.  Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve always loved being by the water.  I can stay on the beach from sun up until sun down and I soak up every second of it.  There’s something about the salty air that gives me a feeling of peace like no place else.  I can breathe deeper and think more clearly.
A couple of weeks ago, we went out to Sullivan’s Island in Charleston for a little impromptu evening shoot and I ended up loving the simplicity of these photos.  Messy hair and wind-blown, but I love the emotion that was captured in each photo.  They’re not only simple, but they’re raw.
Yes, we brightened and played with the shadows a bit, but they’re not retouched, not smoothed, not reshaped.  Some of them even make me a little uncomfortable – I don’t have the perfect waist line, I have cellulite on my butt, my eyes are always drawn to the scar on my neck, and I’m super self conscious of my thighs.  But you know what, we’re always our own worst critic.  When I saw these images for the first time, any feeling of uneasiness quickly passed and I just felt proud.  And comfortable in my own skin at 30.
In this world, more times than not, we get caught up in the highlight reel and the perfect backdrops or overly edited photos.  I’m guilty of it, too.  The mentality of comparison is always a hard one to overcome at any stage in life.  But the truth is, we’re all so fearfully and wonderfully made.  All unique, all beautiful in our own ways.  Our scars have stories to tell and our waist lines choose life most days.  Embrace it.  We need to give ourselves a little grace – love ourselves for who we are, where we are in life, and what we’ve overcome to get to today.  Let yourself rest in the fact that we all have flaws.  In fact, don’t just rest in them – celebrate them.  Perfection is not reality and honestly, I don’t even want it.  The older I get, the more I care about beauty that can be felt, not just seen.  Sure, I try to take care of my body – I want to be the best possible version of myself on the outside, but more importantly, the inside.  Focus on your heart.  Make that the most beautiful thing about you.
I’ll take real + raw over imitation any day – in every way.
This post was supposed to be about my 7 must-haves for the beach and I’ll get there later – this reminder felt much more important to share.  Send this to someone who needs to hear it today.  We’re so responsible for building each other up – let’s dive deeper than striving for the appearance of perfection.
I hope you all have a beautiful day and I’m so grateful you stopped by.  X.

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