Love You For YOU
With all of the photoshopping and editing tricks used today, an unrealistic standard of beauty has been embraced by our society. God created each of us to come in all shapes and sizes. But the often digitally enhanced images of "beauty" we see promoted in magazines and on TV can make it difficult for women to feel beautiful in their own skin. Especially after waving goodbye to our twenties, having kids and maybe even indulging in a donut or two.
So, two kids and many years of marriage later, one woman decided she would get all fixed up and have some pictures taken to give to her husband as a Christmas gift. She enlisted the help of boudoir photographer Victoria Caroline Haltom.
Victoria is a talented photographer, but also a wife and mother, who has made a career out of photographing women because she believes they are all beautiful and deserve to feel that way. She describes the wife who hired her for a shoot as being "mid-forties…a curvy, beautiful size 18" and the photographer says "she looked like a goddess."
But like so many women, this wife didn't see herself that way. She asked Victoria to use all of the popular photo editing tricks in order to remove what she saw as her imperfections: cellulite, wrinkles, stretch marks — the usual complaints from women who are used to being told that the ideal body should be free of all of these things. And Victoria wanted to honor the woman's request to "feel gorgeous just once." So, she spent hours editing and compiling a complete album of about 30 photographs.
But when the woman showed her husband the pictures, you might be surprised by his reaction.
Below is the full story, which includes an email from the husband. Victoria recently posted the email and backstory to her Facebook page, though she is understandably withholding the actual identities and photos for privacy sake.
The post is getting a lot of attention because of what the husband had to say, so please read on to see why. . .
Tonight I want to tell you ladies about a time I messed up really badly. It was back when I first started boudoir, and I had a mid-forties lady book my services at a GORGEOUS hotel in downtown San Antonio. She was a curvy, beautiful size 18. I thought she looked like a goddess, but as most women do, she had a request…
She came to me, looked me straight in the eyes, and said, “I want you to Photoshop all of my cellulite, all of my angry red stretch marks, ALL of my fat, and all of my wrinkles… just make it go away. I want to feel gorgeous just ONCE.”
So, I did exactly as she asked. We spent an hour and a half together going through many, many poses. I went home, made every last stretch mark disappear, smoothed out every dimple of cellulite, took away every wrinkle. I turned her into the epitome of what every woman dreams of being.
Christmas rolls around, and she gifts her husband a BEAUTIFUL hand tooled album with about 30 of her images. Three days later, I receive this email:
I am (blank)’s husband, ********. I am writing to you because I recently received an album containing images you took of my wife. I don’t want you to think that I am in any way upset with you….but I have some food for thought that I would like to pass on to you.
I have been with my wife since we were 18 years old, and we have two beautiful children together. We have had many ups and downs over the years, and I think…well, actually I KNOW that my wife did these pictures for me to “spice things up”. She sometimes complains that I must not find her attractive, that she wouldn’t blame me if I ever found someone younger. When I opened the album that she gave to me, my heart sank.
These pictures…while they are beautiful and you are clearly a very talented photographer….they are not my wife. You made every one of her “flaws” disappear…and while I’m sure this is exactly what she asked you to do, it took away everything that makes up our life. When you took away her stretch marks, you took away the documentation of my children. When you took away her wrinkles, you took away over two decades of our laughter, and our worries. When you took away her cellulite, you took away her love of baking and all the goodies we have eaten over the years.
I am not telling you all of this to make you feel horrible, you’re just doing your job and I get that. I am actually writing you to thank you. Seeing these images made me realize that I honestly do not tell my wife enough how much I LOVE her and adore her just as she is. She hears it so seldom, that she actually thought these Photoshopped images are what I wanted and needed her to look like. I have to do better, and for the rest of my days I am going to celebrate her in all her imperfectness. Thanks for the reminder.“
Ladies, I can Photoshop just about anything. But I encourage you to think twice about how much “altering” we do. Our loved ones cherish and adore us just as we are. This email was 100% real, and I cried like a baby with guilt for at least 6 months after that whenever I read it. I encourage you to embrace YOU just as you are!
Reading what this wonderful husband wrote brought tears to my eyes. Because that's what love and marriage is really about. Loving the one who's next to you for who they are, and cherishing each experience together. True love and true beauty have nothing to do with what's on the outside. The world's focus is on appearance, but just as it tells us in 1 Samuel 16:7, this is not where God looks to judge a man or a woman. It's about what is on the inside. God judges by a person's heart.
"Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight." 1 Peter 3:3-4
And here’s another inspiring story about the power of inner beauty.
Credit: Victoria Caroline Haltom
h/t: Sunny Skyz