Go Love Yourself

From Bible Study to Boudoir Model, and Back Again... Sort Of...

From Bible Study to Boudoir Model, and Back Again... Sort Of...
"I have been there, girls." 
Her southern drawl was thick but beguiling
Her highlights made me feel like I could trust her. 
Her Houston stage was familiar but huge, like a living room and
a megachurch had combined. 
 

I have made my bed in hell. 

Only, "hell" came out as "hey-elllle" and she was not speaking figuratively.  
 
I was trying everything that I could think of to make my relationship work. 
I was young, in love, married, and convinced that if I worked hard enough I could fix it. 
I was the good girl. We were the couple in church who had followed all the rules. 
I bought her Bible studies. 
I wrote in my journal, 
 
What is my biggest fear?
That's easy: 

Getting divorced.

Why? 

Because it would mean I couldn't think of anyone besides myself. 

Because it would mean I had failed. 

Because it would mean at my core I must be

 

selfish,

bad, 

too much to handle. 

 

I remember that girl so vividly. She was anxious as all hell, desperately clinging for answers and trying to "good student" her way into a passionate relationship. Filling out forms and praying, trying to fix it. Terrified to ask questions about

 

what she wanted.

what would feel good. 

what kind of relationship SHE craved. 

 

Fast forward to just a few years later

 

and I'm no longer afraid of those questions, or any questions. In fact, I'm no longer afraid of my body, my hunger, my desire, or of the vulnerability that comes from a real romance. 

 

I see now something I didn't see before:

that girl was terrified of getting what she claimed she wanted. 

 

A man who wanted her, for real.

(Terrifying. What if he finds out who I really am? He'll head for the hills.) 

 

A relationship where we shared our biggest wants & deepest fears.

(WTF. That's way too scary.) 

 

A sense of self that can withstand any breakup, any breakthrough, any breakdown, because it doesn't come from the outside, it comes from a deep, passionate inner core. 

In between, I tried it all. I left my marriage in a blazing, messy fire. (Not necessarily what I recommend.) I rebuilt my life piece by piece, uncovering who I was and what I wanted, with the help of heart-healing tools, boudoir photos, and a lot of time journaling.  

The thought that that girl from so many years ago would someday be so at ease in her skin that she would be modeling in lingerie for photographer friends?

Laughable. 

But, once we begin to strip away our shame, fear, and baggage...

Once we start the work of uncovering our passion, 

we emerge. 

 

Radiant. Sexy. Whole. Free. 

 

I met the love of my life, yes. 

But, more importantly,

 

I became someone that I loved. 

 

That girl who was so longing for the rulebook, for the answers, so afraid to make her bed in hell? She is still deeply connected to God, deeply longing not to hurt anyone, and eager to take notes... but, she also grew up: into a woman who knows herself, and isn't afraid.  

 

And that's what made real love, the kind I had always wanted, possible. 

 

 

Kimberly Pendleton

Kimberly Pendleton is a women’s studies professor and women’s empowerment coach. Her work frees us from sexual suppression and enables us to heal from painful pasts. In one-on-one coaching, online courses, and in-person workshops, working with Kimberly offers clients beautiful experiences to create fulfilling, passionate relationships with others & with themselves. Kimberly received her MA from Yale, her PhD from GW, and coaching training from Dragontree Life Coaching & the Tantric Institute of Integrated Sexuality. She has also learned quite a lot about self care from her two cats. Find her at yourpassionuncovered.com.