Bold Beautiful Perfect: Laurie
“I’ve come a long way. I’ve changed my internal language and shifted a lot of stubborn, unhappy beliefs. I can now look back at those photos and see a beautiful girl who has turned into a beautiful woman.” – Laurie
What are some impactful moments that affected the way you saw your beauty?
When I was very young, a friend of my mom’s looked down at me and said, “You’ll probably be pretty one day.” While she may have been trying to be encouraging, it hit me hard. I had my daddy’s eyes and smile. I looked just like him, and I thought he was so handsome! But my brain took her comment and translated it to, “You’re not pretty.” Interestingly, I continued to see my dad as a very handsome man. But from then on, every school photo caused me to cry. I felt like I was the only person in my group of friends who wasn’t pretty. Even if they tried to tell me that my photos were great or I looked beautiful in that outfit, I couldn’t believe it. Even when I was in relationship with others who affirmed that I was beautiful, it wouldn’t stick.
Another time, a good friend told me that I was very pretty when I wore makeup. You can imagine how that affected me given the last experience I mentioned.
However, I’ve come a long way since then. I’ve changed my internal language and shifted a lot of stubborn, unhappy beliefs. I can now look back at those photos and see a beautiful girl who has turned into a beautiful woman. She’s definitely me! I can see myself clearly now, where I truly couldn’t then.
How did you come to understand your inner beauty?
Realizing my own beauty was a process that took a lot of reflecting and rewiring. I started to get curious about what I saw in others that was beautiful. I began to recognize my own judgement about myself and asked, “where is that coming from?” I did a lot of personal development work on my own, and then later in my journey to become a Professional Coach. I listened to my partner, kids and friends – really listened – and processed new information about myself.
An important turning point for me was when my daughter told me that my critique of my body was impacting her feelings towards her own body image. I hated hearing that!
My body changed as I grew older, and weirdly, I began to recognize that the body I was complaining about was incredible! How could I have become so wrong about myself? I had so many limiting and false beliefs, fears, and I listened to external voices instead of my internal one. Once I unlocked and released some of the baggage I was carrying, I could start the journey toward feeling more beautiful.
This project is all about inspiring women to see their beauty. What parts of your story can you share to help women to understand their own beauty?
Now I know that beauty is so much more than the way I put on makeup or the shape of my body. There is beauty in my eyes – my daddy’s eyes. I see how handsome my son is and how beautiful my granddaughters are, and I know from looking at my childhood photos how much they look like me! I am shaped a lot like my grandmother and she was the BEST at caring for me, loving me and spending time with me. She showed me beauty in herself and in the world that I wouldn’t have seen with anyone else. People will remember me for the experience they had with me, not for the way I looked or whether my teeth were all straight or whether my face was wrinkled. My expression of my full self is where my beauty begins and sustains.
Is my internal perception of my beauty always perfectly present and easy for me? Absolutely not. I still have days where I am internally and even externally critical of myself. The difference is the internal noticing and the commitment to putting those thoughts aside. I am not my critical thoughts. And I am happy to say that as I approach this next birthday (entering my sixth decade!), I now know that that my mom’s friend was partially right. I am not only pretty now, I am BEAUTIFUL.
Tell us about your experience with the photo shoot.
For me, the photo shoot was a milestone. Coming into myself as a nearly 60-year-old woman has been quite a journey. This photo shoot marked that for me in a way that was timely and serendipitous.
To be selected was the culmination of a desire I’ve had for a long time. I’ve always wanted a photo shoot with Brandi! However, I put off even looking into it, thinking I didn’t have time or that I would do it next year. When I saw the Bold Beautiful + Perfect project on Facebook, I applied without a second thought! I didn’t think carefully about the answers; I just responded from my heart. When I found out I was selected, I was so excited that I did a happy dance right on the spot! (I am a regular happy dancer when good things happen to me.) I texted my family to tell them right away, and, of course, they were truly excited for me too! It was a heartfelt experience from that first step to the last.
Brandi and her team created an experience for me that was so much more than having photos taken. From the moment I heard from Heather to the moment I walked out of the studio, I felt cared for and pampered. I felt at ease and truly beautiful. I laughed and shared my essence with Brandi and came away knowing that it was a day I would never forget.
Anything else you’d like to share?
As a Professional Coach and Entrepreneur who works with women, the desire to be whole and balanced in life and work comes up with clients a lot. I want all women to know that wholeness and balance comes from within. Whatever you need to do in order to let go of those limiting beliefs and fears, choose to get centered and present with yourself and your own authenticity. Life keeps on going regardless, and you’ve got a lot of experiences ahead that will be memorable because of the shifts you make in each moment.
YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL – don’t believe anyone who may tell you otherwise!
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International Award-Winning Portrait Photographer
Brandi Stage is an international award-winning portrait photographer based in Bay St. Louis, MS. She creates an exceptional magazine-style photo shoot and timeless heirloom portraits for women, men, children and pets in her studio or on location.