Or how I started an OnlyFans to beat my depression's ass and start doing what I love again. (No, this is not a glorious a flex.)
*slowly lifts the needle on the sounds of the saxophone in the back of Stay by Mac Miller just before the pornographic sounds of intense moaning begin.*
Let's start with an unpopular opinion that's gonna make you shake your head.
Photography is not pornography... not that there's anything wrong with that.
Let's talk about the Forbidden Fruit...
Let me tell you a story in true Jasemine Denise fashion.
I shot this session at two in the morning in my tiny studio apartment in Chicago, IL. At the time, every thing was going upside down in my life but I was at the height of my career. I wasn't making enough money to do anything, but I was getting really good at making myself feel pretty. I had to get up, I had to deliver groceries on Instacart for five hours and then had to go host a session the next day. I was exhausted. But, I couldn't sleep because God, I needed to feel pretty. To feel capable of doing all of that work without being sad... And I had just treated myself to some lingerie from Honey Birdette back when I thought I had a "fat check" and had paid everything off.
The shoot was magical. It was filthy good. There was no explanation for how I felt for days. It was a thrill. Not that I was half naked but that the angles were so good, the vision in my head looked exactly like the end result, I wanted to share it with the world. "It's possible to feel this good."
So I do. I had a Patreon at the time and I frantically typed for hours about how I felt. My patrons, bless their souls, began to get excited. I dropped the set, we all had a laugh, I felt proud of myself and it was over.
Then. .. A months later, my (at the time) best friend's fiancé stopped by the house to check in on my cats one day while I was away, and found a Patreon print of me on the floor. It was from this session. I froze up. Terrified. What do I even say?
I said nothing. He said everything. One day, we crashed into each other, and I was a deer in the highlights. To my undying relief, his face fell into a proud smile and he said "JayLady, I aint know you had it in you!" clapped a hand on my shoulder and walked out.... It was never brought up again.
I was shocked. Had what in me?
Fast Forward To Now:
I tremble looking at photos of me and I do them with one eye open. To have even hit post on my very first OnlyFans post was akin to getting a shot. It's not out of fear. It's adrenaline. "Wow, I created something I fucking love, and I'm gonna share it with the world. Gone are the algorithms, gone are the hate, no everyone who is here is chilling, and I feel like history is being made again!"
I can honestly say, I'm not necessarily the most confident person in the world. It's very much the opposite. I'm still not used to seeing women at my age who are as petite and as experienced in life as me. It's not like there are none, there are plenty.. It just gets hard to find yourself in that. For me, I finally got a general understanding of body dysmorphia, especially after the hospital when I was merely 45lbs.
So here I am. Having these lovely entanglements with myself. Learning to look at myself at all hours of the day and say, "Yeah. I can love that." Then sharing it with those around me who I know struggle with similar thoughts.
Not because I wanna hear "You're so brave." forty times out of the day but because every single moment I'm shooting, I'm remembering that this is how I made men, women, and enbys alike in every situation know that hey:
When you're not feeling like today is your day, when you're feeling like today's a day celebrate... As long as you've got faith that your photographer is gonna have your back when you just need to have a moment of clarity with yourself without fear.
I never got to thank Isaac for saying that to me. But I did just find the pictures the other day and got excited to share that moment of pride again. In today's world, we deserve everyone we get.
If you want to book a photoshoot with Jasemine Denise Photography, feel free to book me at firstname.lastname@example.org and go ahead and click that boudoir section, so you can see some of the brave people who have been kind enough to allow me to share their photos.
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