For all those who haven’t met me yet, my name is Katelyn and I am a body positive boudoir photographer in Denver, Colorado. About two months ago I made a decision to uproot my life and relocate to this beautiful city on a few days notice with no real business plan and nothing but a small u-hual, my dog and a fire to succeed. Today, some 60 days after signing my lease on my adorable condo, someone posted a video on facebook about the possibility of failure……ohhhh the irony. So today, I want to debunk the myth that failure is a curse and help open people’s eyes to why failure is such a magical thing. Not just in life or business, but in the pursuit of happiness. So hold onto your britches babes, because this theory may actually knock your bra off.
Failure….that dreaded word no one wants to be associated with for fear of being the black sheep, the outcast, the damned, the broken. Most commonly used when you have elegantly fallen on your face, or in my case, not so gracefully slipped on a piece of ice and hit every step on the way down. To fail means a lack of success or an omission of expected or required action. Failure then, for all intents and purposes, is a negative word. A slur to be hurled like fire, intended to cut deep and cause substantial harm. I am here to tell you that it’s time to change the narrative and wear your failure like the crown it is. Full of hope, potential and growth. So straighten that crown sis, hold your head up high and hear me when I say failure is something to celebrate!
Let’s take it all the way back to the days of diapers and learning how to walk. When a baby first starts to pull themself up, they look like a giraffe who just learned about their legs. It is ugly, messy and usually a little scary. Pretty soon, they learn to take assisted steps holding onto anything they can. Even with assistance a baby falls a hundred times over, but never ever gives up. They want to walk so bad they endure bumps, bruises and scrapes to succeed. Their will to win the walking game is so intense, they look past all the obstacles to take their first shaky steps. Once those pudgy little legs succeed with steps they push on to walk, then run, then skip and play. At no point do they look around and say, na, this failing thing just isn’t for me. Not today Susan, I am just going to sit here and look cute. Nope, a baby pushes themselves to the edge, completely unafraid and unaware of the word failure, because to them, it’s not an option.
At some point in our development this lack of fear starts to dissipate. We become hesitant, afraid and nervous to try new things. It may be upbringing, environment or first hand experience, but it’s as if we were burned by the flame and now too afraid to jump into the fire. For most people, that means not trying new things because it is easier to remain stagnant than it is to fail. The net spreads wide and thick with all the reasons why we shouldn’t do something because we may fail and frankly, I am just not here for that mentality. My favorite athlete of all time, Michael Jordan, once said “I've missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I've been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.“ Y’all! Think about failing at something more than once and getting up again, let alone 9,000 times.
To me, when I fail, it is a testament to the fact that I am in the arena trying. I am failing forward and learning what not to do at every step of the way. My “failure” is my success forward. When I fail, it means I had the guts to at least try. As the amazing Brené Brown puts it “The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming.” Is it scary to stand in our vulnerability and stare failure in the face? Hell yes, but what is the alternative? Live a life of unfulfilled dreams, stagnant in a journey you hate or body you despise? You can miss me with that mess because I would rather fail miserably in a fire of glory than never have tried at all.
You may be wondering why failure is something I am talking about on a boudoir website and I will make this very simple and to the point. When a woman takes the first step in the direction of loving her body it is vulnerable and scary. It is a path marred with bumps and bruises and hard times. She will fail miserably some days and succeed gloriously others. We are conditioned from birth to hate the body we are in and it is easy to stay in that space. It takes vulnerability and bravery to face the unknown but I am asking that, just like that baby learning to walk, face it with a determination so big that nothing will stop you. Take 9,000 missed shots but never stop trying to love the being you are. Strive valiantly and come up short a millions times, but wipe that blood and sweat off your face and keep fighting. Why? Because you are worth it. Because you deserve it and it’s about damn time.
Fail over and over and over again and wear that crown with a pride and joy so big that no one can take it from you. Embrace the suck and keep getting up. Move 1,600 miles away from a place you feel safe with the possibility of failure nipping at your heals because the alternative is to stay stagnant. Try loving a body you hate and fail, because when you do that, it is a testament to the fact that you are trying. No one expects life or this body love journey to be easy, but surround yourself with an army of women who are failing with you. Know you’re not alone and never ever give up. Want it more than you want to breath and keep failing until you are standing on a mountain top of failed attempts. Look back down on those moments of failure and know you kept moving when you wanted to quit. You are not alone and know that these amazing women are with you and most importantly I am here holding you hand and failing right along side you. Embrace the suck, embrace your failure and embrace the journey. You are so worthy of this effort and support. Embrace all bodies, especially the one you are in.
Cheers to just a few of the amazing women who have allowed me to walk through this body love journey with them. To each of you who have trusted me along the way, thank you. You are so loved.