— Oprah Winfrey
Photos courtesy of my sister Emily
Today is my 31st birthday.
It’s so crazy to think a year ago I was in Amsterdam celebrating my 30th with my family. It was one of the best trips of my life and yet it’s already a whole year later.
This must be how your 30’s go… in a heartbeat.
Today, however, I’m turning the truly unglamorous age of 31.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with 31 — it’s an odd number (bound to be good), and a subtle reminder that I’ve been legally able to drink for a decade. But there’s nothing special about 31.
The only time I ever thought about turning 31 before this week was as a young kid when 31 felt SO old. SO far off. A world away.
But now I’m 31 with all the wrinkles, cellulite, and cares that come along with the privilege.
And you know what? I LIKE IT.
I like being “in my thirties”. I’m not perfect but I’m finally getting to that age where I love my imperfections more than my perfections. I’m learning to embrace everything about myself. The good, the bad, and the ugly (as evidenced by my bloopers).
So in that vein, all of the photos from this “birthday” shoot haven’t been photoshopped in any way. Well, they’ve absolutely been photoshopped the way I edit all of my images but what I mean is I haven’t photoshopped myself in any of these photos.
This is me.
This is 31.
This is what accepting and loving yourself for all those love handles, under-eye circles, and (at least in my case) awkwardly large boobs looks like.
No warping the perspective to slim the waist. No heal brush on my under-eye circles. No fake lashes, hair extensions, or botox.
The only optical illusions here? A killer dress from one of my favorite Chicago companies (the vertical pleats will naturally draw the eye up and make you appear more slender) and the fact that we shot these with a 20mm lens (a wide-angle can lengthen and slim shorter people like me). But since the camera naturally adds about 10 lbs to the subject, I’m comfortable saying I feel natural in these photos.
This is 31.
And it looks nothing like I expected it to as a kid…