After taking a few blog photos for me recently, my husband looked at me and said, “Considering where you were a couple years ago, I never would have imagined you’d be doing the things you’re doing now.”

I looked at him and smiled. “That makes two of us.”

Anyone who knows me even marginally well knows that I had major anxiety about having my photo taken. I often found it difficult, when I saw photos of myself, to refrain from emphasizing each and every flaw – whether real or perceived.

Some (not all) people – even those claiming to be friends – can be cruel. And, over the years, I’ve had some pretty rude comments hurled my way. So, self-deprecation became my go-to for subconsciously soothing the sting. Years later, l would come to realize that this behavior was a way for me to protect myself from criticism. I mean, if I were my own harshest critic, then nothing anyone else said could possibly hurt me, right?

It took a while for me get here, but today, I am my own biggest cheerleader (although hubby might take exception to that).  Now, when I see my photos, I still tend to focus on all my flaws. But, instead of being embarrassed or fearful, I’m proud.

My journey on the road to self-love has been a long one, indeed. But now that I’m on it, I can’t wait to see where it leads.

PHOTOS: Stacy Pierce Photography

MAKEUP: Ebony Stephens

STYLING: LaQuinda Brewington