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Portrait & Headshot Photographer • Plymouth, New Hampshire

The Over 50 Revolution: Lyla

When a friend suggested that Lyla do a portrait session for The Over 50 Revolution, she accepted, but immediately had thoughts of unworthiness.  “I am only 51, a newborn in this over 50 category.  I struggled with the thought of who am I to stand alongside these women who have witnessed more than I have? What do I have to offer that has not already been said? Maybe I should wait until I drop a few pounds.  However, I have been working on a creating a new loving relationship with my body and mind, and my negative self talk has diminished significantly.  Before these photos, I don’t really think I had a good grasp of what I actually look like.  I spend so little time looking in mirrors, and so much time avoiding them and criticizing myself.  Having these portraits taken when I am at the higher end of my weight fluctuations has helped me see that I can feel beautiful and confident no matter where I am in that flux.”

Lyla sees a lot changing in advertising.  “There is definitely shift toward displaying a more diverse representation of women.  As far as society, I’m not really sure what the golden age is.  When you’re younger you’re viewed as inexperienced and not to be taken seriously, then when you’re older you’re no longer valuable.  That seems to leave a very small window of ‘perfection’.  I wish our society valued the wisdom of the elder women as other societies do, especially now that I know a bit about what it takes to gain that wisdom.”

When asked how she has changed since she turned 50, Lyla said, “I am so much more comfortable in my own skin.  I think back to my thirties when I was having my children and raising them, and my 20s before that.  There was no me.  I was a functioning human being but I felt like just a shell.  I had no idea who I was, what I was about or what I believed in.  I started to awaken in my early 40s, and I have spent the last 10 years immersed in the study of life and myself.  I don’t think that journey ever really ends, there’s always more to learn and discover.  Having been single the last 5 years has allowed me to really focus on my own growth and development.  I will always be quiet and reserved, but I no longer see certain aspects of myself as negative.  They are just part of the whole me.  Honestly, I feel like 51 has been my best year yet, and I expect 52 to be even better!”

Growing up, Lyla can’t recall looking up to women or thinking of them as role models.  She said, “I was too intimidated by adults in general to have that kind of perspective.  But I recall two TV shows that I absolutely loved: Wonder Woman and Charlie’s Angels.  Yes, all of those women were sexualized, but at the same time they were strong, problem solving, getting it done kind of ladies, fighting for justice and truth, commanding respect.”

Lyla said her younger self would not listen to anything her current self has to say, but maybe another younger person would.  “I would say that we are all unique and beautiful beings.  We all have insecurities, and we all have that voice in our heads that just never stops.  Even the girls who seem so confident, the ones who seem to have it all, they have that voice too.  Stop comparing yourself to everyone else, you are just as worthy.  Here’s the truth about that voice.  It’s not your friend, in fact it’s a huge source of suffering.  Try to develop a practice of becoming aware of it, and then turning away from it by saying ‘no, thank you’ and redirecting your thoughts.  Do that again and again and again.  Your brain is a wonderful problem solving tool.  The rest of the time, it’s full of shit.  Trust your gut and try to listen to the signals your body sends you to determine whether something is good for you.  Good things feel light and expansive.  Bad things feel heavy and constrictive.  Also, never be ashamed to ask for help.  Keep learning and growing.  Life is a journey.  There’s something to be learned from everything, especially the toughest things.  That’s how we become the wise ones, and there is no shortcut.”

Let’s celebrate YOUR life and beauty!

It’s time for you to exist in beautiful portraits. If you are a woman over the age of fifty, The Over 50 Revolution is for you. I hope you’ll join me in this luxurious and empowering experience. Book a portrait session for The Over 50 Revolution. You can learn more HERE