So… I’m naked on the internet now. I’m sure mum’s super proud. It was done on my own terms, with my consent. It’s not a remotely sexual thing and the only motivation for me was to work on accepting myself, working through those body issues I mentioned in passing recently. This link is exactly what it sounds like. If you’ve got no interest in seeing me naked, then don’t click it. It’s as simple as that. The idea is to be accountable to myself and start to pick apart these issues in whatever capacity I’m capable of. Here goes.
The shot wasn’t a pose, it just happened to catch me mid-movement. I mentioned the Body Pride (NSFW warning. More nudity) event I went to recently, an intimate event involving a handful of people naked in a circle. Wine and snacks were on hand and we went around the circle talking about our experiences with our bodies, childhoods, sexuality and relationships with others. It was a chance to unburden ourselves of issues in a supportive, welcoming environment. Reflecting on our own troubles while hearing those of others was a humbling way to gain perspective on our own hardships. Commonalities emerged, while helping to trace potential roots of deeply held concerns and insecurities. The event sought to encourage a sense of appreciation for oneself and one’s body, backed by the knowledge that others were listening with good intentions. Stacks of warm fuzzies and laughs were shared and I think everyone’s heart grew three sizes that day. Then after hours of talking, we had a naked dance party photoshoot to keep those warm fuzzies flowing. If you’re in Toronto and feel like it’d help you, get in touch. The next session (sans cis-men) is on Friday May 22nd.
So, did it help? Well it didn’t fix everything, but I certainly didn’t expect it to. I think I’m still processing how it’s made me feel. At the moment I look at myself naked and just think ok, that’s what I look like. I still see all the things I don’t like, the parts I want to change. I see bits that are thicker than I’d like, but I don’t know that I’m seeing them with the same urgency. I think I can look at myself and acknowledge hey, I don’t look that bad. I’m not at a place yet that I like what I see, but I don’t actively loathe what I see. I’d chalk that up as progress.
At this stage my uphill hike starts with trying to build up confidence around myself and how I look. I can objectively see there’s nothing physically wrong with me, but it’s a much harder concept to grok. Self-acceptance isn’t merely skin deep, It lies in the pound of flesh closest to my heart. I’ve got a supportive partner and a great community of loving people around me. Maybe if I listen to them and- as a friend suggested- try actually believing that my friends and loved ones mean what they say, I might be able to come to terms with the way I look and actively come to like it. Stranger things have happened. Did you see the snake devouring that crocodile a few weeks back? If that can happen, feeling comfortable and confident in the “me” I put out there isn’t unfathomable. Like the snake, it may just involve digesting something quite hard to swallow. Then unburdening. Because who would I be if I didn’t end on a poop joke?