Food for thought Friday asked this question –
Are you at ease being naked? Do you feel more comfortable clothed or unclothed? Can you explain why you feel this?
I have spent years not feeling comfortable with my body, in fact for most of my life now I think of it. Somehow my experience of corporeality was linked to shame and guilt rather than pleasure and gratitude for most of my life. Much has happened to change that over the recent past and strangely the thing that has helped most has been doing the thing that everyone warns against namely posting naked or revealing pictures on the internet.
My first experiences of this was via an online fitness programme which required posting of weekly photos in a private Facebook group in my underwear to show progress and allow feedback from the trainer. As I could see my own progress which I had worked so hard for I became proud of my body for the first time. I also could see every other woman on the programme’s pictures and I became fascinated by the beauty and courage I saw there as we all struggled with our demons about being judged, feeling ugly and deep, deep shame about our bodies. It was an inspiring project to be a part of which has left long lasting effects on me and my life.
My growing confidence in my body went alongside a resurgence of interest in sex and led to growing interest in kink in general and D/s particularly and so I set up a profile on fetlife. My husband had been asking to take naked photos of me for most of our marriage and I had always refused. I felt embarrassed about the whole idea particularly the posing and having to view the results, but actually now I look at it more about the intimacy of the whole process. I wasn’t comfortable with letting him get that close, with good reason as it turned out, but still I couldn’t get my head around why we would do it and what I would get from the process. Fetlife and the images I saw there were a revelation. Women celebrating and being celebrated in all their shapes and sizes. Supportive and friendly comments to most of the pictures there but particularly from the groups we had joined. I began to really enjoy the process, the planning, execution and posting of the pictures and the fun to be had doing it. I actually had one of my photos go to K & P which was such a confidence building experience. Here I was at 56, feeling attractive and desirable. I was empowered by it.
Today I also had a Whatsapp conversation with someone about feeling free to be me for the first time. He commented that it was a liberating feeling, like being naked in the rain. This image caught my imagination and I knew I would go out onto my deck naked in the rain today. I wanted to feel the wind pushing the raindrops onto my skin and playing with my hair. I wanted to stand just me, in the elements, in my element and not to be afraid to let the world see. Many may misconstrue the act of posting naked images as a vanity exercise or one that is seeking external approval or validation. It may indeed be that sometimes, however, this time it is just the freedom to be me and to make my own choices and judgements and to celebrate the long way I have come in being able to be comfortable in my own skin.