I occasionally model nude for artists. There. It’s out in the open for all to see and digest. Do I feel any shame or discomfort about it? No. To me, it is a beautiful thing helping artists to create more beauty in the world. Not to mention it’s something I enjoy. It’s meditative transforming myself into a living, breathing version of a still life, holding the same position for long minutes at a time. There’s also for me a harkening back to when I was a child in love with the camera. I would get the camera, hand it to my mom or dad and say “Make me say cheese!” There are much worse things to me than having a bunch of people looking at me and doing the Ye Olde version of “make me say cheese!” (And just for the record I have no fear of public speaking, either. None. Give me a topic I like and a platform and I’ll talk forever.)
Not everyone feels that way, however. I often forget that the world in which I live and breathe, the world that gives me life and makes me sparkly, the world that is my home is a unique place not generally inhabited though frequently visited by most. My world is one generally uninhibited by the shackles of shame, guilt and stifling rules around nudity, sexual and sensual expression. My world thrives on authentic expression of the self in all its fullness. Perhaps in many ways it’s like that of small children. It can definitely be scary in all its authenticity and openness, I’m not gonna lie. In my world, nudity is no more an invitation to or even expression of a desire for sex than a woman in tiny shorts and a bikini top; it is simply natural. And comfortable. Like bare feet, which I also sport habitually. For some, perhaps many, nudity is a source of shame and embarrassment. For these, the naked human body, especially the unclothed female form, is highly sexualized, a clear invitation to sex. “Good” girls and women especially never bare their bodies except in their own homes in preparation for sex with their lover. Some people are so averse to nudity that they sleep entirely clothed regardless of temperatures and insist on sex with the lights off.
(Side note: Yes, I am aware many women feel so profoundly ashamed of and unhappy with their bodies that the fear of rejection is why many insist on no-lights sex. Any would-be lover of mine who would reject me because they dislike what they’ve been given access to freely touch is not worthy of my bed. But then, I would certainly know this about them long before I invited or surrendered to their invitation. Those types leave honkin’ huge clues. They would simply never get there.)
Some would and have refered to my behavior and views as “trashy”. I really have no clue how to respond to that judgement other than to sigh and do my best to ignore it. I do get frustrated from time to time. There are those who think it perfectly reasonable and appropriate for a woman to ask her friends, family, children, spiritual counselor – anyone outside herself – how they feel about her self expression. It’s not exponentially better for men, either.
As adults who aspire to health in all areas we often encounter those who would do their best to censor our self, sexual and sensual expression due to their personal discomfort. It isn’t a way of life they would choose; someone they see is choosing something outside their comfort zone; they feel discomfort and they reach for our society’s drug of choice much the same as an emotional eater reaches for a twinkie at the first sign of upset. If they are close to us, they tell us their attempts at controling our behavior by heaping shame on our shoulders is “for our own good” or “because they care about our well being”. If they don’t know us, they drag out the old “protecting the children” or “for the societal good” argument. These are the same people who police men and tell them it’s disgraceful to be visibly aroused, that to be seen with a hard on is disrespectful to women and shameful. Arousal is inappropriate. Get rid of it! Everyone knows a man aroused is a man out of control about to rampage through society. A dick is a lethal weapon in pants and a sign of mental instability. Cover that thing up! Quick! Relaxed, easy expression of our sensual sexual selves is likewise inappropriate, disgusting, dirty, highly suspect. These would have everyone constantly playing the child’s game “Mother, may I?” and responding with a loud, aggressive “NO, you may NOT!” nearly every time, though oddly they often have no problem with violent expressions of self. Just look at our entertainments: movies where people are blown up, shot at, fight to the death and/or killed in any number of creative ways is the norm. Even in our so-called romance films, books, etc. violence of one sort or another is common and expected.
I am done playing the game of “Mother, may I?” which is just another variation of the shrink-to-fit game. I spent the majority of my life in shrink-to-fit mode. Considering I’m approaching the 48th anniversary of my birth, that’s a really long time to play a game that isn’t any fun. I intend to dedicate the rest of my years here on this earth plane to exploring every nook and cranny of this being I call me and to expressing myself fully, authentically and with abandon. “Go big or go home” the saying goes. I aim to make big my home. Care to join me?