For me, how I feel about my own nakedness really depends on my mental health and personal wellness. It can vary from time to time. I picture it on a continuum with one side being – extremely.hideous.monster – and the other being something like – foxy.supreme.being -. I don’t ever reach one extreme or the other (thankgoodness!), but I believe having good mental health and balance in life is so crucially important to how we view ourselves, and our place within the wider world. When I’m feeling stressed out and anxious, I look at my body and I see something that’s tired, used-up and in need of repair. I feel heavy, grey and lumpy. I feel fragile and brittle. I see no vibrancy in my skin and no life in my eyes. However, when I’m feeling well-balanced and healthy mentally, I know that I eat better and exercise more often (even without making a conscious effort to do so). So, during those times I feel proud of my body. I feel sexy and strong. I feel soft and alluring. I feel confident.
As I look back on my (nearly) 30 years of life, I remember spending summer days of my early childhood naked, sitting in the grass, playing in my backyard, or skinny dipping in our pool before bedtime — they are all pure, warm and comforting memories. Adolescence for nearly everyone, brings change, insecurity and self-doubt. When I was an adolescent I felt awkward, and for years I hid myself in massive hoodies and XL jeans. I didn’t want anyone to know that I had lumps on my chest, or curves underneath the layers of fabric. I didn’t know how to dress my rapidly morphing figure or have the confidence to try. I felt safe when I was hidden. I realize now that one of the reasons that I hid myself was because, as a tomboy, it took me a long time to come to terms with what femininity meant, and to find what femininity meant to me. I will never be stereotypically ‘girly’.. and I feel 110% ok with that these days.
When I see myself naked now, for the most part — I feel lucky and proud. I feel lucky because I have come to embrace myself and my body. I have become completely comfortable with myself (most of the time anyway!). I feel lucky because I’ve never hated my body. It works hard for me and I often don’t treat it as well as I should. I’ve abused/mistreated it countless numbers of times and yet, it hasn’t given up on me. I feel lucky because I can see beauty in my body, and I know there are an unimaginable number of women that can’t see beauty in theirs. I’m no longer embarrassed or ashamed of my body – I don’t try to hide it anymore. : ) I feel proud of my naked body because I can see my mother’s knees, curves and breasts in it. I can feel that my skin now reminds me of how hers felt. There are so many strong and beautiful women in my family and I am proud to be one of them.
Two women that have heavily contributed to how positively I feel about my own nakedness are my Mum, and one of my life-long friends, KP. I am forever grateful to both of them for helping me achieve the level of love and comfort that I feel when I see myself stripped down.