I am one half of the coordinators for Project Naked, and I am overwhelmed and honoured from the response we have had with the project. I wanted to write a few words as to what we are about and my thoughts on the project. At first it was just for myself but I have decided to share it.
We have created this platform to empower women to think and talk about their bodies. We are surrounded by things/the media that tell us we are not good enough, not slim enough, not sleek enough, that our pores are too big or our skin is too blotchy, or our cellulite is disgusting. Never directly though. They are sly, they say you are beautiful IF.
We say you are what you are, celebrate it, appreciate it, love it.
Not that it’s easy.
I struggle all the time, even having done this project for over two years and having read so many inspirational stories from women who have overcome so much, lived so well, and succeed. And the truth is we all have those stories within, but finding them and recognising them is where the struggle can lie. For me anyways. I’m never quite 100% happy with my body, and I’m not always sure why. I do not always appreciate all that it does for me and can do. But I am also young and (maybe too) easily influenced by the negative things around, society’s niggles saying how we ‘should’ look. I think I need more life experience before I truly learn to ignore them. Doing this project has been a great help though.
What this project has given me is something real. I find it absolutely fascinating reading about other women’s lives and how they feel about their body, about nudity, about their lives they live and how the way we feel about our bodies does affect our overall lives. This is real life, this hasn’t been edited and photoshoped to make it something that can be bought/sold. It is real women living real lives in their real bodies, some of which have gone through so much and some of which have gone through ordinary processes in extraordinary ways.
I read silly gossip trashy magazines (still, although not often) and it makes me sad. I see adverts and feel manipulated. These stories and submissions we have been sent in make me happy, even when they are heart breaking, because – not only I’m happy we’ve received a submission! – I’m reading something that has not been fluffed up, polished or faked. The stories we receive are powerful, and they are sent from the “normal” “everyday” women and that is something special. I think it is special because they have taken the time to write something and submit it, and I think it is special because all the stories will affect the readers in different ways and it is amazing that this project and the submissions can be helping others without the writer even realising.
We get a lot of women saying to us “but I don’t know what to write!!” or “I don’t know how to put how I’m feeling into words” or “my story is boring, I don’t feel I have anything to say”. We think every woman has a story to tell, and we understand it isn’t easy putting feelings into words (hell that is something I struggle with a lot!) but even if it triggers someone to just think about it, think about their body and all the amazing things it can do that’s good enough for me! For example, I don’t like my thighs, never have. They don’t wobble the right way, I have stretch marks going in all directions and some annoying rash thing that keeps appearing even after lots of cream BUT they are my thighs and without them I couldn’t walk and run (not that I do that a lot, ha!) and best of all dance like a loon which is something I love to do. Shifting my focus from the negative to the positive is a process that has taken time and I don’t get it right all the time but it’s this project that has helped me work on it and I do believe everyone is capable of it.
We don’t want to be telling people how to think though, how they should start the process or what they need to do to feel better. That is why the majority of the posts are just the submissions that we get sent in, or find (and why we have long gaps between posts because sometimes we are waiting a long while for submissions!). We want those submissions to lead the blog and it be the main body of the content.
Doing this project has opened my eyes. There is no “normal” and perfection can lie everywhere, often within the imperfections! I like to read through the posts and stories and I would urge you to do the same because there is such a variety and they will truly open your eyes to how amazing, adaptable, versatile and unique our bodies are!
If you would like to share your story with us we would love to hear from you. Please email us on firstname.lastname@example.org 🙂