Knowing Me Naked

BlogFest

This post is part of The Beauty of a Woman BlogFest VII!

To read more entries, and potentially win a fun prize, visit the fest page on August’s McLaughlin’s site between today and 11pm PST March 9th.

A tribute to my birthday suit

I was raised in a very conservative manner.

Even now in my late(r) twenties, I’m not allowed to watch rated R movies with my parents, and my mom doesn’t approve of me watching two people kissing on tv… because we all know what THAT leads to. I was given a book on puberty when I started my period and the “birds and the bees talk” never happened, as all good Christians are abstinent until marriage. All of this to say, my childhood was very sheltered and I was raised to cover both my body and my sexuality.

*My parents did what they thought was best for me and I am not putting any blame on how I was raised. It was what it was and I am who I am because of them.

I spent the most of my life thinking it was my moral obligation to adjust my appearance because of the sin I could potentially create for men’s thoughts. It was my fault if I tempted them.

(some of you might be thinking how ridiculous this sounds but it’s TRUE and there are MANY of us who grew up and still have this belief today!).

With this mindset came shame. Shame that cleavage or showing my bra straps was a sign of me “asking for something”. From a religious perspective, I’m not sure how God would feel about how we view our body’s in the US’s society. Adam and Eve walked around naked and didn’t feel self-conscious about their bodies until after they ate the sin-revealing fruit. So, did God design us to feel comfortable in our skin? I believe so.

A number of changes happened in my life that shifted this perspective of hiding who I am to being comfortable in my own skin. I stayed at an eco-community in Nicaragua, where bras weren’t required and naked hot tub conversations were accepted, without sexual advancements.

In fact those were the nights I felt the most alive, free, and beautiful.

Continuing on my personal self-love trajectory, I worked with a boudoir photographer last summer, mainly because I wanted to walk the self-love talk that I promote and endorse. It’s one thing to encourage people to love who they are and another to actually believe it yourself.

Seeing my post-photo shoot pictures, I saw myself in a way I was never allowed to see and it made me realize how important it is to know myself, inside and out.

My body is the vessel that wakes me up, nourishes me, and helps me see tomorrow (God willing). It’s also what allows me to think, speak up for myself, and trust in my faith.

Looking at myself naked, as silly as that might sound, has helped me love and accept who I am. And the more I see myself naked, the more comfortable I become in my own skin. The same body acceptance concept applies to social media too, especially via Instagram. The more brave women I see exposing their fat rolls, stretch marks, and skin, the more accepting I am with my own.

I have a long way to go in terms of fully accepting my body, but wow have I come a long way.

This past weekend I checked off another goal of my bucket list for the year – I attended a nude yoga class. Again, this is not to prance around how sexually tempting I might be, or to hold hands with a bunch of “tree huggers”, but to celebrate, embrace, and trust my body. My body with fat rolls, stretch marks, and extra skin. My pride and joy that keeps me awake in the day and lets me sleep at night. I might not be in the most physically healthy state of my life but my goodness am I emotionally stronger than ever.

When we can change our mindset about what’s wrong and what’s right, I think we can open our eyes to a whole other perspective of how we truly feel about ourselves. And that my friends, is the bare naked truth.

Always exploring,

Amanda

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14 thoughts on “Knowing Me Naked

  1. What a revealing (no pun intended) post about true beauty. I agree whole-heartedly that being comfortable in your own skin is key to feeling beautiful. I was raised by people who tried to conciously show us that being naked was “normal” so as a kid we went to nude beaches, etc. it is still hard to overcome the societal sense that nakedness is “bad” but imagine if we were all comfortable being nude–what a world we would live in…Keep up the good work!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Isn’t it funny how we both grew up in highly religious homes and got two completely different body lessons? Mine told me that my body was a temple, shaped in God’s image. It’s hard to reconcile God’s image and shame. But then, different faiths translate differently, don’t they? There are some that believe God is vengeful, full of fire and brimstone while others believe he’s all love and forgiveness.

    But I digress…. I love that you’re embracing your naked self. Literally finding the “you” underneath. Beautiful! And so are you.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Oh, my chills have chills! Amanda, you are a gift. Thank you for sharing your journey here, and for the mighty work you do to instill self- love and acceptance in others. Many cheers for those hot tub conversations, empowering photo shoots and (literal and figurative) naked moments.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. This is exactly why I called you earlier today to tell you about this article. I’m not asking you to defend yourself as my mother, I’m asking that you simply hear me and my perspective. I’m not blaming you and I’m not asking you to explain how supportive you were/are in others areas of my life; that’s not what this article is about.
    I’m asking that you accept my acceptance with my body and to not take this personally, as I wrote this for ME and not your rebuttal.

    You had parts of your childhood that weren’t ideal, just as I had my own. We are all different and our experiences are just that – OURS. I believe that every parent is doing the best job that they can and that they are only doing what they know how/were taught to do. The thoughts I shared above are how I perceived situations as a child/adolescent and they will be different than yours, which is okay.

    If you prefer to talk to me about this on the phone I’d be happy to do so, as I’m curious where it says in the Bible that some things are meant to be private, especially in relation to what I talked about in my post.

    Like

  5. How can you ever tell someone that their perception is wrong? I think with that statement their you are proving exactly what she is saying about her childhood and are reinforcing the negative perceptions she was given. I think you should not talk about this anymore on here and neither should you mother, you need to respect her wishes and contact her on the phone or message her outside of her blog. Also if you want to talk to me more about this text, call, email, facebook message me.

    I definitely support what she said about R rated movies and kissing, I specifically remember you covering my eyes when people started making out especially if the guy didn’t have a shirt on. Do I also need to remind you that you that you blocked all R and MA rated movies on our Netflix account because you found out that Netflix has softcore porn? You should really think about YOUR actions and the perceptions they give to others. I’ve been saying this for a very, very long time but you should not care about others who’s opinions that shouldn’t have any bearing on what you do and think, but on your family and children. You’ve always cared more about strangers perception than the perception you are showing your kids.

    We both love you mother and do not fault you for your actions in the past and we both know you did what you thought was right and that’s what made us who we are, you should be proud. But you more than most need to read and accept this article as reading your comments you only took this as an attack on yourself instead of learning from what she is saying.

    If you would like to talk more, please text or email me!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. “My body is the vessel that wakes me up, nourishes me, and helps me see tomorrow.” What an absolutely gorgeous line and so much truth in it. As one with curves, stretch marks, and rolls, I join you in celebration. As well, I practice yoga on my own but naked yoga is a very powerful experience for me. Brava, Amanda, for this celebratory and lovely post.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Amanda, your post is honest and inspiring! This line resonated with me, “The more brave women I see exposing their fat rolls, stretch marks, and skin, the more accepting I am with my own.” I spent a few weeks in Europe last summer and went to a beach. The women there wore whatever the heck they wanted no matter what sizes they were. These women were comfortable with their rolls and stretch marks showing from their bikinis. Little kids ran around naked. No one cared! No one stressed out about or was offended by any of it. It was one of the most beautiful things for me to see and realize that the “hide everything” culture in the U.S. has been part of my own issues with how I see myself. The body is a vessel (like you said)–a beautiful creation! Thank you for your post.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Wow, Amanda, naked yoga! I’ve never worked up the nerve to try something like that. Btu I’ve been pretty comfortable in my own skin for a lot of years, thanks to tons of therapy. So glad to hear you are finding that comfort for yourself!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I too was raised in a home where “sex” or “sexuality” is a taboo. After reading your post and in my experience, when we break free from the ‘norms’ by digging deeper into whys and hows of everything, life gives us immense opportunities to evolve. I can relate to the journey of acceptance of my own flawed body. I love my stretch marks – they are natural strokes of art! 🙂 There is a confidence which comes when we appreciate our nakedness. It’s for us, no one else.
    Lovely post!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. The bare naked truth is we were not born with clothes on. Welcome to the liberation, Amanda – I loved this! And the freedom of being naked just feels so good!

    Like

  11. I’ve had a similar experience. The “rules” of my upbringing weren’t quite so conservative or religiously based, but they were centered in shame I needed to shed, along with the idea that I should always be covered, and ashamed of my nudity.

    I’m glad you’ve discovered some peace with your birthday suit, and I have to admit that naked yoga fascinates me more than a little! =)

    Like

  12. Thank you so much for sharing this post!!! I thoroughly enjoyed it and you gave me so many great ideas! Nude yoga?! An eco-community?! I’m actually googling both right now lol Your emotional strength really shines through here. Cheers to self love!

    Like

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