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.