"I wanted to show others that a body like mine is normal; strong, healthy, capable – of running marathons, of carrying babies, of lifting and moving and loving and seducing and luxuriating in its own skin." 


My relationship with my body has been … interesting … dynamic … informative … reflective … from childhood when I was always bigger than the other little girls in my ballet class, adjusting to the changes of puberty, to my familiar physical body of adulthood. Mostly, thanks in great part to my mother’s candid example, I’ve balanced a healthy appreciation for my health and strength with a grudging acceptance of what I perceive to be a less-than-ideal form. I imagine others’ bodies must be (under their clothes) more sleek, more nicely shaped, smoother than mine. In the past 10 years, I’ve largely focused my disapproval on my mid-section, blaming the carrying of two beautiful babes for my jiggly belly (what a remarkable feat that was … and yet I “blame”); admittedly, it has been since long before that first pregnancy that I have been critical of my shape.


However, I wanted to do this shoot –unclothed – not to make myself feel better about my body. I know what I look like – a photograph is unlikely to reveal a hidden truth that isn’t visible in a mirror, and may in fact accentuate it. I liked the idea because I know I’m not the only one who imagines the perfection there must be beneath the clothes of those around me. An imagined perfection influenced in no small part by the photoshopping and airbrushing and unreachable standards set by the media. Others have in fact commented on my body – or what they imagine my unclothed body must look like – as being something that I don’t see. I wanted to show others that a body like mine is normal; strong, healthy, capable – of running marathons, of carrying babies, of lifting and moving and loving and seducing and luxuriating in its own skin. We – most of us - move through our days covered; putting forth an image of our choosing. We dress the role that we wish to portray. And yet we are all naked underneath. No matter our role – doctor, teacher, friend, mother, daughter, woman. Me. The opportunity to take off the protective coat and be real and unhidden was enticing. Especially to do so with a friend – to share that vulnerability, and to be seen.


When the moment came, we acknowledged our discomfort and nervousness, and then got unclothed with no hesitation. The clothes came off, and we were real. It was an interesting setting – my office. As naturopathic doctors both, we were acutely aware of the significance of one of us being cared for by the other. The naturopathic therapeutic relationship often has a fluid exchange of energy between doctor and client; ideally, both learn and grow from the encounter, both are vulnerable and human. Physical nakedness removed the boundaries in some way –not minimizing the respect and space held by the practitioner, but emphasizing the humanity inherent to our profession.











"I wasn’t nervous about being naked in front of the camera. I was more nervous about being anxious in front of my friend. Would she judge me, because I’m judging myself?"


The day of the photo shoot felt like a full moon, which typically for me means I feel off all day. I was consumed with thoughts of food. I suffered from an eating disorder in my early twenties, so these thoughts are not new to me, [and thanks to a lot of personal work have become less frequent at this point in my life] although they are much more infrequent at this point in my life. For whatever reason today – full moon or not – I was consumed by thoughts of food, which in most cases is usually related to anxiety. What could I be anxious about? I could easily list a bunch of things, one of which was this pending photo shoot at the end of my day. However, I didn’t think I felt particularly anxious about this photo shoot because there were so many other distractions.


I wasn’t nervous about being naked in front of the camera. I was more nervous about being anxious in front of my friend. Would she judge me, because I’m judging myself? My photo shoot companion is a good friend of mine, and we are both naturopathic doctors. Today I was in the patient position and to keep the photo shoot as authentic as possible I shared about my suffering for the day. I shared my insecurities of body image and judgment, which was fitting for the disclothed shoot. Being honest and authentic about my insecurities and vulnerabilities helped me to feel more confident in the photo shoot. Putting my relationship with my mind and body out there allowed me to embrace and feel comfortable during the photo shoot. I was no longer aware of what was happening with other people. It was just Anna and I sharing a moment of our profession and friendship that was truly beautiful in all its vulnerability. Being part of this art project reminds me of the power of vulnerability.











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