"We talked about the act of embracing ugliness; about radical vulnerability in depictions of the body; about how to look, unflinching, at our selves."


My relationship to my body has always been marked with both fear and revulsion. Until very recently, I would not allow myself to be naked – even alone, changing in my bedroom, I'd hustle to cover up as quickly as possible. Baths filled me with terror, as I'd be forced to confront the reality of my bodily self. I tell you this not to be dramatic, but because it is the truth. My body's been all sorts of shapes and sizes – knock-kneed and long-limbed as a little kid, chubby and slumped in on itself in puberty, bony and grey on the eating disorder unit of my hometown psych ward as a teenager, and now, as you see it: round, soft, & covered in drawings.

My exboyfriend participated in this project (I'll let you guess which one he is – more fun that way) and I was both horrified and terribly excited with the prospect of doing it myself. Naked in front of strangers? I can barely be naked in front of my lovers; in front of myself. Maybe it was that I had stayed up all night hopped up on caffeine and insomnia, but I wrote Joslyn & Kailie a message and hit send with my left hand over my face, muttering “ohmygosh ohmygosh”.

When Joslyn showed up to my apartment, camera slung over her shoulder, I felt unexpectedly calm and at ease. We talked about the act of embracing ugliness; about radical vulnerability in depictions of the body; about how to look, unflinching, at our selves. We drank a lot of coffee. I felt like I was with an old friend, and somehow, the most pressing issue about my nakedness was “Ugh, it hurts to not wear a bra for this long”. I felt no more self conscious than when a photo is being taken of me clothed (which, let's be real, is actually pretty self conscious, but still).

Taking this step to reclaim my body & my relationship with it felt kind of amazing. Scary and amazing. I feel like I might be able to do anything now. 

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