"I won't go into the details, but I believe one series of events in my childhood has led my life to be very different than it otherwise would have been."


Retirement has given me this incredible freedom to do whatever I want, when I want. I feel very fortunate. It has also given me plenty of time to look back and reflect on defining moments in my life that I believe are responsible for the person I became and am today. What would I change? What if that never happened? What if I'd never met certain people? How different would my life have been if I hadn't been so self-conscious and so awkward and shy in unfamiliar social settings? What did I miss as a result? Why am I the way I am? That sort of stuff.


I won't go into the details, but I believe one series of events in my childhood has led my life to be very different than it otherwise would have been. Events that I know have had a life-long impact on how I feel about nudity, my body, my appearance, my self. Events very few people know about, a secret I kept hidden for over forty years. The first time I spoke of it was to my doctor who had been helping me through a difficult time in my life. That gave me the courage to confide in a friend and ultimately my sister. Each step along the way was easier than the previous one taken.


"A life without shame. That's really the person I've wanted to be all along, is it too late to change?"


As I reflect back on my past these days, I often find myself imagining a different life for myself. A life without those events where I could regain all that they stole from me. A life where I had the confidence to actually look forward to meeting new people, carry on a conversation, network, and be sociable, more trusting and more open to new experiences. A life without shame. That's really the person I've wanted to be all along, is it too late to change?


With thoughts like that swirling about in my mind, I came across an article on this project. I can say with absolute certainty that at any other point in time I would have simply read the article and never given it a second thought. As it turns out, the article has potentially just become another of those defining moments I spoke of earlier.


"Yet I knew if I could deal with the shame, I could get over the panic and fear, just as I did when I opened up to my doctor that very first time."


I don't really remember how many times I read the article or how long I stared at the reply I had typed up to volunteer. I do remember how hard my heart was pounding and how my hand was shaking when I finally hit that "Send" button. I find it difficult to explain why I felt so compelled to volunteer. The thought of exposing myself and being vulnerable has always triggered nothing but fear, panic and shame. Yet I knew if I could deal with the shame, I could get over the panic and fear, just as I did when I opened up to my doctor that very first time. I wanted to step outside of my comfort zone and see if I could be vulnerable and exposed again, but this time without feeling ashamed or burdened with a deep, dark secret to carry. So I hit the “Send” button and spent a restless night tossing and turning, my mind racing.


From that time on until the time of the shoot, it was like my life was put on hold. The upcoming shoot was all I could think about. Couldn't sleep, wasn't hungry, and couldn’t concentrate on anything. When the day finally arrived, Kale and Liza were scheduled to be at my place at 1pm. I was up at 5am after another restless night. Unable to think about anything else, the next eight hours were spent nervously watching the clock. Can time really pass this slowly?


The time did pass eventually. I heard the knock at my door. They were here. I was about to get naked in front of two people I just met, one of whom would be taking pictures of me. To my surprise all the stress I'd been experiencing leading up to this just seemed to slip away within minutes of meeting them. 


As I write this, feelings of fear and dread have started to rise up again. They did not end when we parted company as one might expect. This is due in large part because I have yet to see any of the pictures and have no say in which ones will be used. What exactly did Liza capture on film? What pictures is she going to choose? How on earth did I put that much trust in a total stranger? If that's not enough to worry about, someday someone I know might discover me here.


"I am hopeful this experience has actually helped me take another step in becoming that person I've always wanted to be. "


I am hopeful this experience has actually helped me take another step in becoming that person I've always wanted to be. If it has, I will be ready for the day that someone I know sees my story on the website. I will not be embarrassed or ashamed. I will simply be reminded of a fun afternoon I spent with two pretty amazing ladies I met online and that is nothing to be ashamed of! 











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