"Nudity is definitely no terra nullius, and I think to sum up getting naked on camera as 'courageous' is a little too easy."

Recently, I moved, and moving is not a process I take lightly. The categorizing and packing of all my material belongings followed by the subsequent unpacking and rearranging of them is no small chore for someone as neurotic as I am. But my reason to move was good: I would be sharing space with people I spectacularly trusted. Well passed trust-falls, this kind of trust beckons the raw, the embarrassed, and the dorky in me.

When I was packing, I made this box which got labelled something like, “INCREDIBLY DELICATE! FRAGILE, THIS WAY UP! BE CAREFUL OK!” And that box, in previous house-moves, was one I was hesitant to open up. It was full of the breakable—not very expensive or exquisitely pretty objects, but ones that are vessels for stories. I realized that I would be unpacking the box, this time around, without any fear. Being nude in my new home, to document the moment, seemed like an inviting, uncomplicated metaphor for the vulnerability I was surrendering.

While I definitely have anxieties about my body, I’m pretty comfortable being naked around others and Joslyn’s company was easy, too. But I don’t think I’m courageous. All bodies are coded with history; nobody’s nudity is historically void and that affects how we interact with our bodies in the raw. For example, I’m okay with my assigned gender and my body reflects what others might expect. I don’t fall outside of the normative body-mass index. I’ve also grown up in a world that has sexualized and racialized me—taught me desirability and how that desirability is a commodity, an access to power. Nudity is definitely no terra nullius, and I think to sum up getting naked on camera as “courageous” is a little too easy. But I do think it takes courage to admit that you trust someone, to share space and build a home with another human being, and to be real honest as if you were naked. 

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