"I swing wildly between absolutely hating my lumpy bumpy fat and uneven body... and being super proud of my strong, fit and useful body... But it’s the same body."  

The first time I heard about the Fully Disclothed project, I was drunk. And I said I’d take part without giving any thought to it. Maybe in my alcohol fueled logic, I thought it would make a great story to tell when I’m older or something, but certainly drunk Mags is much, much more comfortable with her body than sober Mags. In any case, the next morning I deeply regretted volunteering to take part.

But thinking about it more the week after, it occurred to me that inadvertently this summer had become a summer of doing things that scare me. And Fully Disclothed seemed like a perfect way to add ‘(sober) nakedness’ to my “Conquered Fears” list (it’s quite a short list by the way, this is only the third item to be honest). So I didn’t back out. I did what any sane person would do and enlisted my best friend to do it with me!

In the 3 weeks between agreeing to the shoot and actually being photographed, I thought a lot about why having no clothes on was a fearful situation for me. And I still haven’t fully figured it out really. I have noticed that the relationship my body and I have is a bit of an emotional rollercoaster. I swing wildly between absolutely hating my lumpy bumpy fat and uneven body (when I’m trying on clothes in a changing room or getting dressed up to look nice for something) and being super proud of my strong, fit and useful body (if I’ve finished a long cycle or a particularly choppy sea swim). But it’s the same body. So ultimately I hoped that taking part in the Fully Disclothed project would shift my opinion of myself to the proud and happy end of the emotional rollercoaster a bit more permanently.

Before the day of the shoot, I had read a few of the other write ups to see how people generally reacted to being photographed naked, and still I was really surprised at how quickly it became completely natural to have no clothes on (literally it took minutes). I attribute this to a few factors – It really helped having Leah doing the shoot with me, we giggled like schoolgirls at the start (it didn’t help that we did the shoot in the Dublin mountains and just as we were stripping off behind a tree, a cyclist whizzed by on a mountain trail about 4 meters from us!) but really quickly forgot we were naked. The fact that Kate (photographer) and Kale (project founder) were so calm and easy going didn’t only make it less scary; they actually made it a fun day out! They were so relaxed and un-phased by us frolicking around the woods in the nip that I easily forgot about the naked part.

It literally took minutes for me to realize that nakedness isn’t anything to be afraid of. It is what it is. I wouldn’t say that I love being naked now, but I also wouldn’t say that I love wearing clothes, so I think for me, clothes wearing and nakedness are closer to being on a par with each other than they were before Fully Disclothed. I’m certainly not afraid of being naked anymore.

If anyone is interested, spiders are next up to go on the “Conquered Fears” list!

"No matter how hard life gets or how badly things might go I know I’ll never be lonely again knowing there’s someone like me in the world."

I was interested in getting involved in this project because I want to feel at home in my body. Every little decision I make everyday is reflected on my body, what I eat, how I move, how I rest, how I live my life. I have plenty of lines, wrinkles, lumps and bumps that are the result of making the most of it. And yet I struggle with the feeling that it doesn’t look good enough. The truth is we decide ourselves how we feel. Our thoughts are our own and we have the choice to be self-conscious. We perceive others to judge us but really we are judging ourselves. I want to be the type of person who loves others for who they are and that starts with loving myself.

As an early adolescent I saw the world and myself as a dark place. Happiness was fleeting and temporary and living was just something you got through. I was always being told I had great potential and could do anything I wanted if I just tried. I’m not sure what changed or when but at some stage I started trying, I decided if I worked hard I could become independent and have control over my life. We don’t decide how we start out but we can end up wherever we want. Now I have everything I’ve ever hoped for. I’ve been doing things that scare me for years and have found the more uncomfortable and vulnerable I make myself the more confidence I have that I can face anything and not fall apart. If I am open to new experiences amazing things happen.

Doing the shoot with Mags was a no brainer. Nobody else would have suggested something so out of the ordinary, except maybe me. If Mags had suggested we drink battery acid I’d probably have given it a try. She has the most wonderful zest for life and her pursuit to make the most of it is contagious. While her jokes are inappropriate and her timekeeping almost offensive, she has the kindest soul. I broke my arm on one of our adventures and I’m sure the pain was worse for her than it was for me. When I was growing up I always felt just a bit out of place. I had and still have the greatest friends but I had this feeling that I didn’t quite fit in, until I met Mags. Now its like a little light has turned on in my heart. No matter how hard life gets or how badly things might go I know I’ll never be lonely again knowing there’s someone like me in the world.

One of the things we love to do is to sit and chat and enjoy the view so being outside felt the most natural. Kate and Kale made me feel like it was the most normal thing to do, and aside from the clicking of the camera that’s what it turned into. Once I got over the initial awkwardness of taking my clothes off I forgot that I was naked. It was just another chance to daydream and ponder how great our lives are. 

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