"This was going to be my public coming out story."

Fully Disclothed made me consider that I might be a control freak, and helped me learn that I have no control at all.

These pictures were supposed to be a representational taking control of my life. My ability to say that I have a voice, that I'm choosing to use it, and I will welcome you into my intimate world now. Not in a literal sense here, although being physically naked could seem contrary to that statement at first glance. But this shoot was supposed to be my declaration of saying "Hello world, I have been hiding but I'm now choosing to show myself, because it will be more fun for the both of us if I be honest with you." This was going to be my public coming out story.

I've lived in fear for the majority of my adult life, everyday constantly reinforcing the stories that I tell myself which indirectly limit and ruin my potential. I keep people at bay, rarely allowing others into my personal world because I am scared of being rejected based off of my sexual orientation. I am scared to be judged based off of how I love.

How do you express love? How do you feel love? How do you show it? Love is not different, it is endlessly beautiful, yet I have had experiences where people don't see the power and importance of LOVING, but instead see their own perception of what is right and wrong. Opinionated projections have burned me, and there is no pleasing others while remaining true to myself in circumstances as such. In ways, I have been living for myself rather poorly.

So, I'm gay.

The journey of coming to terms with this and being able to say that to anyone took much more courage than doing a naked photoshoot, so why shouldn't I do something I really enjoy and have it photographed? ...nakedly? If the shoot was truly supposed to be representational of taking control of my life, then being naked shouldn't have been a big deal if I'm living transparently in other ways. 

But as it turns out, for me, the exchange between personal intimacy and naked, public intimacy is indeed somewhat separate. 

The shoot was about hanging new art in my room, an activity that I find grounding and cozy. I was never unmanageably uncomfortable, until I didn't know when it would end so I kept trying to stay busy. I kept thinking that the photographer had to take enough decent photos to be chosen from so that I wouldn't look bad, and if I kept hanging pieces of art then the focus wouldn't be on my vulnerabilities but the art. Hang more art! Put more art up! Find something to velcro to the plaster-now! I didn’t understand it at the time, but I still had to be in control of managing how I was perceived by others.

"A couple hours after the shoot had ended, anxiety hit."

A couple hours after the shoot had ended, anxiety hit. Holy shite, I was entirely manipulated by my own desire to hide from the current circumstances as well as by my attachment to how people see me. I realized that similar to hiding the fact that I’m gay, I wasn’t being myself, because I still wanted to look good in people’s eyes. I'm a control freak trying to control the uncontrollable and that’s failing to express who I am for myself. This doesn't work! I’ve tried it before! So in the end, the shoot didn't end up being a coming out story, but it's more of an acceptance-as-life-comes story. I'm continually learning to accept and let go, and in this way, every photo will be just as it's supposed to be: beautiful, honest.

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