"The university I attended in Alberta was also under the denomination of the same conservative Christian religion and was also the place where I came out as a lesbian and had my first girlfriend."



It was the photographer of my photos who was the one that introduced and invited me to participate in this project. That meant that we would see each other; be in the same space. This is something that does not happen often between John Smith and I, at least over the past five years or so. We met in a time that seems a whole lifetime ago through schooling in a very conservative Christian educational system. It’s unsurprising that childhood friends drift apart, but not John Smith and I. John Smith always popped up in my life during intervals of great change throughout the years whenever I visited our home province while doing my undergraduate degree in Alberta.


The university I attended in Alberta was also under the denomination of the same conservative Christian religion and was also the place where I came out as a lesbian and had my first girlfriend. Together, her and I were magical; powerful; beautiful. Through her love, I felt that I truly saw myself and loved myself. This attitude of self-actualization and the pursuit of self-affirmation was what we strived for with each other, for each other. We dreamed together and worked so hard to grow despite the air of general disapproval coming from the attitudes of campus representatives. This struggle to reclaim space for ourselves and maintain self-love was grueling. From all the stress, I had lost about 15 lbs, was struggling to gain it back, and couldn’t sleep properly for months, but I had loved hard and still had love in me making me stronger; better.


While together, I felt that I had cultivated my best possible love. After graduation and the summer, she started her Master’s degree in the UK and I went back home to Ontario. After slowly tearing apart from October, we broke up over the Christmas holiday I spent with her in the UK.

It had been a long time since I saw myself as beautiful. The shame, the guilt, the sickness that I thought was deflecting with love seemed to weigh on me -- was heavier than me. Ending an aspect of what was one of the most life-changing relationships I had ever hurt me so badly, but I was forced to look and in myself with love.

Accepting John Smith’s invitation to participate in the Fully Disclothed project was a spiritual, loving, and beautiful experience. Doing this project meant vulnerability and communicating with each other with each other in a way that we had never practiced before. Doing this project meant that I felt safe and confident and it actualized a new type of love that I had found for myself. The weight that I started to put on, being naked, and being in Toronto with John Smith for the day evoked pure love from inside me; it was beautiful, I was beautiful. Doing this project, especially with my John Smith, indicated a season’s change in life and that, in this change, there is more than enough love in me to continue sharing. 











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