I have written a lot about my feeling around stripping in public - which is something that I think that I do - often on a daily basis - not only through my memoir - but also through my blogs. I am in the habit of writing as though nobody is looking - and that is a pretty naked feeling. I just finished watching "Naked on the Inside" on HBO. It is a documentary that profiles six different people on the issue of body image. If you get a chance to see it - check it out. It inspired me, touched me and stirred me. I have spent a great deal of time feeling naked on the inside. I love that language. "Naked on the Inside". It really speaks to our core vulnerabilities. When we work at opening that up - When we allow our own selves to really look at our own most naked places - and then decide that it is really okay to let others hold that part of us - or even just to see that part of us - tremendous healing can happen. It's about making the choice not to be invisible anymore - to yourself or to others.
I keep getting closer and closer to those places in myself. And, some of my friends and my sexuality coaching clients - are beginning to open themselves too. It is like watching flowers open. Each petal opens in it's own time, and then one day you are staring at the carpels and the stamen...the most secret part of a flower. And like flowers, opening one petal at a time...when they are fully open - it can be stunning to behold.
I keep looking deeper and deeper into myself. I am amazed by how many petals that I have. When I allow myself to admire myself - to truly feel good about all the parts of me - sometimes, I need to put aside all of your eyes.
Sometimes, we "become" the reflection of other's perceptions of us. And sometimes, those perceptions are simply their own projections, assumptions and prejudices. It is hard to put aside the eyes of others to truly look inside ourselves and see our own nakedness in our own reality.
It is really hard. None of us are the glossy pictures in magazines. Not even the people who are photographed. And I don't simply mean their physical beauty - I also mean the inner "stories" that the pictures encourage us to layer on the images.
And then there is the paradox. Sometimes, I want you eyes on my nakedness. I want your projections, assumptions, prejudices and approval. Because in those, there is a learning and a healing too.
I have gotten to love walking around naked in public - at places like Harbin Spa in Northern California - where there are out door hot tubs and nudity is allowed.
I have spent so much of my life hiding my nakedness. Now I want all of me to be seen. I am very self aware of my nakedness. It is not self conscious - it is self aware. I like to feel my body as I move about. My strong legs and ass. The curve of my waist - the softness of my belly. I think that being naked in public (where it is allowed and acceptable) has been one of the most healing things that I have done for myself.
My middle years have been one big self reveal. In my book, Shameless I have let you see and hold my soul, and I have let you see me naked in your imaginations.
I have allowed myself to open my petals....and simply be the flower that I am. I have let who ever has wanted to look - by opening my book - view deep inside of me....even down to my carpels and stamen. I have let you all "see" what I "see". Sometimes, we actually see different things. Sometimes, my readers have even pointed out parts of me that I didn't know were there. There are times, that I do not like what you reflect back to me - and there are times when you have provided a much more loving mirror than I would ever have held up for myself.
Perhaps the best part, is that my writing - my willingness to show you my nakedness - has allowed you to look at parts of yourself that perhaps you didn't know were there either. Some of my readers are becoming great friends because I have shared my journey - and it has become a great big exercise in "I will show you mine, and now you have shown me yours" - or perhaps the game of "You have that too?"
Naked on the inside....and allowing others to see. Perhaps that has been the journey all along.