How to Get Over Body Image Issues

By Kendra Holliday | August 14, 2013 at 10:38 am

Here’s how to get over your body image issues:

1. Do a nude photo session

2. Get naked in front of other people

Huh, what??

Let me explain.

It’s been almost a year since my hysterectomy surgery. I’m all better, but I’ve noticed my body shifting and changing. I have scars on my tummy now, and fat has gathered around my middle. Sometimes I sit around and feel gross about it. I feel like my clothes are tight. I try eating better. I try being more active.

Last Saturday, I had two events on my calendar: a nude photoshoot with a girlfriend and photographer friend of mine, and a clothing optional pool party. Ugh, being naked around other people was the LAST thing I wanted to do. I yearned to hide under my covers in a comfy nightie instead, but I’m not one to flake out on people just because I’m not feeling it. I tend to push myself to follow through with things I’ve committed to, because it usually works out for the best.

At the photoshoot, I shared my body image concerns with Bianca and Stan. Bianca looked so beautiful and graceful. Stan assured me that I still looked mighty fine and not that much different from when he first started photographing me five years ago. I started to relax, and walked around the studio naked as if it was the most natural thing in the world, because it WAS.

Stan and me

Stan and me

He ended up getting some really beautiful shots of us together:

Sisters, photo by Stan Strembicki

Sisters, photo by Stan Strembicki

We complement each other so well, and have a lovely connection. They both made me feel so comfortable. I left the photoshoot feeling empowered.

That afternoon, we went to the naked pool party. It was a glorious day! Now I was about to get naked in front of a crowd. Being naked in a dim bedroom with mood lighting and one other person who cares about you is one thing, but being naked in broad daylight with lots of other people is quite another!

But being naked outside is such an incredible feeling, and I didn’t want to pass it up, so I shed my clothes and braved the initial tingle of anxiety as I acclimated to feeling exposed.

Except I didn’t feel exposed at all. I felt at ease. It was like the garden of Eden – a large, spring-fed basin in the middle of a lush forest – blue skies, bluer water, birds flying overhead… and about eighty naked people lounging about, swimming, laughing, playing games, eating fruit, flirting…

The pool at Eden!

The pool at Eden!

Some of the people were used to this type of thing, but many others were new to skinny dipping. A few informed me beforehand that they were NOT taking off their swimming suit. I told them that’s fine, it’s clothing optional, and they can go with the flow. After a while, most everyone shed their security blankets and were amazed at how fine it felt.

Everyone was so beautiful, and not because they had magazine model bodies, but because they were perfectly comfortable in their own skin. People of all shapes, sizes, colors, gender… oh gosh so many beautiful breasts bobbing in the water, everywhere you looked!

And somehow, being in that environment helped me get over myself. I accept all of them for who they are, so why not afford myself that same kindness? It was an unexpected epiphany. I’m SOO glad I was fortunate enough to have these experiences! The day was so liberating – I felt like I got to shed my everyday mom/office persona and transform into a goddess!

Now, when I sit in my car in traffic or at my drab office desk, I can remind myself that I’m part of a bigger, more beautiful world.

I am free.

Overlooking the valley at sunset

Overlooking the valley at sunset

 

Comments

DH 2013-08-14 13:56:22

I am so effing sad I couldn’t go…. Thank you for sharing!

Reply

Raven 2013-08-14 14:03:18

Thank you so much for writing this, Kendra! I couldn’t have said it better myself, especially the part about affording oneself the same kind of love and acceptance that we readily offer others. It’s such an epiphany when one makes their way to that kind of thinking. I’m so glad you had a good time, it truly was such a blissful day. Thanks again to Wes too!

Reply

Karaokeyojimbo 2013-08-14 14:07:51

I completely agree, I’ve never been more comfortable than I am when I’m at a clothing optional event! I’m so bummed I missed the pool party as its my favorite clothing optional event. I recently spent an entire weekend nude at Leather in the Woods, it was an amazing experience!

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Kendra Holliday 2013-08-14 14:11:25

A man who was at my gang bang sent me this private message:
“You forgot #3. Participate in a Gang Bang…
That was actually the first time I ever got naked in front of a bunch of people (that wasn’t in a locker room for showering at community pools)
and since then, I’ve gotten brave about getting naked around people!”

Also, nude figure modeling is another great way to gain body confidence… what else?

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The Barbarian 2013-08-14 14:30:24

1) You’re absolutely stunning, please don’t think any differently!

2) At the posh swinger parties last fall were the first time that either the lady or I have ever been nude in a group of people. It was unnerving as hell for about 15 minutes, and then it just switched to being so comfortable and natural. Both of us have some body image issues of our own, but it was a great learning experience for us!

I know couples who don’t even hang out naked together…which is really sad. I suppose that could be a good starting point. Be comfortable just hanging out watching TV naked with your partner.

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Mon-Mon 2013-08-14 14:38:21

I completely agree! When I first got became polyamorous and first started swinging, I couldn’t imagine being naked in front of any size group of people. Now I am usually the first one naked and I try to find a fun, non-intimidating way to encourage people to join me. It helps break the ice and get the party started, usually. Sometimes, I’m the only one naked for a bit…

I found so much acceptance via these types of parties and it does make you feel beautiful.

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ChasH 2013-08-14 17:42:22

You look great! I’m surprised you report body issue problems, but I’m glad you overcame them.

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David Wraith 2013-08-15 01:51:23

For what it’s worth, darling, you can always be naked around me.

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Stephen 2013-08-15 04:33:55

As you’ve learned over my years of following you here, I am rather outspoken, honest, and frankly lack any kind of filter.

So you can believe me when I say I like the shifting of your body. You are curvier than before, becoming more Botticelli-like without being as heavy as his art figures. It’s a lot better than trying too hard to be what you’re not, succumbing to ridiculous plastic surgery, and/or working out too damn much (Madonna anyone?).

Having said all that, there’s no WAY I would get naked in front of a bunch of people or do a nude photoshoot. I think it’s different for men who have let their bodies go, no?

Meh, probably not – you have a lot of friends on here without magazine bodies who gladly get naked with you.

Final statement: I’ve never said this, but I really do congratulate you and thank you for what you’re doing for the staid city of St. Louis, and for this blog over the years. I have learned much, you have made many people comfortable with difficult topics (just by being comfortable yourself) and you have thankfully tolerated me and my sometimes inane comments.

Seriously, thank you.

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Algernon 2013-08-16 02:08:59

Yes and yes and yes. One of the best, most healing experiences of my life was working for a period of time as a nude figure model. On one level, I learned about being naked in front of people in a situation that was not about sex or a medical exam; but in addition, I got to see the artwork inspired by my body and that was transformative. Can’t recommend it highly enough.

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Angelia 2013-08-18 23:57:08

Getting naked in public first occurred for me at a beat me in stl event. I was in the dungeon and wanted to experience the violet wand. That desire over rode my reservations and I took my clothes off , laid back and enjoyed the scene. When I opened my eyes and looked all around a crowd of smilng faces had gathered ,everyone looked entertained ,even turned on. I was shocked that I could draw a crowd. It felt so good and just like kendra said “free”.

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Jade 2013-08-19 06:21:50

LOVE this post, Kendra, and completely agree with you – getting naked in front of and with people is SO empowering. I credit getting involved in BDSM with my own “coming to terms” with my body, and learning to love it, in large part because we went to events where nudity and bodies of all shapes and sizes were accepted. Spending days nude or semi-nude at BDSM camp events furthered those feelings of acceptance of love of my own body. Being naked outside is a HEAVENLY feeling – everyone should try it!

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Lil Miss Cheeky 2013-08-20 11:18:29

Thank you for this post :)
I have been having this issue for a very very long time. And it’s not always easy, especially when you live in my country, where the ladies are generally petite.
I actually did the first. I took my photos, posted it online and really, all the comments from people I don’t even know made my day. But I still don’t feel comfortable of being naked in front of other people.

Until one day, a guy I slept with said “Hey, you know what, we really have to do something about the way you see yourself. You are beautiful” and just like that, he made it so easy for me to be comfortable.

It’s only with him though. I am still working on it, but there will be time when I stand proud naked because, hell.. I am comfortable :D

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Molly 2013-08-23 10:10:11

I couldn’t agree more with your thoughts here. Developing my own self photography has without a doubt given me a whole new and fair more positive self image of my body and all it’s flaws which I know are there but I have slowly come to accept as just part of who I am …. and I am sexy.

Mollyxxx

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