By Kendra Holliday | August 14, 2013
Here’s how to get over your body image issues:
1. Do a nude photo session
2. Get naked in front of other people
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.
He ended up getting some really beautiful shots of us together:
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…
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.