I decided to do a bit of a personal experiment, and I have no idea where I'm going with it. It starts with a story I might not want my mother to read, but at the same time.. there's no shame in any of it. If anything, it taught me a wonderful lesson. Something I think more of us could learn to embrace. I'm just not sure how to share it yet.. nor do I know if I will, openly. It is still an experiment. I write about it because it taught me something.
I was going through old folders on my computer, cleaning things up, putting stuff on my hard drive; when I came across an innocent file named "taxes". When I opened it, I quickly closed it, nearly deleted it instantly, gasped out loud like someone might see what I had in front of me. What on earth? They were what someone might call 'intimate pictures' of myself; pieces of my skin, parts of my body, naked. Nothing racy, nothing raunchy, hardly anything to write home about. A simple preview of the shapes of my body, some soft light, an artistic 'sample' for someone special. Actually, they weren't half bad as I went through them one by one. Suddenly I asked myself, why was my first instinct to hide it?
One major rule that I had with sending these sorts of photos to people, was that I'd never send anything I didn't want others to see. I know dudes talk, people share, the internet is cray; so I didn't send anything that I'd be ashamed of showing, or something I'd later regret... so why was I on the verge of hitting delete as soon as found this folder? I was fixated on the opinions. Like it was somehow wrong, trashy, awful, tasteless... slutty. These are things we face as a society, and yet in the same go, we try to pump out the confidence awareness. Love the skin you're in? Whatever you want to call it. We are so mixed with our opinions, sometimes it is difficult to know how to feel about yourself.
While it made me nervous to do so, I decided to share some examples with some of my friends. Most of which are other artists and photographers. I was seeking an opinion, not about my body, or the possible sexual content, but of the piece itself. I originally photographed them as a piece of art, in a way. It's how I roll with photos of myself. I explore certain angles with light and shadow, how it can create a certain mood, when I find the right glow against my skin. Sure enough, they liked my photos. We discussed them, we even picked our favorites. Suddenly, I became really okay with it. I shared more, and more. Soon, I'd shared almost the entire folder. Weird. So weird to do so without really thinking too far into it. It's just skin. It's just a body. Yet, it's my body.
What I loved most about the images is that when I looked at them, outside of myself, I saw something beautiful. I even compared some of them to a painting I'd seen, of Venus. The curve of her hips, the paleness of her skin, her simple beauty. It was a really weird thing to compare myself to, because I mean.. it's Venus. Suddenly, I accepted it, and became really proud of myself; of my body. To compare myself to a goddess, unheard of. What an incredible sensation. I wanted to share this with other women, because we should all feel this way. We should love the bodies we have; imperfections and all. We are all goddesses, we just tend to have really harsh opinions about ourselves.
I decided to create a private profile on Instagram. No one can see it, it's completely private. I did it to challenge the concept of documenting them for people to see. How it makes me feel, how vulnerable it is to opinions and possible backlash. Yet, it is all for me. This is an experiment. I have no idea if I'll ever even accept the friend requests I've gotten. It's scary, and yet... that word... liberating. Why don't we love our bodies more? Why do we feel we have to hide them, or in my case earlier, delete them for no one to see? Not that we have to share them with the world, but hey, if there's a message to share that could help how we feel about ourselves.. why not share it? All I want is to embrace who I am, to feel lovely, unique, natural, beautiful, like a goddess. I'm in control of my body, and my world. It's surprising how it isn't as easy as it sounds. I'm terrified. I'm nervous. I ask myself why as I go. It's neat to listen to the answers.
I expect to get questions, to get opinions. Not everyone is going to love this approach. Who knows how my mom might feel to know there are pictures of my body on the internet. I never show my face, I never show my ... ahem.. flowery bits. It's all just how I feel in a certain light. I mean, one day that light is going to hit my body differently, and I'm going to continue to change each day as life takes me. I figure we all need to embrace those moments, with ourselves, and appreciate what we've been given while we have it. I'm going to be an old leather bag one day and probably long for the body I have today. It's neat to look at it that way. It helps with embracing the moment. I'm all about right now, after all.
So, while I chose not to delete these intimate and artistic photos, I left feeling quite strong and proud of what I have. I am in control of who I share that with, and how I present it. It's pretty cool. I've never loved my body before until this moment. It's cool what you can learn just in one day.