It’s hard to believe that I am down to the last 5 days of this project! I’m more than a little amazed at where it has taken me. I’ve ricocheted between feeling like I had more ideas than I could possibly fit into 30 days of posts, and feeling totally stumped about how to keep it fresh — and between feeling like this was a meaningful endeavor that might be of some benefit to someone, and feeling like I’m fooling myself. Oh well. I guess that’s art! The main thing is to just keep doing it, and that’s what I’ve done, so I suppose I pass.
It’s probably no surprise that I have not taken exactly one picture per day (or one series of shots, trying to get just the right angle). Some days I created a few different images — and some of those images have been sitting on my camera roll for weeks, patiently waiting until I felt bold enough to use them. But it’s getting down to the wire here, and so I think that whether I feel brave enough or not, it’s now or never time.
The photos I feel most hesitant about sharing are the ones in which I look the most naked. What’s up with THAT? I’m an avowed nudist — meaning not that I want to be naked all the time, but that I don’t think there is a single thing wrong with being naked, or with seeing a naked body in a non-exploitative context (and honestly, wouldn’t it be great to balance out all the yes-exploitative naked or semi-naked images that are somehow considered to be acceptable by our society?). I think people should damn well be allowed to be naked if they so choose. Sometimes it just feels good to leave the clothes behind!
But knowing that not everybody feels this way — and some people in fact get angry or repulsed when their eyeballs are grazed by the sight of a nude person, especially if that person has a fat roll — well, I don’t exactly relish bringing hate upon myself.
On the other hand, I do not personally think these pictures are ugly or offensive. I actually think they’re kind of beautiful. And I feel like since this project is about seeing my belly from all angles — it’s only right to include them.
Marc David of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating says this about weight: You’ve got to love it before you can lose it. As with any symptom, challenge, or social problem, there’s a spiritual level at which fighting against the thing actually holds it tightly in place. For an unwanted issue to go away, one has to actually let it go.
I didn’t start this project with the intention of losing weight. Maybe that’s weird. I’ve certainly spent enough hours and weeks of my life obsessing over how to get rid of this belly of mine. Those thoughts aren’t gone — but I’ve come to be more interested in losing the self-criticism than in losing the pounds I criticize myself for having. I guess it just seems like a bigger, more worthwhile goal to me.
And anyway, hating the weight away simply does not and can not work!
Here’s something else weird:
As I said, one of the reasons I’m doing this project is to foster self love in the place of self hate. But when I look at pictures like these, I realize that I don’t actually hate them, or how I look in them. I actually already DO love the shape of this body and the way it relaxes in the sun. I’m just scared to admit it. I’m afraid of getting the smackdown, the imaginary crowd yelling “It is NOT OK to make us look at this!”
Well guess what, imaginary people? You DON’T have to look. If seeing a naked boob or a fat belly bothers you, look away. Or better, ask yourself why the hell you care. What is it hurting you? There are 359 other degrees in your circle of vision; no one is forcing you to look at me. If you are upset by this, I’m sorry, but it’s your problem now.
Deep breath, and, DIVE!
Excellent. And Beautiful.
Beloved Gayan, I applaud you so much for undertaking this project and for the creativity and perseverance to pursue it throughout the month. I am so happy to hear that you know we must love ourselves before we can allow ourselves to evolve in any way. A therapist once told my sister that resistance melts away with love, we can force it away. You are so far ahead of the game by coming to this insights as early in your life as you are. You are a great soul and you continue to enrich my life with each encounter. I think of our fun times together skinny dipping at Tricia’s pond. I agree with your thoughts on nudity even if I don’t act on them for myself too often. I can only keep saying thank you to you for being all of who you are. Much love, Joan “Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.”
Joan McElroy Writing, editing, research 20 Oakleigh Ave. North Providence, RI 02911 firstname.lastname@example.org 401-231-5835 (home/office) 401-569-8312 (cell)