Columnist Opines About Body Acceptance
Love Your Bare Body
Trevy Thomas – Bella Online
January 31, 2006
Feeling comfortable in clothing is a whole different world from being at ease naked. I’ll bet if you could follow a confident looking woman on the street home, watch her strip and glance at herself in the mirror, you’d see another attitude all together. That former confidence might just melt into criticism, disgust or simple avoidance of her own reflection.
I have had all of those feelings. But I’ve also enjoyed a sense of absolute pleasure in looking at my own naked body. There have been periods in my life when I’ve felt awfully good about my shape, and the lifestyle I was living that provided it. For me, those times are not about strict diets or excessive exercise, but occur as the result of having a really healthy approach to life. The reward always shows up in my skin and physique. Having known the opposite existence, I’m truly grateful when my healthy body appears and, therefore, very glad to see her in the mirror, the shower, or the eyes of my lover.
Times like that I’ll walk around naked every chance I get. Now I feel compelled to add a disclaimer here. There are parts of my body that I wish were different, even at those happy naked times, and there is not a thing I can do to change them. It is not about weight, or a big nose, or small breasts or any of those things women are sometimes tempted to hire a surgeon to “fix”. I was born with a crooked spine, one that decided to get more crooked with time, and one I cannot stop from twisting without a rather frightening procedure I have no desire to submit to. So it is easy to find fault in the mirror. And yet, despite this, I have found a fierce pleasure, at times, in looking at my own nude body. What a lovely surprise this has been.
What I find interesting about this is the discovery that it is possible to find joy in your body even though you may still be judging it. It can happen in many ways. Maybe your goal is to lose 100 pounds, and along the path, you’ve lost 50. Those lost 50 pounds make you feel like a new woman. In fact, you look like a new woman, and have probably become one of those confident girls walking down the street. Yet, you still see yourself as a woman who needs to lose 50 pounds. You may notice that need when you look at yourself naked in the mirror, but you’re also very (perhaps more) likely to notice the beautiful changes that you’re proud of. So you’re criticizing and appreciating your body at the same time.
I tell you this because I believe it’s important to enjoy our daily lives, just as they are right now, with all their imperfections and beauties lined up side by side. I’m afraid if we wait until we’re perfect to enjoy our bodies, we will arrive at the end and never have truly valued the lovely physique that carried us through. What a shame that would be.
I much prefer the gratitude I have for my body in the healthy-self state, but I don’t want to forget that there are beautiful things about it in any condition. And there is a special joy to walking about the house naked, whether or not I have an audience, feeling so aware of the true shape of me, the things I like and even the things I don’t. Because it is me, the real me, and once I cover myself with clothes, it’s a little easier to be disguised, to lose a little of my true self.
I am humble naked. It is hard to be anything but when you have no armor. And the joy in liking what you see is all the more rewarding when you see yourself without disguise.