Why I LOVE taking my clothes off, and you should too
Why I LOVE taking my clothes off, and you should too.
What does it mean to be naked?
What does it mean to be stripped of everything you thought you were, only to be left standing bare?
"In order to find anything, one must lose everything" --- Scary isn't it?
Who am I when I am left with nothing?
Every September there is a week long festival that takes place in the Matong State forest of Australia's dusty outback. The festival is a branch off event of Burning Man, found in the Nevada Desert. The similarities are uncanny, we survive on 10 basic principles of the Burners (follow http://community.yerdle.com/the-10-principles-must-know-rules-for-burning-man-newbs/ for the full break down). The first two principles are as follows.
1. Radical Inclusion
Anyone may be a part of Burning Man. We welcome and respect the stranger. No prerequisites exist for participation in our community.
Burning Man is devoted to acts of gift giving. The value of a gift is unconditional. Gifting does not contemplate a return or an exchange for something of equal value.
And my favorite (if you could favor)
5. Radical Self-Expression
Radical self-expression arises from the unique gifts of the individual. No one other than the individual or a collaborating group can determine its content. It is offered as a gift to others. In this spirit, the giver should respect the rights and liberties of the recipient.
To begin, I am going to tell you a story that takes place in the Matong State Forest. The place, Burning Seed. We have survived together in the desert for a week now. Embracing the 10 principles of Burning Man, co-creating a space where we are, as we are.
Gathered around the effigy burn, you hold your hand on your heart. You're apart of something. Feelings of gratitude arise. When you look around the paddock and see hundreds of beautiful faces lit up by the ablaze, you fall so deeply in love. How did you even get here? How is this possible? Feelings of community and support take over. Grounded in yourself. The energy here is some of the strongest you have ever felt.
The burn has lasted for over an hour now. You, and thousands of others have remained silent for the better part of the ceremony. The silence is nurturing. In this you are able to seek within the moment, within the self. Memories arise, friends and lovers of the past. When left alone in silence we often face our deepest fears. We untie the knots in which we lived in ignorance with for so long. Nothing but breath, this is where you leave your past to heal.
Moments like these bring clarity and reassurance to the journey. Surrounded by love. Surrounded by fire.
When the wind blows, dust tornado's take flight in the flames. The Universe is sharing it's dance with you. Smiling, crying tears of release. Close your eyes. Breathe.
You know those moments when you feel like you're exactly where you are suppose to be?
This is one of them.
Opening your eyes, you are given a gift. A letter, wrapped in the most beautiful ribbon.
"This gift is yours to burn. Here you leave what no longer serves you well. Burn."
(We left a number of things in our gifts. Here we burn our insecurities, burn the pain of our past, burn abuse, jealousy, rage. Burn the broke childhood. Burn the shadow. Balance light. Forever thankful for this moment.)
One by one, burners bring their gift to the falling flames. Holding letter to heart, closing down the eyes, embracing this moment. Breathe. And the letter falls to fire.
The burners take a step back, and embrace hands. No one speaks. No one needs to. You are all here, together. Sharing this moment. For the first time in a long time, that alone is enough.
So what does this moment have to do with the naked self? What do these three lessons have to do with being naked? Sharing YOU. Everything that you are, and everything that you are not. Accepting the moment for what it is, and not what you may want it to be. I am able to give more, without expectations. I am able to accept others for who they are, when first I accept myself. I am able to gift openly when I am am the gift itself. I am able to express openly, when I accept others to do the same.
This is the moment I found the courage to BE me again. This is the moment where we were left with nothing, and... Everything.
Stripped of everything I had no choice but to embrace who I truly am. Embrace this moment for what it is, and not what I wanted it to be.
Remember when you were a small child and you frolicked naked? You weren't restricted to age, gender, or your physical appearance. You were you.
One by one, the clothing came off. In time, you joined. Fearful at first. What if they look at me? They will see my flaws? They will see I am not... Perfect. I am not one of these people. I am too insecure to be here...... I do not have this forever ever beauty that they speak of.....
So what made you do it?
Here's what made me do it. The child self. In this moment I saw a little girl named Katelyn. She used to play without boundaries. She wasn't restricted by her thoughts, she was freed by her imagination. I wasn't going to let her down now. I wasn't going to let her be silenced again and again. I came out here for this very reason.
So did you.
Before you know it there are hundreds of you, dancing naked around a fire. Here is your tribe. Everyone is free to dance as they please. We stand naked, together. Free of judgments, free of this repressed sexual energy that society has projected onto us, free of everything that has ever held us back.
Men and woman of all ages. Dance. Embrace. A few supportive butt slaps as you bypass the clothed crowd (here's the gimmick they ASK first!).
Bringing us back to this present moment. Over the past two years I have found myself naked more often then not. As time passes I am finding myself more and more comfortable in my own skin. With practice comes acceptance.
When I strip away the clothing that covers my body I feel free. I feel as if I am a small child again. Frolicking through the playground. I sense this is a way of communicating with the child self again. Embracing her and her innocence again.
It's as simple as that.
So why is it that this makes so many individuals uncomfortable?
Time and time again I am informed by the online community (facebook) that my photos are being reported for nudity. Yes, I am naked in them. My nipples are blurred. Most of them are from my modeling portfolio. And, if you took the time to ask me about them, you would come to learn that in these moments more then tits were shared. Tears were shed. Hearts were mended. Self was found.
It took me a long time to feel comfortable enough to share these photos. To share my naked body with the world. We've been taught that to do so, is to be shamed.
I am not ashamed of my body. (Say it with me).
Thankfully, I have spent majority of this summer without clothes on. That's right world. BARE naked. You see me for everything that I am. I haven't worn a bra in weeks, I haven't dyed my hair, my makeup is smeared, my legs are bruised, I am covered in the mud that holds our world together. I am a mess. My legs are unshaven. I am not society's mold of a woman.
I am embracing the naked self.
These naked experiences may have humbled my perspective of the naked body. They say to deprive anyone of anything is to become perverted by it. It's no wonder that we live in a world where the naked body is shamed, we are raped, abused, and nit picked for everything we are not.
Having been naked for the better part of the past two years, this experience has allowed me to embrace who I am. How often do you take off you clothes, look in the mirror and embrace the person that you are? You deserve self love. You deserve to love the person that you are, fully.
When I was younger I would look in the mirror in disgust. I hated what I saw.......
I was ashamed of my body. I was underweight by society's standards. I was considered "sick" and to show my body resulted in years of bullying. So I played pretend. I used to wear layers upon layers of clothing so I looked fuller then I was. I had to fit the mold to fit in. It broke my self esteem, and it is something I continue to struggle with today. I stuffed my bra, covered my face in makeup, wore clothing that didn't fit, and hated the woman I was.
I was different looking (we all were). I was too tall, too skinny, I wasn't enough as is. So I felt the desire to play pretend. To be accepted, I had to fit in. (Sidenote - 1. Radical Inclusion: Anyone may be a part of Burning Man. We welcome and respect the stranger. No prerequisites exist for participation in our community. You can see the cross over here. EVERYONE is accepted as they are).
As a youth had you ever felt bullied because you were different?
Over the years I have learned that YOU as you, is enough. That is why we are gifted this body. I have learned to strip away the insecurities of the world around me and face my fear of self. Face the fear that I was never good enough.
"In order to find anything, one must lose everything"
Quiet often I hear my peers express their concern that "my nipples are hanging out".
I should be ashamed of my body or something?
I know this. I can clearly see that I am not wearing any clothes. I can clearly see that all I have in these moments is the skin in which I bare. We are taught throughout the years that to find yourself standing naked in a room full of people is a NIGHTMARE. Why? This is not a nightmare of mine. It's clearly the opposite. I am comfortable enough to love my body AND yours, with or without coverage.
I have reached a point where I know that I am to be accepted for who I am. Everyone deserves that much. Everyone of us deserves to love ourselves first, to know that they are beautiful and in this moment they are enough.
I've danced naked in a drum circle with thousands of beautiful souls, I've shared nipple hugs, sometimes I completely lose myself to the music and have no choice but to take my clothes off and just be. Last month I took part in a naked hula hooping contest with *GASP* children! Men! Women! ALL AGES! I am most comfortable standing naked in a room full of people.
This is not a nightmare, this is a dream.
John Lennon 'A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is reality.'
All of these experiences have been my little reminders that beauty is found within. We don't need external sources to justify our internal self.
Here's the BIG shocker, all of these experiences were shared in a NON sexual way.
Where do you draw the line between a small child playing in the mud naked, and a grown woman dancing in the dirt naked? When did we become so repressed?
I am tired of being made out as an object. I am tired of society telling me how to live, dress, and be. I am tired of being seen first for my body, second for my soul. Just because I am considered "attractive" I am to perceived differently. I am hassled by men that want to be with me because of my body. Because I put my naked self out there. I refuse to be molded.
We are creators of our own lives. They are no rules. You are the dreamer of your own life.
So what do you see, when you see me naked? Are you seeing me for me, or me for my nipples, breast, and bare naked bottom.
What do you see when you see yourself naked? Is there any difference?
You are not just a pretty face. You are not your body. You are not your clothes. We are not the things that society percieves us to be. I am not your woman to objectify. I am not your man to objectify. I am not your woman to discriminize. I am not your man to discriminize.
If I don't want to wear clothes, then I shouldn't have to.
I believe in a world where everyone is comfortable in their own skin.
A world where we are seen as equal first.
I believe in a world where I am accepted for who I am. And you are too. I believe in YOU. From, Bare. Naked. Soul