Confidence and vulnerability, the most lovely space between two points will always be a curve.
For the inquiring minds...
I recently had a conversation about my pictures. The pictures where more than "normal" skin is exposed. Not bathing suit pictures, but the pictures that elicit people to respond. To take a second look, regardless of their reason. The question was posed as to why I did/do/will do it. Why would I want to expose myself in such a way? This is certainly not a new conversation, not the first or my last on the topic, but one that still plagues me. Not the question actually, but the ideas that provoke it. I will say here that there is absolutely zero, zilch, nil, absolutely NO cry for attention. In fact, where possible on social media I will turn the comments off (IG rocks!!). There is nothing in me that is seeking some form of validation or attention. If you are smart, you can deduce from that comment, one reason. But, there are several.
In this recent conversation, my friend listed several very good points. All of which definitely applied. The truth is there are not any reasons, that have any merit to me, not to. But, for shits and giggles, I am going to list a few here. If you stick around to the end of this, I do believe if you care to know, you will be satisfied with my feelings on the matter.
After he listed his thoughts on the topic, which I will get to, I interrupted with the most basic of them all. Before anything else, I simply appreciate the curves and lines of women. And, I love and appreciate my own, with fierce intensity. Brilliant in the creative aspect, the form of a woman propels the imagination into love, dreams, sexuality, appreciation, arousal, comfort and so on. Now, before you assume this is just sexual I will throw you a curveball, and toss in an obvious and easy example of breastfeeding. Unless you are what is referred to as "deviant" in personality trait (which is the last I will infuse this post with that level of explanation) think about the maternal softness of a woman feeding her child. The delicacy and curves of a breast would not be as beautiful if we were built like a dog for instance. You could also talk about the jaw, and how it frames a woman's face, or a shoulder and how it elicits touch. My point here is that women, on a very shallow, surface level are beautiful by design. It should be appreciated. As for me, loving this body of mine is as natural as breathing, but I will talk more about that in a second.
Okay, so guess number one, when I post pictures of myself that expose more skin than normal, is that I have nothing to hide. This applies for sure. I am about as transparent as you can be about most things in my life. I am the same person whether I am with friends, family, strangers, the Pope, whoever. I am a due North kinda gal. A straight shooter, real, authentic, raw. Of course, not everyone gets the depths of my mind, but I am the same person in all situations. Being that way provides an honesty, an ability to share at will. Nothing to hide as in what you see is what you get. It is not for everyone, and I am super okay with that, but as flawed as I can be, as fractured as my past has been, I am unabashedly me.
The next idea for when I post pictures of myself that expose more skin than normal, is that it shows that I am comfortable in my own skin. Now this one is especially applicable. I mean we cannot get a new body, we remain in this form all of our lives - we best make peace with it right? Acceptance, love, appreciation for oneself is something not all accomplish but is a notion that is so necessary for living your best life. How can we accept love and appreciation from others if we do not first do these things for ourselves? How can we be an example of understanding and acceptance for our children and others if we do not first believe in and love ourselves? This is not to say that I think my body is perfect. Quite the contrary actually. What it means is that despite its imperfections I am absolutely in love with this body of mine. Again, loving every inch of my being, because no one else knows every inch and detail of it the way I do.
This body, with scars and traumas. These feet who have carried me through miles of hell. My legs that have been strong enough to keep me standing even after being brought to my knees, that have gotten up time and again. These hips that birthed a baby, my beautiful baby boy. The same hips that allow me to dance and move when I feel it in my soul. This belly that grew my baby, that holds my food and delivers nourishment to the rest of my body. My back which has carried the weight of a thousand burdens and still straightens to help me stand tall. These breasts which were made to nourish my baby, yet symbolize sensuality, soft as a pillow for another to cry upon. My arms that have defended me, provided a livelihood, held my loved ones, pulled me out of the depths of hell, yet still remain open. This heart the resilient bad ass she is. Broken and left to die grew stronger in the cracks opening me to love bigger, harder, more. These shoulders that have shrugged and deflated with despair, that have shaken with fear and pain, have also risen and pushed back for me to stand tall and proud. My neck which was assaulted to the point of disability, yet allows my head to be carried high always looking forward. My face, head, hair all my appearance to the world. Holding my tears and smiles, laughter and joy. My eyes that have cried more tears than necessary but also hold all of the beauty I have seen in this world. My brain, my capability, my understanding, my desires, my mental health issues, my anxiety, and millions of memories.... my brain can defy me, but it is also the keeper of it all. Brilliant and still learning. This body I love is certainly a comfort to me. A constant. This body has endured and survived.
The last suggestion he mentioned when I post pictures of myself that expose more skin than normal, before he let me confirm or explain my own side was that it does show my imperfections. And yes, this is a truth. I have never, will never consider myself even close to perfect. Perfectly flawed maybe. But the bareness of skin only shows the physical flaws, not the deep scars. Not the brokenness of soul, not the stripped woman underneath it all. But maybe it is an attempt to show that.
For myself, the ability to be so bare, so raw lies in the equal vulnerability and confidence. The word strength is often applied to me, but it has never set well. Sure, it takes strength to overcome, survive, thrive, flourish, but it often does not feel that way. Often, it is simply the only option through. One of my biggest obstacles, my biggest and constant resolutions is to be more vulnerable with others. What is interesting is that I have written things to you all in this blog that tear through my soul, exposing details and ideas that break open my vulnerability and spray it out to the whole world - and yet people are hung up on the exposure of a picture.
The pictures have simply counted as a physical representation of what I share in my words, but I have learned that certain humans lack the ability to go into those depths with me and remain focused on the shallow physical. Those humans are not bad or wrong, necessarily, they are just less my people than others. The same ones who generally consider a woman responsible for a man's actions if it lets him off the hook a little bit. The type of people who would say the way a woman dresses, or what she shows, or posts, could ever warrant poor behavior bestowed upon them. The idea that we have to teach little girls to not entice or provoke just by being herself. That they need to be aware and protect themselves when in reality we should be teaching boys that they are not entitled to act just because they want to. A woman should be able to stand naked in a room full of men and not fear that her person will be assaulted. A drunk girl should be able to be in a short skirt and passing out in a corner and there be no acceptable reason to take advantage of her. I could go on in this way for paragraphs, maybe in another post, but the point remains that a persons skin should no more be a provocation that their words. Push yourself to be better folks.
Short and sweet, I post pictures of myself because I have no reason not to. Anyone who assumes or judges or dislikes must know I believe it to be a personal issue with themselves. There is no family member, friend, or lover that has room to decide for me what is right, wrong, too much or too little. Nothing I post is lewd, disrespectful, poor taste or even close to more than one could see on a beach front. It really should not be such a big deal in my opinion. But, I accept that that is just that, mine. I would love to hear from someone who could propose a valid reason not to that suits my life and experiences. I simply doubt any reason applies.
I am not asking anyone to accept or like my decisions but to know that I see you, and your comments, your obvious delusion that the site of my skin means something is wrong. It is laughable to me. I am simply explaining, again, that everything I post is personal, mine. Vulnerable yet confident. Naked, exposed, real and raw. Not for everyone, or anyone for that matter. Just me doing me.
P.S. yes I was redundant with certain lines, just to point out the absurdity of the topic. I love communication, when warranted inquisitively or for a need to understand and connect, but when it is in my defense, it becomes asinine.