Freedom. Liberation. Independence.
This is a week when we celebrate our nation’s freedom and independence.
It’s also a week where I’m celebrating my own.
I’ve just experienced a week in Austin, TX that liberated me, strengthened me, and changed me in a fundamental way.
I am truly me now.
The act of casting away my clothes and standing unabashed in my own naked power has given me a confidence and peace I had previously only dreamed about.
It took me 60 years. And I don’t mind a bit.
This feels that good.
Birthdays. I never used to celebrate them. At least, not in any meaningful sort of way. Sure, I celebrated other’s, big time – my children, my siblings, my mom, my friends. I just never really felt deserving of being celebrated.
I do now!
Well, the magnificent middleness of life for one.
And the catalyst? My nude photo shoot.
I’ll admit that I’m more surprised than anyone.
A nude photo shoot can be liberating?
I grew up repressed. Suppressed.
If there is a Catholic girl, virginal, goody two shoes complex, I had it. I was soooo ready to get rid of it. Toss it to the curb. Burn it to the ashes.
I’ll never forget an interview I had. It was early in my podcasting/talk show career. I had reached out to Christie Hefner for an interview. I was shocked that she said YES! To prepare for the show, I watched the entire American Playboy Series on Amazon. I went into it with a lot of judgments. Those judgments soon fell by the wayside. My belief that these women were shamefully being used by men in some misogynistic way was misplaced.
What I learned surprised me. The women interviewed weren’t doing it for the men. They were doing it for themselves. They were tapping into a sexual, sensual part of themselves. For many of them, it was the very first time. The experience left them forever changed.
Now, I understand.
My recent trip to Austin was life changing. Somehow, I know I’ll never be the same. From the very first shoot on Monday morning with Kevin, I tossed my sheer bit of fabric meant to hide behind, off to the side. The rest of the time, I found myself totally nude or topless and, completely, utterly, comfortable. I was surprisingly at ease in front of a crew of three men and a woman. Shocking, right? No one was more shocked than yours truly.
The truth is, I’ve always been a bit of a prude. Not too comfortable naked with the lights on. Not comfortable showing too much skin. Certainly, not comfortable being in the spotlight and the center of attention while also being utterly stark naked!
My time in Austin, working with a master behind the lens like Kevin, was a turning point in my life – a turning point in my personal journey of Self discovery – a turning point for my personal liberation. Kevin’s comment to me after the shoot was, “What I enjoyed the most is that you were so at ease … you didn’t care about scars or wrinkles at all. You were just you.”
There’s an inherent irony here. Stripping away the inner layers has allowed me to let go of the outer layers, literally and metaphorically. The facade, the armor, is no longer necessary. What is? Only that precious “InFit” that’s been six decades in the making.
This shoot was never really about the outside. It was always about the inside.
Freedom. It feels so good!