Why I Was Naked
As news travels quickly about Tumblr’s new content guidelines, I find this to be the perfect time to reflect on why I was posting nude photographs to begin with because many of my self portraits will get flagged as explicit in the next couple days and I have to decide what my response will be.
This summer I found myself in strange set of circumstances. I was young, but feeling old. I was loved, but feeling lonely. I was a rules follower. I didn’t take or share nude photographs for fear of having them become public.
One day, I passed by a small mirror after getting out of the shower and toweling off. There was my ass. Pale, round, and to my eyes, perfect, captured in the silver surface of the mirror. So, I took a picture of it. I have used Tumblr since 2009 with a safe for work blog that collected quotes and color coordinated photos and I loved how I could capture my definition of beauty in the patchwork of content. I created a new account, set my blog’s settings as NSFW, and submitted the photo of my ass to another NSFW blog with just my age and a peach emoji as a caption. I felt so powerful. Something that was mine, both art and body, was going to seen by hundreds of other people. And it was.
I started to photograph myself more and more, because I found it dizzyingly exciting to do the thing that I had feared for so long- reveal myself. I blended my self portraits with other things that I found beautiful. For me, my blog has become like my brain turned inside out for the world to see. It’s my thoughts, my view of my body, the things my eyes can’t get enough of, the words that sustain me and inspire me. My photos, specifically, have healed a lot of damaging thoughts that I was torturing myself with, especially as I start to approach turning thirty. Capturing the light on my skin, my fat, my bones, has become something deeply therapeutic for me. The body image issues passed down to me by my mother, the years of being told to cover up, to suck in my stomach, to wear looser clothes, to eat less, seemed to fade. The years of hiding my desires, of layering up over skimpy lacy things, of keeping that hand sneaking under the panties to myself, of negating my sexual pull and design, seemed to fade. As I looked at my photos, I knew that I was beautiful and sexy.
I was also buoyed by the comments that I got. In a deluge of cursory compliments about my ass and tits, there were people that caught me up, with the most beautiful compliments, but also in discussions of poetry, literature, music, photography, art, philosophy, love, relationships, and life. I located mutuals who told me about their far flung homes, confessed their rawest secrets, and whose kindness distracted me in the best of ways from the emptiness I had been feeling during those summer days.
I think that it’s the inseparable blend of creativity and response that has helped me to gain a sure sense of strength and confidence that had previously felt like a flickering candle flame. I say the things out loud that I used to keep to myself. I post the parts of me that used to go unnoticed and undervalued.
So, I am, I was, naked because my body is mine. I am, I was, naked because it helped me to heal. I am, I was, naked because I am young, I am old, I am loved, and I was lonely. I am, I was, naked because I could be.
To my followers, thank you. To my mutuals, bless you. I’ll keep you all posted about what I plan to do, but truly, I have really enjoyed being naked with you.