Unfurled by Lynne Hurd Bryant
I did something this week that I found liberating. I should preface this by saying that I have lived in my little home in Wyoming for five years this week, and when I moved in here, I viewed it as my five-year cocoon. I felt that at the end of the time, I would emerge from the chrysalis a different woman, one ready for the world in a new way. I shed my chrysalis by shedding my clothing and posing in the nude for an artist friend.
I have had some mixed reviews, not about the painting which has been well admired and deservedly so, but comments about what is viewed as a brazen or exhibitionist act; to take my clothes off and allow someone to actually look at my body and interpret it on canvas. I am 50, and if I am not going to let it all hang out now, then when? I am not ashamed of my body, but I know I don't have a stunning figure...then again I never did. It is a vessel that has served me and served me very well. It has carried several lovely, healthy children and fed them abundantly. It has loved, touched, worked, nurtured and done the bidding of my heart and mind for half a century. For its contribution to me, and every life I have had the opportunity to touch, I celebrate it, in its natural state.
How many times have I heard "I could/would never do that!" from other women? Many times now. For the record, I was not embarrassed in the least. Afraid of judgment, perhaps, but not embarrassed. Had I been asked to discuss my innermost thoughts and feelings, that would be exhibitionist for one, and I would have felt extremely naked and very exposed, for two. That is the private part of me. There is nothing remarkable in showing one's body...two arms, two legs, a head, feet, hands, belly button...we all have those, right? It is not extraordinary, it is quite ordinary, when you think about it.
In the end, I am what I am. I am not ashamed of my stretchmarks anymore than I am ashamed of saying what I think, or telling a filthy joke, or being extremely direct. Being able to pose in the nude was really about being comfortable with myself. I know who I am, what I am, what makes me tick, what makes me happy, what makes me sad, and all points in between. I am comfortable in my own skin, even when it is all I am wearing.