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zoe & the beatles

just a twenty-something vegan navigating healthy, positive living with a little help from her friends john, paul, ringo & george!

recently, a handful of bloggers wrote about hot button issues. like sex. and gay marriage. and listening to your body.

great posts. great topics. great discussions.

as you all know, i am all about honesty. and it seems some unspoken rule in the blogging world keeps many bloggers from moving past posts of their meals and work outs. personally, i am attempting to settle into my own blogging style. and, personally, i find it tedious and monotonous to document every meal or snack i consume or every move my body makes. i do not want my life to be about that, so i certainly do not want my blog to be about that.

i want it to be honest. i want it to be thought provoking. i want it to challenge.

so i bring you a typically “off limits” topic today, one which has been, oddly enough, the center of my summer: nakedness.

while it may not seem shocking to some, in most situations candidly discussing the body in all its facets can really create uncomfortable atmospheres and uncomfortable people. i dare you to say to word “vagina” or “penis” aloud and not receive a titter or a nervous smile in response. sure, a gaggle of people might react without flushing but it is an undeniable fact that something our bodies and our society do not sit well together. something about one of the most basic aspects of human life really unnerves americans; we are afraid of our bodies.

i understand it. when we stand without clothes, we stand in a completely vulnerable position. nothing is concealed. all of our “flaws” are put on display. no wonder so many men and women prefer their intimate moments to be in the dark. no wonder swim suit shopping kills self esteem. the less clothes we wear, the more we become aware of ourselves.

how did we get into such a state of disconnect? to associate nakedness with shame or embarrassment or a feeling of intense discomfort baffles me. why do we feel compelled to hide from our own bodies? the body is a beautiful thing. it becomes unbeautiful the moment you compare yourself to another body. every body is different for a reason. can you image a world derived solely of people you see in magazines and television shows and movies? let me spell it out for you: B-O-R-I-N-G.

in our appearance obsessed society, it becomes easy to fall victim to body hating. we are constantly told what to fix, what to tone, what to hate. in my own personal experience, reading magazines targeted towards women (cosmo, glamour, elle, just to name a few) never leave me feeling empowered. instead, i only feel more insecure about my body. suddenly, i question the thickness of my thighs, the length of my legs, the roundness of my belly, the size of my pores. suddenly, standing before the mirror dressed only in my birthday suit, nothing about my body pleases me. with the words of magazines still echoing in my head, i see only a body with way too much room for improvement, not the beautiful body i actually possess.

as a young girl i never felt comfortable in my own skin. early development left me wholly embarrassed about my body. no one else looked like me. i longed to be lithe and tall and flat-chested. so, in an effort to not stand out, i sunk into myself. i learned how to cover up. i wore sweaters like security blankets. tight shirts? no thanks. cleavage? talk about the most uncomfortable thing in the entire world. i wore loose fitting clothing. tank tops never went unaccompanied without a shirt or sweater . i was so conscious of my body, i refused to sit cross legged for five years because of the way the sides of my butt looked when i did so. as a result of such deep body consciousness, i obviously hated being naked.

but, as i grew out of my teens and into the early years of my womanhood, my ideas about my body changed. i threw out all the ideas women’s magazines implanted in my head. in fact, i threw out women’s magazines altogether. i wanted to create my own standards of beauty — without the influence of main stream media. (i am currently tv-less, as well. it turned out to be a wonderful decision!) and as i outgrew my previous ideas of beauty, my ideas about the body shifted, too. i started to see the beauty in all types of bodies, not just those our society deems acceptable (read: thin, tall). and i started to see the beauty in my own body. i started to fall in love with my curves. i started to wear tank tops sans sweaters and shirts (i live in tank tops now). i started to sit cross legged any chance i got. and, as of late, i find myself sitting without obsessing about how my stomach might look.

this summer i discovered the beauty that is my body.

candace left for san diego at the end of may, leaving me alone in our two bedroom apartment. i spent many nights in the company of only myself. i spent a lot of time lost in reflection and, somewhere in the middle of these pensive, reflection filled nights, i stumbled upon the realization of how little time i actually spent naked. outside of the shower, i covered my body at all times. i slept with clothes. i spent the day in clothes. i never let my skin breathe. so one night, i did something i never do: i slept naked. how did i feel? free. so, so free. so i did it the next night. and the next. soon i found myself wandering around the house dressed only in my skin (with the windows closed, of course!). and then i found myself on my yoga mat in a clothes-less downward dog.

and you know what all this walking about naked lead to? a confidence i never knew existed. an easy comfort of being in my own skin. an appreciation for the uniqueness of my body. by shedding my clothing, i shed my insecurities. i shed my embarrassment. i shed my shame. and i gained an an acceptance for the person i am. i still wonder why it took me so long to discover the awesomeness of nakedness. i still wonder why i spent so many years afraid of my own self. crazy, right?

and that’s it my friends. that’s my hot topic . that’s the nakedness of being naked. i hope none of you found this topic too personal or offensive. that was certainly not my intention. i only wanted to share with you another step in my goal of self-love and self-acceptance. i am almost there, i can feel it more and more each day.

now, tell me, what has lead you towards accepting the beauty of your body? because, believe me, your body? well, it’s beautiful.

namaste.

zoe.

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