Updated: Mar 24
My journey with my body is ever evolving; which, I am very happy about! As a little girl all I thought about was playing with Barbie Dolls and my other toys. I grew up in the church and everything I learned about my body was based in Christianity. Therefore, my body was a temple and the way to keep it that way, “because the flesh is weak,” was by giving my Soul to Jesus. My early understanding about my body was it didn’t matter, what mattered was God. Then puberty hit and suddenly my body was looking a lot different and feeling different too. This time my body was a problem. All my new hips, ass, boobs, and thick thighs could get me in “trouble,” of course. My body needed to be protected and I learned it wasn’t safe to be a girl. My mother protected me as much as she could, I was a teenage girl with a body of a woman, yet still very naive and I attracted lots of older men. Men that were too old to have relationships with me but did anyway.
My parents managed to find out about them every time, and intervene. Meanwhile, I was frustrated because I wanted to be free and live life like I saw on TV. TV programmed a lot of my early views about who and what I am, including what my body was supposed to look like. When I left home and went to college I was finally “free” because I was away from my parents. There was nothing I wanted to do more than experience everything college had to offer. In college I majored in Literature and minored in African American Studies, suddenly I was aware of the historical perspective of my body. College was not my first experience with racism, by no means; however, it was my opportunity to put racism in context intellectually. Now my body became a statement of protest. Whenever and wherever I showed up my body was an opportunity to show up as a black body that mattered. In college I didn’t just see my body as a temple for God but also an important representation of my culture and ethnicity. Loving my chocolate brown skin and all the unique parts of my body-- hips, lips, ass, and hair that expressed my blackness became a pleasure to celebrate.
I met my children’s father in college, our political and cultural views were super compatible and the inspiration for us to create a family together. Our first two children were born three years apart and then we got married and had two more children. Three children under the age of five and our fourth would be born seven years after our third. What motherhood does to your body is indescribable. Mostly because it’s different for each woman, some of the big general changes are the same; unfortunately, the devil is in the details, as the saying goes. For example my waist and tummy changed when I had my children, of course, that’s expected, but my shoe size increased two sizes from a size 8 to a size 10. I wasn’t expecting that, I also didn't expect to feel so removed from my body. I felt a lot like a dairy cow, nursing baby after baby, all my children nursed passed a year old. This however, started my peace with nudity. It was too much trouble to take my shirt off to nurse and put it back on so I was topless most of the time and loved the ease of nudity. I don’t blame motherhood, but I definitely did not take care of my body, in those years when my children were small. I rushed through each day, focusing more on my family than myself until I couldn’t.
2014 was that time, I lost my mother to an aggressive form of Cancer. She was admitted to the hospital and ten days later transitioned. I was devastated and disconnected from doing everything except taking care of my children. I stopped practicing Yoga, meditation, and talking to my friends. I went up to my attic, drank a bottle of wine a night, ate anything around the house, gained 30 pounds and cried all day long until I fell asleep. Most days I would spend my time in the attic grieving alone, privately, as to not bother anyone with my mourning. One day I stared at myself in my full length mirror and tried to see what I looked like, I didn’t look in the mirror ever during that time because I didn't want to see who I was, but this day was different and as I stared at myself deep into my eyes I asked, “Who am I?” over and over again because I didn't know. But I also knew what I wasn’t and this is the part that changed everything for me. I began to reveal myself by way of who I was not...my jewelry, my shoes, socks, clothes, underwear. I took every last piece of clothing off and stood naked and stared at every inch of myself and saw all of me. In fact, I not only saw all of me, mind, body, energy; I saw my mother and all we shared as black women, sharing blood and experiences. I saw my mother’s body, and mine. And all the life I’ve had...I saw my divine design in the mirror. It was a life changing moment that continues to remind me that I am perfect, whole, and complete with nothing but the skin I’m in.
The day I shed my clothes. I also shed a lot of years of old beliefs that don't help me care for my body, doesn't express intimacy and doesn't offer me pleasure. I stepped up my awareness of what adventures I wanted to experience instead of working for everyone else.The years I've spent as a nudist and in the nudist community have been phenomenal. I am going to be 47 this year and again my body is changing in ways that both surprise and fascinate me. First of all, wherever there is hair, it can turn grey. I couldn’t believe I have grey pubes! I also am Perimenapausal, which means my body gives birth in different ways. I feel my body shedding all that doesn’t serve me inside and out. Today I look in that same mirror and also in the mirror of each person's eyes who sees my naked body and what is reflected back to me is freedom. I can say I feel my body is a beautiful part of my soul and mind. They all work together in alignment with one another and I am safe, loved, and free. I am growing where I am planted and growing with each changing stage of this journey.
I like a lot about my body, I am overjoyed to feel that way. It’s always up for an adventure, I have a lot of energy and my body defies all stereotypes and social beliefs and norms. I am healthy, and still look and feel more youthful now than I did in my 20s. I will also add, when it comes to old fashioned aesthetics, what I like most about my body are my legs! I like that my body is a humble servant to my precious soul. I like that I have a healthy body and my thoughts are a reflection of the wellness of my vessel. I like that my body is a portal for amazing creativity and Divine love.