Just a year ago, I dreaded the idea of turning 40. Just as a decade ago, I dreaded turning 30. Turning 30 was hard, perhaps because I was still in the crux of a life I didn’t want, trying to make sense of that life, and wanting desperately to get back to being true to myself.
Almost two years, I left that life I didn’t want and started over. I had built up my radio show, was a professional theatre writer, an award-winning composer, and mom to a cranky but wonderful tween. And while I didn’t (and don’t) have a car, a TV, or even a livingroom couch, I had my freedom. That was paramount. I was free. I AM free. And anything else is just crap to get through. But mostly I am happy — so much happier than I have been in the past 16 years, it really is unbelievable.
The purpose of the photoshoot was for a calendar submission. (Don’t know yet, if I made it in.) But just doing it was scary and invigorating. Though my male friends on Twitter constantly tell me my body is fine, I am still coping with this dual personality that exists within my perception of myself. I still feel 19. My body was amazing back then, thanks to years of ballet, theatrical dancing , belly dancing, and performing in Musical Theatre. Now, all these years later, after being overweight for years and having had a child, my body has that “lived in” look. Stretch marks. It’s all I saw when I looked in the mirror for the past 14 years. I saw my flaws and practically counted all the ways a man would never want me because of how I look.
Oddly enough, doing my Tumblr page has been a great source of readjusting my attitude toward myself and my body. For all the sex confidence I have (yes, I AM fabulous in bed! 🙂 ), the idea of being naked in front of a man again was almost terrifying. Since starting this blog, I’ve openly dealt with issues that I had only previously stuffed down inside me — to my detriment. Now that these wounds have been given the light of day, I feel them healing. Having done the photoshoot, other wounds surfaced, but already they are healing as well.
The day itself was a bit crazy. We had thunderstorms and flash flooding outside. Inside, I was trying to work, then get ready, shaving everything with a new razor that left razor burn in the most inopportune places. With the rain, curling my hair was impossible, so I had to use the curling iron to smooth out the Irish frizzies and tame the wild woman ends. I was worried about Chipmunk the Squirrel who had been more independent lately, but I was afraid the storm might bring back bad memories for him of his fall the day before Hurricane Isaac, when I found him. At one point, I had so many lamps on, I short-circuited the breakers to half the apartment. I asked the Universe to be with me as I flipped the breakers a couple times. Thankfully, there was light. Otherwise, the photoshoot would be a no-go, and I really wanted to do this ON my 40th birthday.
In fact, the whole day seemed to be a test of one kind or another, as if the Universe wanted to make sure I really wanted to do this, and how far would I go to make sure it actually happened. This need to do this on my birthday come hell or flash flooding’s high water was important to me. One thing I haven’t written about here is the slump I have been in for the past 6 months, a slowed down, introspective journey I had asked for to discover my Yin, but I had no idea how bad it would get. I will write about it soon, but it is a tale for another time.
The photoshoot itself was an eye-opener. The photographer was a friend from high school that I hadn’t seen since graduation. I had sent her info ahead of time of colors, set up, and what I wanted the pose to be so she would know ahead of time. Apparently, this was only her second nude/implied nude shoot, and it was very obvious within the first few shots. Also, the fact that she’s a size 0 made me even more self-conscious. At this point, I was thinking I would have preferred a male photographer so I could feed off the male energy.
In reviewing a few of the photos in the camera, she seemed not to know how to talk about my body, since my body is soooooo well-rounded. She even made a comment, “Yes, I can see how we want to do this differently to avoid that.” That was the rounded curviness of my breast and butt. I said, “Actually, I really like that. That’s exactly what I was going for.” “Oh,” she sounded surprised. All the doubt about my body came flooding back and it was difficult to get out of that head-space. I did do some actual nudes, but was so filled with self-doubt at this point, they will never be seen by anyone but me.
By 11:30 p.m., we were wrapping it up, finally getting some implied nudes I can be happy about. I’m not happy that I didn’t get a nude shot I liked, but hey, that gives me a goal for the future… with a male photographer. 🙂
All in all, it was a great 40th birthday that began with amazing orgasms in my bed (see picture at the top of this post), and ended with important insights into myself, my self, my body, and why I should never allow media, culture, or other people to affect my perception of my body or anything else about me.
Aroused and shutter-bugging,