It seems to me that a lot of my posts have their beginnings in a piece of literature I share with my creative writing students. This post is no exception. Below is my response to the beautifully lyrical Waiting for My Clothes. I wrote this before my recent post (;grace) and yet it is an appropriate follow-up (with additional text) to that piece.
Naked is so much more than only wearing your birthday suit, more than being starkers, more than nudity. While naked can be a physical state – a lack of clothing or other type of socially accepted camouflage – it is also an emotional state.
Naked is vulnerable.
Naked is fragile.
Naked is truth.
Naked is terrifying.
Naked is a state we spend most of our adult lives trying to avoid.
Rather than accepting our vulnerabilities, we pretend to be who we aren’t. Rather than facing our fragility, we prop ourselves up with bravado and bullshit. Rather than telling our truth, we lie – to ourselves and others. Rather than acknowledging our fear, we hide who we are. Sometimes we hide so well we lose who we are and become what others expect us to be. We bow to peer pressure and adopt the prescribed social acceptable camouflage – a feather from this ideology, plumage from this philosophy, fragrance from this brand name. We disguise ourselves to the extent of not being able to recognize ourselves.
We are afraid that if we share our authentic selves, if we present our naked reality to others, then we won’t be loved, we won’t be accepted. We are afraid of being alone. We are afraid to stand out. We are afraid of being rejected. And so we lie to ourselves and others. The more we lie the less of our true selves remain.
My recent post (;grace) is my first foray into facing the world sans socially accepted and expected façade. It was my trumpet sounding “Here I am world! Take me as I am!” And I have to tell you – I find it terrifying. It is strong – this urge to run and hide. It is powerful – this desire to don camouflage. It is overwhelming – this yearning to untell my truth.
But my hope, as I embrace this authentic, honest, real life I am building, is that more than anything else, it will be liberating. While I don’t think I’ll ever reach a point where I revel in my nakedness, I do hope to become comfortable with and in it. It is going to be an interesting journey. I’ll keep you posted.