The first time was a friend asking me to pose nude for her photography project because she was tired of having only thin women volunteer. She wanted my mama’s body. I wish I still had images of all the shots she took because this one isn’t representative, but this was my favorite because I look beautiful in a way I had not seen in myself before. She was working with the idea of how women’s bodies are traditionally used in art. In some I had fishing lures hanging out of my mouth and off my nipple rings. She created a large poster size image of me (and my boobs) for her show.
Then I participated in a project called The Body Objective. This was the late 90s, when we were just getting on the internet bandwagon and I think it was the first site of its kind. It was body positive and invited naked images from women around the world. It was membership based and benefited eating disorder organisations. I did two photo shoots with other women in a local garden and it was amazing.
Since then I’ve been to more erotic events than I want to count, as well as hot springs and other places nudity is welcome. What I’ve learned from being naked around others is that bodies come in all shapes and sizes and with wrinkles and cellulite and they are all still a wonder. There is no normal or abnormal – there are just bodies. The ones our society tells us are the best are a small minority compared to the rest of us, so why hold ourselves to that impossible standard?
This is part of why I’ve never hated my body. I’ve seen too many to think mine is abnormal. Maybe growing up with my Mom’s naked fat and thinking it was normal was the foundation for my body and fat positivity. Or maybe it’s my transgressive nature that simply refuses society’s body standards. Wherever it comes from, I am grateful for the freedom i feel in my body.