Friday, 4:30 pm. The first real spring day of the season. The sun has shifted and as I sit on the leopard bench preparing myself for the shoot, I wonder: Why am I doing this?
The truth is, I have been waiting for this moment for months, a year, even. Since I decided to do this project. This is it, I think. Here we go.
The air has cooled and most of my body is in the shade. I feel the breeze on my shoulders. I am waiting for Novel to finish setting up the camera. A part of me wants this to be over, and my mind zooms ahead to when we are finished shooting and I can put my clothes back on. As I sit there, naked, I feel totally exposed. Nervous. Vulnerable.
The feeling of vulnerability can be quite intense. It ranges from a flutter in my chest to full-on panic. I tell myself I am safe, and there is no threat of danger in Novel’s backyard. After all, it’s just us, right? Just me and my girl. And my bare breasts. And thighs. And crotch.
In preparation for the shoot I tweezed my eyebrows, used hair remover on my mustache, shaved my pits and bikini line. But the truth is, it doesn’t really matter. It can’t save me from this moment, sitting here, butt ass naked. With nothing to hide behind. With all of my perceived flaws, internal and external, out there for the world to see. I feel like my insides are showing.
It has been a while since I’ve done something that felt this scary. Where I wasn’t hiding in some way, protecting my feelings. I am reminded of how little I actually allow myself to be completely exposed, only revealing a bit here and there. How much I actually worry about how I look, how I sound, what folks think of me. I feel out of control. It is uncomfortable.
But there is something else, too. A feeling of freedom, a kind of liberation from all that I think defines me in some way. An opening. A call to enter myself, fully, real. This is me and there it is. I am awake.