Most of my life I have felt more comfortable with men than women. I made friends with the ‘dudes’ and always had a few around to hang with, talk to and make me feel beautiful and valued.
When it came to connecting with women, I walked the tight rope of both desiring to belong and fearing I wouldn’t be accepted. I felt sure they would see my flaws and expose me as anything but ‘normal.’
I remember my first Bodysex workshop and how excited I was to join the group of women, to see all the unique bodies naked and the beautiful variety of vulvas.
Despite my excitement though, the morning of Bodysex all my insecurities rose to the surface.
In an anxiety driven obsession over my appearance, I delayed my departure and missed lunch. For two hours I fussed over my looks, trying on several outfits, applying makeup and even packing extra jewelry and a separate change of clothes to wear afterwards.
Wearing the same clothes twice in a day wasn’t good enough. I needed an extra change to look fresh before the day was even up!
This was totally ridiculous of course, but my mind was clouded with the fear of rejection. I was terrified they would call me “skinny” as I always had been called growing up… or that they would judge me some other way. Bodysex is done in the nude though, so all of my preparation was meaningless and I knew that.
I just couldn’t help but think that maybe if I looked ‘cool’ enough when I walked in, they wouldn’t see the outcast I really was.
Carlin, who has assisted Betty the creator of Bodysex for several years, says she can always tell a woman is extra nervous when she shows up in designer clothing.
But because of the nature of Bodysex, I couldn’t keep my fabric armor. No one going could. To grow we must lay down our masks and surrender to our authentic selves.
That principle is at the core of the sacred and powerful sisterhood Bodysex creates. We come together equally vulnerable. And lift each other up in that sensitive place, instead of competing. To take a step into the unknown together can still be vulnerable though… and scary.
When I closed my sweaty palm on the door to Bodysex that morning, my heart pounded with decades of terror I was not enough.
The hostess answered the door fully nude, with a bright smile and tits out. And I was ushered into the changing room – or rather, the undressing room – to remove my fabric armor.
I remember looking around wondering if there was anyone to see how cutely I was dressed before it all fell to the ground.
But the two women in the dressing room were already half nude and only getting more naked.
So, I let go of my fabric armor.
Everything came off and I made my way to the circle.
A few women were already sitting nude in the circle. At least I wasn’t the only one!
Less than ten minutes passed before I realized being naked was no big deal.
I looked around taking all the women in. We all looked around at each other.
There were so many different types of bodies. All of us were so unique. It was amazing!
Each woman had a beauty and diversity that was fascinating.
As the weekend passed, I heard women share stories that reminded so much of my own, my illusion of being alone was broken. Every woman had her struggles and many of us had the same fears and insecurities. We cried a lot and held each other.
I remember one beautiful moment in particular. Another woman was there who had the same lean body-type as me and we were similar in age too.
During erotic recess we sat next to each other and locked eyes. It felt like an eternity we gazed in each other’s eyes, both of us still engaged pleasuring ourselves. In our gaze we passed silent information, affirming each other for all the hurts and trials we had both known, seeing the other for the powerful human she was.
My story is a common one for Bodysex. We live in a world that pits women against each other. We are taught to compete to be the sexiest, the most beautiful, desirable and the coolest. We are not taught how to love and accept each other unconditionally – let alone accept ourselves.
Only when we are given permission to honestly share our stories of struggle and insecurity, can we start to see a different picture. Sharing our stories and taking off the masks, including the fabric one, lets us see how much we truly have in common.
You can’t hate someone who bears the same wound as you, nor the same joy, once the cloak of stoicism has been removed.
I can’t hate myself anymore either.
I can’t hate myself for feeling insecure sometimes and fearing I might be “too skinny” (or whatever criticism my mind is fixated on).
Every woman no matter her size, height, shape or weight has feared she is not enough. We are all challenged by this material culture which constructs artificial grades of “Prettiest, pretty and not pretty enough.”
Comparison is a struggle every woman faces. Together we can drop comparison and discover new ways of relating as women, banding together to heal the wounds of insecurity and ‘not-enoughness.’
I’m holding a Bodysex workshop in May. Read more about Bodysex.