I see an illusion.
Before I tackle the subject of nudity, and how I feel about it in various forms and contexts, I need to take on an even bigger topic: body image.
This picture was taken last night, and it really is me. I see it and I recognise that it looks good. I look good. But it's not real.
For starters, those breasts? I am pretty much titless. Put me in a really good bra and cover it up with a shirt. Voila! The illusion of tits.
And the legs? People like to think that long legs are sexy, but really... I look like a pair of walking chopsticks. My legs are long and way too skinny. But put me in the right pair of pants — snugly fitted at the top, flared at the bottom — and I give the impression of long, shapely legs.
The worst part, though... That nice flat stomach? It's kinda real. Sort of. I do have a small waist and very little fat. My stomach looks great — in this two-dimensional image. Something about the curvature of my spine or the way my lower body connects to my upper body is... I don't know... off. My abdomen protrudes in an entirely unnatractive way. This is how somebody with a flat little stomach gets asked all the time when she's due.
I have a love-hate relationship with my body. There are parts of it that I love and parts of it that I hate. Sometimes, they're even the same parts. I used to hate my body. Just completely all-around hate. There are days when I still do. But I'm learning to accept it.
I'm getting there. The me that I see is not the same as the me everybody else sees. It's difficult to step outside myself and look at me without any of my personal biases.
And now I'm curious... What do you see when you look at you? How does it differ (in your admittedly biased opinion) from what other people see when they look at you?