Learning To Be Naked

Posted: August 11, 2012 in Uncategorized
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At this very moment I am laying naked on crisp white sheets, fresh out of the shower, enjoying the cool breeze of my fan. It is an absolutely delicious feeling. You may think my motivation for sharing this piece of information is to be titillating or fresh but let me assure you it is not.  I am having one of those moments where I have been given the gift of pure gratitude and grace.  So profound is my recognition of this gift I have been given that I am quite sure my world will never look exactly the same again.

You are probably asking your self, what in god’s name could be so earth shattering about a state of nakedness?  If you are then it is because you are one of the lucky ones to whom this state does not carry with it any particular baggage; but for me, the fact that I walked naked from the shower, through my house and remained unclothed for any length of time, is nothing short of remarkable.  It is proof of a level of healing that I wasn’t even aware had occurred.  And in a strange way, it is evidence that a very old, very deep wound has finally closed, and in turn, it has taken the sting out of a much fresher cut.

I spent twenty years of my life with a man who used words as weapons.  I have carried the things he has said to me every where I go like tattoos on my skin, like scar tissue from a terrible accident. One of his weapons of choice involved my appearance.  I was told on a regular basis how fat and disgusting I was, covered in cellulite, gross to look at.  He would whisper in my ear, “guys may think you are pretty but thats only because they haven’t seen you naked, they dont know about your fat, your scars, your revolting body.” This was said to me so often and with such hatred that I saw the person he described when I looked in the mirror.  No amount of compliments or attention from anyone else could erase the image I saw.

This perception of myself, so firmly implanted in my psyche resulted in an inability to be naked in any place other than the shower.  I spent the bulk of my adult life paralyzed  at the thought of walking without clothing from my bedroom to the bathroom even if the whole house was empty.  I couldn’t look at my own body and the feeling of standing up with nothing on repulsed me.  I needed to be wrapped in a towel, a bathrobe, anything to rid me of the sensation of being exposed.

When my husband and I finally divorced I was rid of a great many demons but the image of my body as disgusting could not be exorcised so easily.  He sensed this and continued to remind me at every opportunity how untouchable I was.  I overcame so many fears and difficulties when I was finally on my own, was incredibly  brave in so many ways and yet I still wrapped a towel around me the second my clothes came off.

Fast forward to almost four years later, I have spent most of this spring and summer nursing a badly broken heart.  The man who I fell deeply in love with after my divorce, the man who I thought was the person I would spend the rest of my life with, had told me that I was not his “happily ever after” and ended our relationship.  The past few months have been filled with a whirlwind of emotions; I have been hurt and angry and sat for far too long on the pity pot.  I have spent many days unable to get out of bed, and an equal amount of time on a dating frenzy hoping to erase him from my heart.

I resented that I had wasted 3 years of my life with this man and I was furious with him for hurting me when I had already been through so much.  I was certain it would have been better if we had never known each other at all.  Some of the cruelest words to ever come out of my mouth were aimed at him during this time and I am ashamed to admit I took some pleasure in his pain.

What does this sad break up have to do with being naked you ask?  The thing is, he is the reason I was able to walk to and from the shower wearing nothing at all, he is the reason I can lay here in that state of undress for any length of time.  It is because of him that I can look at myself and see a perfectly acceptable body, scars cellulite and all.  It didn’t happen right away, I was barely aware that it was happening at all, but in our time together, his kindness and sincere love for me slowly changed the image in my mirror.  He would look at me and tell me how beautiful I was, how desirable, how perfect my body looked just the way it was.  Over time I gradually began to see myself the way he did.  The angry hateful words I wore like shackles began to fall away.

This is a gift he gave to me and no one can take it away.  He has marked my soul in a very permanent, beautiful way.  Knowing this allows me to look at our relationship not as a waste but as an important chapter in my story.  I am still sad that it ended but I am grateful as well for what it gave me.  I am changed, in a very meaningful and powerful manner, and right now that is all I need.


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