Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Getting Naked in the Name of Art (and Ego)

For the longtime readers of my blog...you know a few things about me (well let's be honest...you may know MORE about me than you ever really wanted to know...see the Everybody Poops post).  One of those things that you have been privy to over the years is my healthy sense of self.  I think it was probably a blessing that I have always been a legend in my own mind...it has served me in many capacities...

but last night...it was time to put my body self-confidence to the test.

About a year ago an email popped up in my inbox from our local arts center asking for "models" for their weekly art class.  Well, as I have always wanted to be a model in the official capacity and have long had NUDE modeling on my bucket list, I pulled up my big girl panties (ironic since it would require me taking them off) and emailed the coordinator.  That was 12 months ago.  I let his response set in my email inbox all this time.  Well earlier this month I finally told him I was ready.  He suggested I come one night and watch for a little while, as apparently holding poses for long periods of time is harder than it sounds.

So I went.

I was hoping that the model for that night would be an average folk.  But alas, in walks this girl who resembles a Greek goddess who practices yoga on Mt. Olympus.  Just great.  Well she got naked, hoped up on the stage.  I immediately tried to find a stretch mark...a cellulite dimple...a labia.  Nothing.  No flaws.


So I watched for awhile, decided I was gonna bring the heat to this gentle art folk, and booked my night.

January 30, 2017.  Just one day after my 8 year anniversary of my lapband surgery.


Here's how it works.  The class is free to the artists, they are just asked to tip the model. On average they say a model makes around $65.  I was going to do it for free!  The class lasts 3 hours.  For the first 20 minutes I change my pose every 2 minutes.  After that, I hold poses for 20 minutes at a time, with a 10 minute-ish break in between.  There were about 10 "students" last night.  Most were retired art professors or long time artists.  They were what you would imagine if one were to imagine such an audience.  There was a black mock turtle neck.  There was a pair of off brand Tevas.  There were some beards and some jazz playing on Pandora.  They were super sweet and kind and made me feel amazing.

So.  I arrive.  I take a selfie in the car and do a Facebook post.  I enter the building.

Someone says, "Are you the model"..

I say to this nice fellow "I've been waiting my whole life to answer that question...why yes!  I am the model".

They tell me not to be nervous, tell me there is a robe (not to worry, I have brought my own).  I wait and introduce myself to the people as they walk in.  Someone tips me $5 before I even take my clothes off because "I have the best personality"...

I am liking this already.

So I beebop into the bathroom and disrobe to put on the robe.

I beebop out.

Then, I have to make a decision.  The ONLY thing I was worried about...

...was the wattle...

Again, long time readers and my close friends...and some strangers that I have chosen to tell, know of that which I speak.  And while my mother, and probably my father, do not find it necessary to share stories of emergency poops or excessive labia, I feel like that if I don't bring us together as one...who will?

So I had some decisions to make before I took off my robe.  Do I tuck the fruit rollups up a little bit, almost like a drag queen hiding the kingly bits...or do I just go full ham wallet and let them be.  I kinda decided to tuck.  But the risk I was running was...what if mid pose, they free themselves and BAM...just like someone dropping rose curtains...they pop out.  It could frighten someone.  (Well, they did indeed free themselves, but luckily it was a sitting position where I had strategically placed my forearms as a shield.)

So it was time.  I took off my robe, stepped on the stage (which is about 3 feet away from my people) and started going.



Changing poses every two minutes at the beginning was the easy part.  Of course I had created a "routine" of sorts, so I was prepared to change things up. I stood...gave them the front.  I turned...gave them the back.  I sat...gave them a little of this...gave them a little of that.  After the first 20 minutes I got a 10 minute break and then came the 20-minute poses.

This is no joke.  I could be still.  I just kept thinking about this book I had read about Buddhist monks and how they can sit in extreme conditions by focusing on other things.

I chose to focus pizza and chicken nuggets.

Seriously.  Just like when we are supposed to be clearing our mind in yoga...all I think about is food.

At some point, about an hour and a half in, I did ask them "When does the pizza arrive"...I don't know how these people were not starving.  Next time I am totally bringing snacks.

During my ten minute breaks I would put my robe back in and make small talk.  Some of favorite bits of conversation were:

Person:  "Are you a swimmer?
Me:  No.  I lift.  Well...I am a mermaid but...
Person: Yes.  Your back muscles are very developed"
Me:  Oh.  Why yes.  Thank you.

Person: "So do you do this professionally"
Me? Nude model?
Person: Yes.
Me. Uh no.  This is my first time.
Person: Whhhhhaaaaat?  You are so good at it.
Me:  Oh. Why yes.  Thank you.

At one point, after one of the 20 minutes poses involving a chair was over...they actually applauded.  It was kinda like I was in heaven.  I was literally the center of attention, making money, and I didn't have to wear pants or shoes.

I did walk around during the breaks and look at some of the drawings.  They were amazing.  One of the gentleman was doing pretty big drawings and using color and I was in love with myself.  I might email him and ask if I can purchase one of his sketches.  Because he was focused more on form and not things like stretch marks or cellulite, I was in love with the shape of my body.

It really was everything I hoped it would be.  It made me feel like if I can stand naked in front of 10 strangers for 3 hours...then what can't I do?  And it reinforced everything I hope is true.  That confidence in your body is  not about being "perfect".  I don't think perfection is a dream  you should chase...it's about loving and appreciating what you have.  It's hard at times.  I fixed my tots but now instead of tube socks for boobies, I have cute perky boobs with scars.  I COULD have a tummy tuck to remove extra skin, but I trade it for a scar.  But because I walked in there and held my head high, pulled my shoulders back, let the bits fly in the wind, and stuck my ass out like I loved that sucker more than Cheetos (I kinda actually do)...and because I smiled...and was kind...and genuine...I don't think they saw me as a former fat girl with saggy skin and scars and cellulite.  I felt beautiful.  And strong.  And proud.

Oh.  And I made $110 in tips.

So I felt kinda rich too.

I can't wait to do it again.

I gotta start working on my next routine.

Love y'all.