Female, 28, San Francisco:
1: I am enrolled in an extremely rigorous and stressful medical program; because of the demands on my time and energy, I rarely feel I have much control over my life and feel trapped within the confines of the academic setting. I am tethered emotionally and physically to my studies.
Interestingly – and unexpectedly – because I am stuck in this “bubble” of school, I feel impervious to most outside influence and consequences. In other words, I could run around naked, jump off cliffs, fly to a random country for a weekend, get married, or pose naked for a photoshoot, and I am dulled to the effects because I live in a bubble.
I know this is temporary and because I am still getting used to this life, but I wanted to test my hypothesis, so to speak, and prove that I really have no feelings one way or another about being naked.
2: From a clinical perspective, mine is is just a naked body. But of course it is impossible to be completely objective about your own body.
I am proud of my hard-earned strength and flexibility. I am proud that I am increasingly comfortable with recent weight gain after years of wasting my cognitive faculties on maintaining a lower body weight than was appropriate for my particular genetics and frame.
I have learned to trust my body completely; it wants to have a solid ratio of fat to lean mass so that I have fuel for my high-energy lifestyle. It wants to eat real meals.
3: If I had done this photoshoot two years ago, my thoughts would have likely veered towards “How are other people seeing me? Am I hot? Do I look thin?”
But at the photo shoot, surprisingly, I found myself maintaining a good deal of objective clinical perspective: “Ok, another human body, I see them all the time.”
I did select a pose that highlighted strengths (flexibility, breasts) and covered perceived weakenesses, but I mostly wanted to help make art. I thought it would be valuable to see a girl doing a full split with her breasts dangling out, but with no sexual undertones: I am wearing a mask, my hair is frizzy and unkempt, and my feet and hands are a bit ungainly. I am just a body, in a pose that highlights what I think is the best thing about my body. Being able to do a split is something not many people can do, and I believe that the most natural, normal, healthiest thing for a human body to do is stretch and contort, and move.