I got a well-meaning dm from a friend who was wondering why I would post a(n appropriately censored, mind you) naked picture on Instagram. Am I losing my shit? Looking for attention? Am I aware how other people will perceive me? The answer to all three is not really.
At first, I was going to laugh it off and say "whateva. Potatoes gonna potate," but as I thought about my IG nudes and how there's probably going to be more of them (cue the cheering and jeering), I figure I might as well unpack this topic before I carry on.
Are you trying to get likes?
This one is funny, because I have a very small IG following. If I was trying to get likes, I would be all over the place, following for follows, then dropping the people once they followed back, so my ratio of followers to following looks cool. Then, I'd take the camera to the gym with me and quarter rep some squats with the phone propped under my cho-cha. Then, I'd present a totally fake lifestyle, where everything is perfect and beautiful at all times, with generic hashtags like fitspo, instapic, instafollow, bootie, sexy, liveyourdreams, etc. And you wouldn't see me looking like shit every day without a stitch of makeup on. So no, I'm not trying to get likes. I'm just posting a moment in my day, or something interesting, or something lovely.
Aren't you worried about what people might think?
Honestly, it does cross my mind on occasion. Some of the people who follow me are friends, family members and teammates. I'm sure my brother has no desire to see my naked butt pop up in his feed, and some of the guys I'm grappling on a daily basis might be uncomfortable at times. (Or maybe too comfortable? I probably don't want to know.) But I'm 38 years old and I'm pretty much done twisting myself up into a weird, contorted ball because someone's sensibilities, somewhere, might get shaken. I'm a grown ass adult that doesn't need anyone's permission to be whoever the hell I am. I'm not for everyone and that is okay.
Are you losing it with this midlife crisis thing? Is this going to become a trainwreck?
I'm not losing anything. I'm finding myself again. For those of you who haven't known me long, or just met me within the last decade, you may be unaware of my artier, edgier, younger days. This probably isn't as shocking to people who've known me a long time. I am in no danger of a wreck. I'm stable, I'm responsible, I work hard and I'm very good at letting storms of emotion pass over me and through me, while I carry on. So, I might get naked. I might get wild. But I won't get stupid. No worries.
So why are you doing this?
First of all, the naked body isn't a big deal to me. I was an art student. I've seen and made a lot of arthouse film and photography. I've sat through life drawing and painting classes. The Color Atlas of Human Anatomy is one of my favorite books. On top of that, fitness is a passion of mine, so it's fascinating to see how the body changes once you start sculpting it. I'm not so emotionally attached - I see my body as a machine or a canvas. I look at other bodies in the same way, both clinically and aesthetically. I see half-naked people all the time at the gym, dressing for class, nipples popping out of stringers, cleavage spilling from a sports bra, a dick outline in a pair of spats.... I don't think that much of it, unless there's something extraordinary going on.
When I started my account, it was two years ago, for the Bodybuilding (dot) com annual transformation challenge. So being about fitness and showing bodyparts was on from day one... Hence the word "FITNESS" in my handle. This isn't the place for kittens and children and pretty layered scarves and cray adorbs goat totin' cuteness. It's not a cookie-cutter fitspo page, either, with green smoothies, Lululemon photo shoots, and generic motivational quotes. It's just a woman, who became well aware of her mortality and the preciousness of life, so she got up and started fighting and loving and exploring and being authentic. Because, what good is it do die and never have made a ripple?
If you can get down with a wild old woman on her way to becoming a rad, punk rock Maya Angelou Patti Smith artist fighter lifter seeker and one day silver fucking stone cold fox Grandma.... Hang out. If I offend you, or if my smokin' hot buns give you the vapors, the unfollow button is right over there, homeslice. I won't be offended. Most likely, I won't even know.
I'm not here for people looking for more squat vids. I'm not here for people who want to see an immaculate life. I'm not a one-trick pony manufactured to fill a space or be a thing for you to mindlessly slap a like on. I'm just a woman, stretching out, finding my voice and calling out for my tribe. Where you motherfuckers at?