A year ago, an inside-out beautiful woman named Mish decided it was time to do something drastic in order to learn to really celebrate her body. So, she snapped a photo of her hotass, scantily clad self, wrote truths all over it, put it on her blog, and BLAM! the Exposed movement was born.
I hope you’re all familiar with it. If you’re not, head on over to the Exposed page of Mish’s blog Eating Journey to learn more about its evolution. This page will also link you to the 60 other bloggers (including moi) who participated in the project over the past year.
I was invited by my now Cyber-BFF Mizfit to do a guest post on her blog, and I surprised myself by saying Hey, I’d like to do an EXPOSED post! I was still finding my footing here, learning to trust my voice, and basically practicing authenticity by erring on the side of, er, exposing. Exposing a LOT. And? Doing it by using a lot of colorful language and provocative vlogs. So, joining the ranks of the exposed bloggers seemed a logical next step in that discovery process.
Over this past weekend when I went back and reread my original exposed post I cringed a little here and there at just how hard I worked at being honest.
I think my heart was in the right place. And the message I was trying to convey would still be the same today. But now, all these months and experiences and posts and conversations later, I think I can say it in a different way. Maybe with fewer outlandish words and a little more heart.
My first reaction to the movement was all Oh, I can do that. I may be anxious and wound up tight most of the time, but I’m not shy. And as sassy as I am, I’m not really one to do a bunch of negative self talk. (Hold your horses, Fatass police. This is NOT an invitation for anyone to fire up their Gmail accounts to lecture me on being called MrsFatass. Seriously.) I just thought exposing myself would be a piece of cake. But when I snapped the photos and tried to put pen to picture, I had a hard time figuring out who that woman was looking back at me.
That exercise taught me that very few of the things I really love about myself are physical. The first traits I would list in a post celebrating me aren’t things you can see in a photo, they are things you catch on to once you know me. I could tell you a few if you like, because I’m not at all ashamed to be proud of them, but the point is, I really had to work hard find the mindset that would allow me to celebrate the physical body that was reflected in those photos.
It was tough to complete. But I did it. And I’m glad I did it. It set some things in motion for me.
Now, on the first anniversary of the Exposed movement, I’d love to stand here before all of you and say Hey! I’ve learned to celebrate my body the same way I celebrate my heart and mind! But really, I’m not sure that’s totally true. I’ve learned an absolute shit-ton about how to take better care of my body. How to fuel it and work it and make it strong. I take it to the gym now. I dressed it in bikinis all summer. I have pampered it. Allowed the pretty to come through. Embraced certain things about it that people have tried to make me feel bad about in the past, but that I kind of liked all along. And? I grew out my hair. I fluff it, and toss it, and twirl a piece around my finger just like a flirtatious 16 year old every chance I get. Feels good. I can’t imagine ever cutting it.
But I couldn’t bring myself to strip down to the undies for an anniversary photo. Just didn’t have it in me. I think, though, that sometimes sharing a quiet, real moment can be even more exposing than an underwear photo. So, here’s me, exposed, a year later.
**Thanks again to Mish for coordinating the original effort as well as the anniversary celebration. I think I can speak for her when I say that anyone out there who is interested in Exposing yourself, give it a go! And let her know so she can add you to the Exposed community.