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Naked in a crowd

October 29, 2012
tags: , ,

Trigger warning: Brief discussion of an experience that could have, but did not, trigger ED thoughts.

Last week I modeled for an art class for the first time. I stood in various poses, completely naked, for two hours while students studied, scrutinized, and sketched my body. It was an amazing, and difficult, experience.

Firstly, working with a photographer who wants to work with you is far different from standing in a room full of strangers who may want to do anything but work with you. This is the same issue I have with group shoots or classes that I’ve done. It’s horribly anxiety inducing, and yet liberating all at the same time (that’s minus the limbs that fall asleep and the aching muscles).

When all was said and done, I found the sketches to be absolutely beautiful. There’s something so different about seeing your body in a photograph versus a drawing or a painting (next time I promise to take photos).

The anxiety was enormous. In fact, as I think back on it, I feel a small panic attack start to well up inside of me. My hands shake, my heart races. How well could you deal with strangers staring at you in your birthday suit? While standing up on that stage, I felt a lot of body and self-esteem issues come up.

I found myself crossing my hands over my belly during breaks or wanting to cover up as quickly as possible. Were these students used to working with thin models? What were they thinking about me? Do they hate drawing a fat person? God, why couldn’t my boobs be bigger?!  Maybe this is why I’m feeling so much anxiety about my next class date.

To my credit I didn’t go home and restrict my food, I didn’t have eating-disordered thoughts or diet thoughts, I didn’t think about losing weight or getting a boob job. As much anxiety as I felt, I didn’t allow it to chip away at my self-worth or my love for my body. As much anxiety as I still feel when thinking about it, I haven’t allowed it to tear me down.

So, once again, I’m going to go, stand on that stage, baring my nakedness for everyone to see, whether they want to or not, and I will be proud of the pictures that emerge.

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. David permalink
    October 29, 2012 10:49 am

    You’re incredibly brave and Every post you make stuns me with your strength and commitment. You go girl!

    • hlkolaya permalink
      October 29, 2012 1:32 pm

      thank you 🙂 i truly appreciate it

  2. Duckie Graham permalink
    October 29, 2012 11:33 am

    Modelling for a life drawing class was a huge step in my process towards acceptance of my own body. You’re right, there’s nothing like seeing the drawings when they’re done to make you see the beauty in your own physicality.

    • hlkolaya permalink
      October 29, 2012 1:34 pm

      I know, right? 😀 but boy is it difficult holding those poses. lol

  3. October 29, 2012 3:48 pm

    Well done, I wish I had your courage.
    My understanding of life classes is that they prefer models who aren’t the standard skinny type, because they are more interesting to draw. The only one I attended had a very elderly man as the model, because they said that drawing wrinkles and whatnot is more challenging than a stereotypically “perfect” body.

  4. pyctsi permalink
    October 30, 2012 11:37 am

    I go through phases of considering doing this, but my back probably could’t hold the pose long enough atm and in the past I’ve always decided against it due to drive by idiocy, but I’ve also heard that the want more varied body types to draw which is what made me consider it in the first place.

  5. October 30, 2012 10:06 pm

    That’s pretty cool. Congratulations. It seems like a real milestone in self-acceptance. I would never be able to do it. I’m a nevernude.

    Peace,
    Shannon

  6. The Real Cie permalink
    October 31, 2012 5:55 pm

    I used to model for art schools to make a bit of extra money. Had a lot of dumb people suggesting that I was an exhibitionist–actually I’m anything but. I’d still do it, except with my lower back problems and damage to my bladder, I’ve also unfortunately developed a degree of urinary incontinence. Peeing on the posing area would be soooo not cool!

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