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Serious question for you.

How do you feel about being naked with a group of friends?

Fear of being naked.

Something that's become clear to me is that I have body image issues. I place far too much emphasis on my appearance than I should, and I think it's blocking part of my healing.

I like being naked. If I'm around the house by myself, it's a pretty good bet that I'll be naked unless it's either cold or I'll be going outside. I'm not particularly modest about my body, but if there are people around I'll usually cover up because I don't want them to have to look at me naked.

Because I'm ashamed of the way I look. That little bit has come to light very recently.

Or not really a little thing at all. Big thing. Big whopping frustrating thing. I've said before that I want to look sexy and be appreciated for my looks, and even at the time I wrote it I was concerned about how shallow it was, and how it made me feel that I felt that way. But as I've been dealing with issues (and yes I have been actively trying to deal with some mighty big things here), this one comes up as the biggest impediment to self-acceptance. And it has been exacerbated by a couple of relationships gone bad in ways that tend to feed back on the negativity.

So I want to do something about it. I've been considering joining a nudist/naturist organization, but I hesitate because while I tend to be fairly comfortable in social situations among friends, I'm pretty shy and awkward with groups of new people. And the thought of heading into unfamiliar social territory naked is the stuff of nightmares. And I'm sure that there are some other issues about the whole "lifestyle"-- from what I can see, a lot of nudist organizations shy away from single males. And I'd really rather not commit to joining a club without actually spending some time there first to see if I'd actually like it.

Am I the only one who is like this?


( 25 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 6th, 2005 10:51 pm (UTC)
Oh heck no.

and to tell you the truth, like it or not, even REALLY GOOD PEOPLE, ones who know that body shape doesn't have much at all to do with what's inside, will in fact react to you differently if you get closer to the range of "ideal body shape." and of course everyone else will too. losing weight doesn't mean that you'll get what you want (whatever that is) or that everyone will like you, but it does mean you'd probably have a significant jump in self-esteem. I've seen this happen over and over again, I've done it myself.

mind you, some people will avoid me regardless of what I look like because I have a sense of vengeance and a sharp tongue, and it wouldn't matter how cute I am. Likewise, some people will learn to know and like me regardless of how uncute I am.

I'm gonna guess that bodyshaping has been a big long difficult struggle for you too, and that you're instead at the point of wanting to accept the things that aren't going to change. yes? I commend your deciding to like your body. I don't always have the strength of will to like mine. I do find it easier when I can make it do what I want it to.
Apr. 6th, 2005 11:48 pm (UTC)
I'm not giving up on bodyshaping, but it does occur to me that I'm never going to be "pretty". And more to the point, I realize that it's significantly unhealthy to abuse myself over the way I look and that it's getting in the way of other more important things.

I'm just having some difficulty figuring out how to get there. Knowing that I need to accept my body and actually doing it are worlds apart.
Apr. 6th, 2005 11:59 pm (UTC)
I accept myself in stages. My hair, my eyes, my laugh, etc.

Hell I still don't accept the whole package and have had events sent my self image back a few stages recently.
Apr. 7th, 2005 12:51 am (UTC)
But how do we fix this? I've been doing a lot of web-research, and I see a lot of "learn to accept yourself for who you are", but not how to go about doing it.

And honestly, I don't think that having a really great body is gonna do it. I think there has to be some way of learning self-acceptance, some approach to take that doesn't involve surgery and drugs.
Apr. 7th, 2005 02:34 am (UTC)
How do I fix it?

Years and years.

Little things. I felt unhealthy so I got exercise.

I tried to redifine my body image from what I think others want to see (and how I don't look like that) to what I think is healthy and the things I find about myself that are attractive.

Course having someone else to tell you that all the time helps heaps but I don't know cause I've never been there. To me it's some bizarre zen thing where suddenly one day you reach spirital enlightment and think 'My ass is not fat and I am actually one hot toddy'.

Then I'll glow and float around and have any man I want.

Then there will be flying monkeys.

Monkeys are cool.

I like monkeys.

I'm sorry, what were we talking about?
Apr. 7th, 2005 04:37 am (UTC)
Moments of enlightenment. The A-HA phenomenon.

If I could figure it out, I'd make millions.
Apr. 6th, 2005 10:57 pm (UTC)
BEcause I'm evil
I like being naked. If I'm around the house by myself, it's a pretty good bet that I'll be naked
Makes me think twice of sitting on your couch.
Apr. 6th, 2005 11:41 pm (UTC)
Re: BEcause I'm evil
That's why they make towels.
Apr. 7th, 2005 01:53 am (UTC)
I'm too reserved to ever be comfortable with my body around people I know. I avoid doing outside activities in the summer partially for this reason (the other big ones are too many bugs and it's too hot).

The only time I've been comfortable with myself in a state of undress (other than sex) has been when I'm backstage doing a costume change.

I've gotten better with it over time, though. I guess I've just slowly realized that, in the global scheme of things, it's not that big a deal.
Apr. 7th, 2005 04:34 am (UTC)
Actors in general seem to be more comfortable being in a state of undress with their castmates. There is something about being in a show together that tends to create a bond of trust more than any other group I know.

BTW, I need your home address.
Apr. 7th, 2005 01:39 pm (UTC)
One Fourteen West Thirty-Eighth Street
Minneapolis Minnesota 55409
Apr. 7th, 2005 05:35 pm (UTC)
Now we can send Eldogo stuff in the mail.

What kind of stuff? I don't know yet.
Apr. 7th, 2005 10:45 pm (UTC)
Dirty pictures are usually pretty good.
Apr. 7th, 2005 02:55 am (UTC)
There was a time I was comfortable skinny dipping with friends, or something. But, for the most part, I'm not comfortable naked. Even around the house, I'm not naked. I usually have at least panties and a t-shirt on.

The hardest part for me is that when I did look like the textbook 'hottie' I didn't know it. I thought I needed to lose ten more pounds, my tummy pooched out just a little too much, my calves were too chunky.

I look back at photos from that time and want to kick myself, because now I'm much heavier and I hate the way I look. I can't seem to discipline myself long enough to lose the weight. I at times think I need to resign myself to being a reasonably cute fat girl, but that idea just makes me loathe myself more.

And, I'll never accept myself as I am, because there's no excuse for me not to get back to where I was in 1994.
Apr. 7th, 2005 04:31 am (UTC)
See now, I think you are hot now. A lot of that has to do with your intelligence and personality, and it's the package as a whole that I appreciate. You're a damn sexy woman.
And I know that doesn't really matter because your image of yourself is not tied to how I see you. It's how you measure yourself against an improbable standard. You're measuring yourself against how you were at a time when even then you weren't happy with yourself. It's like no matter what, you will always feel like you could look better.

I'm probably in better shape physically now than I have been since college. It's not good enough, and it won't be. I will never be as good as I want to be in my mind-- I can always need to be thinner, or more muscular, or have more hair, or straighter teeth... it never ends. Even when I know it.

I know I'm smart, bright, funny, creative... but I'm still hung up on looks. And I want to change that. I want to be healthy, but I'm not going to be pretty. And I want to be able to accept that.

I don't know how to get there from here.

I have some ideas, but putting them in practice is something else entirely. And I don't know if they'll work. But I need to do something.
Apr. 7th, 2005 05:10 am (UTC)
I'm fine with nudity. When I exercise at work, I use the same locker room as the male faculty members, so it took a while to get used to seeing some of my coworkers naked.

Being naked among friends wouldn't bother me. I've gone to nude beaches in Europe and skinnydipping in lakes with friends and it was never weird. Just sitting around the house and watching a movie naked might be strange depending on who's there.

To be completely forthright, I should also mention that I tried to revive streaking when I was in college.

I waffle on body image problems frequently too and I really hate for people to see my feet.
Apr. 7th, 2005 01:16 pm (UTC)
What helped me be comfortable naked around people was when I was still a pagan and went to a skyclad ceremony. Everyone in every shape was there and after a while and didn't even think about it.

My friends and I walk around nude and in underwear around each other. I have the lumpiest body of the girls there but funny, it just doesn't bother me much anymore.

What is so ironic, is when I was in shape and looked wonderful, I hated to be naked even in front of boyfriends. Oh another thing that helped, was sleeping nude with an ex boyfriend....
Apr. 7th, 2005 04:43 pm (UTC)
I do have a little fear of being naked. But words that come to mind are "fun" and "liberating". I would be choosy about who I appear naked with. There would have to be a certain level of comfort. I vote YES on being naked no matter what your body type! (Yes, I know that is easier said than done.)
Apr. 7th, 2005 05:44 pm (UTC)
This is going to sound so text book self help. My apologies for that.

What works for me (when I do it) is this:

I catch myself thinking ::insert random stupid thoughts we say to ourselves here:: 'I wish I had a butt like that' or whatever. Then, I look in a mirror (if one is not available or it's a bad time to be looking, just think about it) and I take stock of myself. Really. Really look.

What do I like? What would I find attractive on someone else?
I have pretty eyes. I have a lovely smile. I've a tiny waist. Whatever.

Allow a moment to be content with that item.
After a while of consistant work on this, I realize just how often I find myself internally saying negative things that are destructive. I might not be totally in love with myself or my body. But, I start seeing just how much time I spend beating myself up rather than looking at what I do have going on that makes me a hottie.

PS. The question isn't how comfortable would you be being naked around other people... it should be how comfortable would you be sitting naked on furniture where they've sat naked... hehe
Apr. 7th, 2005 10:49 pm (UTC)
Hmm... good thoughts, though I think I still have some ways to go before I can look at myself in the mirror and think positively.
Apr. 8th, 2005 07:31 am (UTC)
try one specific thing.
Your eyes or dimples or... whatever you like.

Or, you could pick a relative you resemble and pick something about them.

I look like my grandmother when she was younger. And, I have found that i think some things are very pretty on her, when I look the same and don't see them on me.

Besides, I like you because you are smart and funny.
Since I've never seen you. I would never have that to base anything on. :D

Apr. 8th, 2005 11:58 am (UTC)
Oh, see, now you have me blushing. :)
Apr. 7th, 2005 05:55 pm (UTC)
Your body image
Might not be what you want it to be just yet...
...but your voice still makes my toes curl...in the good way.

So there.
Apr. 7th, 2005 10:54 pm (UTC)
Re: Your body image
Well, it certainly wouldn't do that right now. I sound like A cross between a vaccuum cleaner and Marge Simpson.
Apr. 8th, 2005 03:50 am (UTC)
I used to starve myself, and I still thought I was too fat.

Then I went through treatment, two divorces, and an enforced lack of exercise and gained weight. I think the fact that I couldn't lose weight either by sabotaging my body or by exercising was what made me start to cope with how I actually looked.

I like my body most of the time now. With clothes on, that is. I'm still uncomfortable with nakedness, and I don't see that changing any time soon.
( 25 comments — Leave a comment )

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