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Shoot the Moon

I’m wondering about bodies, naked bodies.

I’m not very comfortable with mine, never have been.

This is not some big revelation. I’ve joked for years that my goal is to one day be comfortable enough in my own skin to moon someone, and the one caveat is I must be sober, not that I’ve ever been nearly inebriated enough to seriously entertain the notion, not even in my stupid-drunk college days. This may seem l weird, even obscene to some, but I feel like there might be a little freedom waiting on the other side of the moon.

Lyle has spent a lot of time mooning people – especially when we were in our twenties and early thirties. I don’t know if it is a man thing or a voyeuristic thing, but either way he seemed quite entertained by it. He would call down to our neighbors from the second story window to the driveway below that we shared. They would look up and in broad daylight they would see his moon aglow. Part of me admires him for this act. Perhaps, it is a subject best reserved between me and a professional, but it’s just a body, right?

I was confronted with the whole notion of naked bodies again this week at the gym. There is woman I see, and when I say see, I mean really see, in the locker room. As I hurried, late for a yoga class, toward the water cooler to fill my bottle, there she was. Stark naked, dripping wet, quenching a thirst. There were other people in the room seemingly oblivious to her presence. This was a woman who no one would be pining to see in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue or on a pin-up calendar or on a creased photo pulled from some pubescent boy’s wallet, which probably makes no difference, but I’ve always told myself the only thing standing between me and public displays of nudity was a perfect body.

I didn’t want to reveal my squirming insides so I stood and waited behind her while she extinguished her thirst, wondering where I should let my eyes rest.

I’ve been thinking about this woman a lot, and I’d even like to talk with her, but I’m not sure how to broach a conversation about her nakedness while she’s naked, and quite frankly, I don’t know if I’ve gotten a good enough glimpse of her face to be able to recognize her with her clothes on. I would like to know if she has always been that comfortable with her body or if it is something she discovered through the course of her 60-plus years on this earth.

Skin. I know it’s the biggest organ of our bodies. I’m comfortable with my heart and lungs and brain (well sometimes) and definitely my liver and pancreas. It’s time to show some affection toward my skin, maybe we could even become friends since I can’t seem to manage without it. As I mulled this over, I decided that I might need a picture to accompany this post, and I thought about what part of my skin I might be most comfortable with sharing right now.

My hands are exposed for all to see all day long. It’s impossible to hide them and still get stuff done. People see them at work and play, and I even let my dog lick them on occasion if I have a tasty remnant of a grilled cheese lingering on my fingertips.

But even as I tried to snap a photo with my iPhone, I became a little wary of the images I shot. Man, my hands are getting wrinkly, and ooh, there are new blotchy age spots materializing every day, and what about that bluish green vein that pops up on the surface of my hand. Enough already.

I’m going to just keep at it and report on my findings, perhaps not every day, but I will check in at least weekly with my discoveries. Who knows what will happen, where this will lead or even how long it will take, but I want some documentation of the progress. I’d also love for you to weigh in here and leave a comment on the blog to let me know what your comfort level is with your skin. Is a body just a body? Are you as comfortable with seeing a strange one (or yours) naked as you are fully dressed?


7 Responses

  1. I’m not comfortable with my naked body either:) I always admired my husband, not for his body (tee hee) but that he is so comfortable in his skin. He does his morning stuff, like shaving, in the buff. Maybe it is a guy/locker room comfort thing.

    I am one who doesn’t know where to look if I am around naked women. When I got on my spa vacations, there is a lot of it. Like in the hot tub! Trying so hard not to have my eyes end up on boobs but they just rise to the top of the water!

  2. Yeah, I have a feeling we’re not alone. When I was in Japan a few years ago, I learned that they still have public “bath” houses. I really wanted to go, not because I thought it would be fun – more like torture, but I really would like to be more comfortable with the whole thing.

  3. this is a great post and it’s so interesting that you’re able to track your thoughts and perceptions so well. I look forward to reading more and you continue this…
    I tried being “naked” once when I was at a workshop in Northern California at Esalen. There are these natural sulphur baths, on a cliff over the ocean and it’s common for people to go in naked… So, I tried it.
    Oh my gosh! I was so uncomfortable and when these two older guys got in the water it just was so unpleasant. It all felt as bad as sulphur smells!
    But I did it! When I was still young enough to be firm even though I was overweight then too…
    I’m also a massage therapist so I’ve experienced lots of different kinds of people’s comfort level close up. I prefer the modest…
    A body is never just a body because there’s a person inside of it and there’s always a lot going on inside.
    sorry this is so long… I guess I’ve got more thoughts about this than I thought!

  4. Teresa, Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I really appreciate them. I like what you say…a body is never just a body because there’s a person inside…and a lot going on inside. How true.

    I’ve also found myself wondering about what it would be like to be a massage therapist. The very first time I went for a massage, it was just on the face, neck and shoulders. I was really uncomfortable, but I have a feeling that was more about the energy between me and the dude giving the massage. Then the first time I had a full body massage, I found myself very distracted by wondering what massage therapists think if they get people on their table who have poor hygiene. I have since been able to enjoy the experience, but I do have to consciously let go. Sigh…body issues. I will get a grip on this one day…keep reading and keep commenting. 🙂


  5. I have always mostly avoided looking at my full body in the mirror. Now that I’ve lost substantial weight, I find myself looking inquisitively more often — just to see the changes. But, I still use the exercise as a means of being critical and wishing for something different.

    Sometimes I think I will never be happy. If it isn’t layers of fat it is folds of extra skin. If it weren’t folds of extra skin it would be blemishes and varicose veins visible through the skin. If not that, it would be stretch marks or scars…

    I just have to look for ways of being satisfied. It will probably come in the form of the realization that I am a healthier person, heart and digestive system at least!

  6. Jennifer,
    You’ve hit the nail on the head, and that’s what I’m trying to figure out… there has to be a level of contentedness or acceptance or what? I’m not sure, but I’m thinking it comes from within.

  7. […] the lady I told you about who was standing naked in front of the water cooler when I first joined the Y? I want to know if people like her were born […]

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