The black two piece costume clung with damp neediness to my curvaceous form. I say curvaceous as a polite way of saying I’m at least five kilos over the appropriate weight for someone of my height/age. To state it bluntly, without my usual layers of Melbourne Black my bathing suit showed my rounded stomach, my big thighs and small boobs. I was as close to naked as I could get with my closest female friends and family at the hot springs.
Getting naked, letting it all hang out, had been a theme of the last year of my life. Physically it was a challenge, but getting soul naked is even harder.
When I’m with new people, or dating, I put on a grand show. I smile, laugh at their jokes, compliment sincerely ‘Wow – that’s so interesting’ even when I’m bored out of my being. I project whatever I think they want to see/hear, whatever will make them like and accept me. I hold back any negative comments, any snide remarks, or conflicting opinions. I don’t let them see anything of me.
My mantra at the moment is “I am able to share my true self with others.” And partly this is why I began a blog, to get real with the world. To stop the show. To reveal more than is wise. To get naked with y’all.
When I went to Europe recently, I ended up dating and I dared myself to let the mask dissolve…a little. I refused to madly fill gaps in conversation. I deliberately broke the rule “Ask people questions and they will think you are interesting.” I just sat back, chilled and actually thoroughly enjoyed myself.
In London, a friend taught me a mantra “Say what you mean, and mean what you say.” And that’s another piece of advice I’m doing my best to take on board. I only had a limited time in London, and an acquaintance wanted to catch up. Instead of making up a nice excuse and lying, I decided to be honest and tell her (nicely) that I didn’t have enough time, and that I really needed and wanted to spend the small amount of time in London with my closest friends.
In the end, honesty feels better than dishonesty. It means I am beginning to communicate from my heart and soul. There are still things sometimes I don’t know how to say, or I worry about hurting others in my honesty. But overall getting raw, authentic and naked has been empowering.
Penelope Jane Jones.