“you look better with the lights off” — or the naked truth

“I hope you don’t take this the wrong way.
Girl you look better with the lights off.”

Sorry Mr. Breezy & New Boyz, I think most would take it the wrong way. kindasortalike when you say “no offense buuut…,” the statement tends to indeed bring offense, despite your polite preface.

But let’s purposefully overlook the potential insult and examine what may be a newly-discovered-possibly-universal-so-earth-shaking-I-should-get-some-nobel-prize-equivalent-recognition truth: turn the lights off and we all look good.

okay, i’ll admit i may have exaggerated a bit on the novelty of this idea. it’s nothing new. neither is the idea that we (women) tend to worry/care/obsess more about how we look ((naked)) than our counterparts. Eat Pray Love has reflected on this some:

“Let me ask you something. In all the years that you have undressed in front of a gentleman, has he ever asked you to leave? Has he ever walked out and left? No. It’s because he doesn’t care! I am so tired of saying no, waking up in the morning and recalling every single thing I ate the day before, counting every calorie I consumed so I know just how much self loathing to take into the shower. I’m going for it. I have no interest in being obese, I’m just through with the guilt. So this is what I’m going to do, I’m going to finish this pizza, and then we are going to go watch the soccer game, and tomorrow we are going to go on a little date and buy ourselves some bigger jeans.” -Elizabeth Gilbert

so why am i talking about this? well, life events got me a-thinking: how much does experienced vulnerability affect my happy? A tad vague, so let’s explore. [side note: I am going to refer to moments of nakedness, not in a voyeuristic-I-like-being-naked-seeing-naked-or-talking-about-naked type of way but more in the as-human-beings-we-inevitably-have-moments-of-nakedness-and-it’s-okay-to-talk-about-it sense. and there’s some obvious self disclosure here. no judging. or do. i’m me either way.]

I think i’ve talked about body image and happy before, my struggles with this, the struggles of others, the need to redefine biutiful. And, I’ve talked about excuses and resolutions and finding healthy ways to feel good.

So, i work out. and ((try to)) eat healthy.

again, why am i writing about this?

well, i guess i’m just trying to figure out the quintessential question, “why?” Why do I/we/others spend so much time on attempting to perfect the imperfectable (or arguably already perfect) physical appearance? I won’t attempt to delve into the plethora of potential psychological posturings. But basically, I wanted to know if it’s more for me or for others. I may have come up with an answer. This came through a recent adult interaction with someone who put obvious effort into their physical self ((picture obliques, abdominals, triceps, biceps, and muscles i don’t know the names of because i wasn’t aware they existed)). Yup, folks, not gonna lie, it was nice. What was even nicer was the following, a conversations that took place:

he asks: “what are you thinking?”
I, in my typical fashion of avoiding sharing my actual thoughts reply: “nothing.”
seconds later, i decide to share my actual thought: “i was just thinking i’m kind of naked.”
we laugh at the no-shit-sherlock nature the statement, truth and comfort and kindness making the vulnerability surprisingly simple.

i didn’t explain to him that that was the first time i didn’t find the nearest thing to cover my vulnerability with. or that i didn’t reach for my clothes and rush out for once. i just layed there, vulnerable but not. it was sorta amazing. while my motives for focusing on my physical may have initially been guided by others & negative thoughts, I found out at that moment that others & negative thoughts don’t matter. what matters to me (& honestly to that other person if they’re worth the time and moment) is my comfort, my acceptance of myself, my happy.

it feels good to feel good about me. in no way am i even close to the sculpted abs, toned arms, or sought-after physique i once strove for or have found myself encountering. and that’s okay. mostly because i don’t look for it anymore. in myself, that is. in others, it’s welcomed and won’t be turned away but definitely not required:)

so let’s all go buy a bigger pair of jeans!…or continue working out and eating healthy. either one. but what i learned is that, whatever you choose, you gotta do it for you. not for them. aaaand if all else fails, turn the lights off.


3 thoughts on ““you look better with the lights off” — or the naked truth

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