Finding comfort without armor

Hi. It’s been two years since I’ve posted here. Just last month I decided to delete this site’s Facebook page, which maybe wasn’t a great idea considering I’m coming back here to write this one, possibly final new thing. But at least I still haven’t killed the site itself like I’d been considering?

Obviously, I started this site as a way to open up about my own body issues and let others open up about theirs. I thought putting myself out in the open in the most vulnerable way I could would help force me to accept myself a little more, and I thought I had the capacity to help others do the same.

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I burned out on things two years ago, dropping this and a webcomic that I was simultaneously working on. Sorry about that. I still feel bad about it, but in the time since then I’ve found other avenues to explore the same things I was doing here.

Last year, I rounded up some local artist friends and started a figure drawing group. We try to meet monthly, though it doesn’t always work out that way. At our very first meeting, though, I worked up the guts to model nude. It was only for about…not even a half hour, and it was uncomfortable and strange and I didn’t feel too good about it.

At our second one, there was alcohol. I felt a little better that time.

Early this month, I modeled nude for the first time this year, and I no longer feel any real discomfort outside of a concern that my friends are bothered by me standing naked in the kitchen during a break talking about anime. A couple days later, on July 4th, I skinny dipped in a friend’s pool in front of my girlfriend’s mom, who gave me shit for hiding in the corner of the pool for the first few minutes. Tequila was involved, but uh, this is what I’ve become now, I guess.

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I’m still scrawny, with weird acne and all too pale skin and hair that doesn’t really do what I want. I’m still a deeply insecure person, awkward in public, easily overwhelmed and thrown off my axis, always skittish and scatterbrained. I still feel like an alien, questioning every decision I make. Discomfort is the norm.

But then, for whatever reason, and I’ve been like this for ages, stripping down completely helps me collect myself and feel normal. I sort of addressed this in that last post two years ago. When I modeled again for my group, I tried to talk about it there, too. This is how I’m most comfortable, as backwards as it seems. For all that I feel like an exposed nerve all the time, somehow making myself more physically vulnerable makes me feel stronger. And being so in front of other people? Even better, weirdly. With my family and so many others, I feel like a turtle that’s completely withdrawn into its shell. I feel like I can’t be myself. So being able to get naked in front of friends, and talk about Godzilla movies and art and Street Fighter and other things, is freeing and makes me feel less like I’m some outrageous weirdo who should be closed off at all times, which is how the rest of the world makes me feel.

I’ve always had nudist tendencies, but damn, this is the first time I’ve really opened up about them and what they mean for me in a sort of public fashion.

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So…yeah. Modeling for this group of friends helped me out. A lot. And it’s gotten me to work up the courage to be even more open. I’ve posted the occasional nude selfie on Instagram from time to time, had a big party for my birthday in April where I wore a robe and party hat and underwear, eventually ditching the robe…and then the underwear when only a couple friends were left at the end of the night. Things like that.

And here’s another part of it: with our current, terrible administration that’s fueled by hate and discrimination, it…it isn’t much, but I decided this year, especially after coming out as pan, that I wanted to just…be weirder, more queer, be more of the kind of person that these people hate. It’s a little thing, I’m still working on it, but I want them to feel as uncomfortable around me as I feel around them.

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My big concern is that I don’t want my friends to be uncomfortable with it and worried about losing some people by being like this. I’m still taking small steps. It’s just a weird thing to bring up (“hey do you care if I take my clothes off because I’m feeling stifled and antsy?”), to try to get folks to understand, and I guess it’s why I’m writing this? I don’t know.

That’s it, I guess. I’m still on the fence about shutting this site down altogether, maybe next year. I’ve moved on to other artistic things and have fended off my own body issues in this weird way.

But whatever. This is who I am, and who I’ve quietly been for years, sometimes without forgetting, sometimes trying to bury it out of fear over how unusual it is, but I don’t want to do that anymore. Life is short. Be weird. Do what you love doing, with people you love, dress how you want, do whatever you can to try and stay comfortable and focused in these ugly, uncertain times.

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