Or, why I got naked and stood in front of the mirror to learn to love myself!
Self confidence! That loaded word. I wanted to share my experience of how I reclaimed it.
Recently I met up with a guy whom I’d barely known. Caught up with him at the end of a busy day at his home-office. He’s a chilled-out dude with hair and demeanour that can only be described as a bonafide hippie. He was a warm host and an easy conversationalist. Post pouring me a cup of extra strong coffee, I was all buzzed up and we were chatting away, when he asks me, “What’s your sexual journey been like?”
Now ordinarily one would be caught off-guard with such an intimately invasive question by a near-total stranger but worry not, as no dramatic spitting of coffee occurred. Having been born and brought up in an Indian society, exploring our sexualities was tabooed, let alone even talked about. Considering all things, I was quite proud of the way I handled this- cool as a cucumber.
Quite frankly, my sex life can better be described as a practice lap around a circuit with multiple pitstops, rather than a journey.
Here’s why- I’m ashamed of my body, always have been.
A date here or there, and a smidgen of a relationship that lasted not more than 3 months is all I can boast of. And I’m already in my 30s.
When I told him this, he simply said, “So, what are you doing about it?”
Now, I could’ve put him in his place, made a huge deal about how his words can hurt people and completely blame the ‘likes of him’ in warping my perceptions of my own body.
Or I could blame the brands, products and celebrities setting forth unrealistic standards of beauty and how they affect people’s self-confidence.
But I didn’t. And I shouldn’t.
You see, there’s nothing wrong in his suggestion. If I don’t like something, I should either change it or change my approach to it. Nobody and nothing should affect my self-confidence. I alone hold that power.
That same night, when I went back home, I shut my room door, undressed, and stood before my full-length mirror and gave myself a long and hard look. There I was, naked, vulnerable, and slightly cold.
I observed the colour of my body showcasing all 50 shades of me. Tanned face, arms and feet. Pale stomach, back and thighs. Legs covered in fuzz. “A trip due to the parlour”, I reminded myself. Lacerations on my legs from the sporty days of my youth. Blemished knees from kneeling too much, although not from giving blow jobs. Dimpling on my thighs. Blackened inner- thighs because they’re chunky and rub against each other. Fuzz on my vagina, which reminded me of the salon again. Rolls on my back and stomach. Flabby arms that jiggle a greeting when I wave. Pudgy sausage fingers with a nail or two broken. Double chin lines. Thin lips. Fat nose. Stretch marks all over.
My gosh! You must be exhausted reading that mouthful!
But that’s the unfortunate reality of how we berate our bodies and self-esteem. Not a single word of encouragement to describe the gifted landscape that is my body.
How did I get to this? How did I let my self confidence take a back seat?
Why do I squirm every time a guy tries to hold me from behind, trying to avoid his touch on my bumpy back? Why do I end a date at its conception, finding unnecessary flaws with the guy, a projection of my own insecurities and self-imposed flaws?
In my head, I imagine all these adventures I yearn to explore physically, and intimately. But I keep holding myself back. Because I don’t feel worthy.
And that’s a shame, because I didn’t even give the guys a chance to determine that for themselves, if it’s even true.
I’m in my own head. I need to change that.
Since that day, I became more conscious. Not of my inherent follies, but of giving myself a chance.
I read in an article that sleeping unclothed can boost self-confidence, amongst other positive outcomes. So now I sleep naked, allowing my skin to touch the sheets, freely fantasizing my sensuality. Quite honestly, it’s been three weeks and I can feel a slight shift in how I look at my body.
I put forth a morning routine that’s giving me the discipline to forgive myself and at least try to evolve my sensibilities.
Don’t get me wrong. A month cannot alter over 30 years of conditioning. There’s still a lot to figure out and develop, trial and error of approaches even. But I’m proud to say that I’m off to a great start.
Here’s hoping I’ve managed to inspire you to start on your journey of self-acceptance and self-confidence.