Last week I performed an experiment. I took off my clothes at a friend's house in front of her and her 15 year old daughter.
Why? Because I want to feel completely unencumbered by my body. I asked permission, of course. And wore good underwear. my friend, being a good sport, said, "Sure, in the kitchen while I cook up the meat." So we poured ourselves a glass of good red wine, seared some flesh, and heated up the room.
I remember reading about a man in a Tantric workshop who was crippled, yet, when he took off his clothes in front of the group with no artifice everyone saw him as luminous and beautiful. This is what I had in mind for me, in the kitchen. No strip tease, no attitude, no artifice. I wanted to be relaxed and easy, like I am at home in front of my partner, Will, in bright daylight.
At first my friend and her daughter didn't really look. Then they glanced in my direction once in a while. Then finally they drank me in bit by bit. No one said anything about a particular part. No one threw up. I had wanted to walk around, but I found myself rooted behind the table and chairs. That's as comfortable as I could get.
But I did it.
The next morning I told my sweetie, Will, what I had done and his reaction was not what I'd hoped for. "You don't just go to other people's houses and strip off all your clothes." He was furious. I was deeply disappointed. He wouldn't speak to me. I let him be while he thought things out.
That night, before bedtime, we talked. Will said he felt it was a breach of our intimacy and that I had shared something that was meant just for us. For me it was a daring investigation into how I see and live with my body, a personal test.
"What's next?" Will said. "Nude hot-tubbing with the guys just to see if you can do it? Lady Godiva-ing around your Aikido Dojo?" I can understand his point of view. And by the end of our talk I think he understood mine. I don't feel the need to escalate. It was a mini milestone for me. For the moment I feel complete.
Susan Harrow is the author of Sell Yourself Without Selling Your Soul. She runs a Media Consultancy where she helps everyone from Fortune 500 CEOs to celebrity chefs, entrepreneurs to authors grow their businesses through media coaching and the power of PR. For more information please contact Susan.