Today I made some money by taking off my clothes.
In the name of art.
Thursday was a crap day for me -- so I automatically wasn't feeling that great about myself. Not only was I rejected again (I know you're not supposed to take these things personally, but when the best still isn't enough then one wonders about things and the self esteem goes down a few notches), but I discovered that it wasn't people seeing my bare breasts (awful bags of fat that they are) or my genitalia uncloaked, but it was the little things.
My hair is weird again. I'm 23 years old and I still have acne and, even though a paste of vinegar and baking soda has exerted some type of control over my face, my body is pocked with pimples. Walking to and from school, the sweat from the sun (not so bad now that it is autumn) makes it almost impossible to keep the body acne under control. It appears everywhere.
My feet -- always taking a punishment because of my crooked ankles (the callouses on my big toes, compensating for the off kilter-ness of everything, are humongous, ugly looking things) -- are worse than normal because of all the walking I am doing -- my skin is peeling, I have callous/blister things that are forming around my heel. Fact is, besides the uncomfortableness of such attire, I would never wear sandals because my feet are monsters and they would scare all the other feet away and then how could students get to class on time, much less be able to draw my naked little (haaa) self?
And let's not forget the reason I wear baggy clothes and generally have body image issues that never manifest beyond a, Today sucked SO HARD I will attempt to find solace and companionship in a pint of ice cream even though desserts usually aren't sentient and don't have mouths or even arms to hug a particularly lonely person.
You can't even tell I've lost weight (and I seem to have hit a plateau despite the extensive walking (plus exercise routine) and the only eating around two meals a day because there's just no time). It's very frustrating. My pants are looser -- my size 14s are usually slipping to my upper thighs, I have to wear even longer shirts when I wear them now) -- and my size 12s gap a little. Sometimes I do despair because, even despite this small encouragement, I still am shapeless and fat.
And all of these thoughts were running in my head as I was picking lint off my robe while waiting for the clock to hurry up (as per usual, I arrived about an hour early).
Eventually I forced myself to go into the art building and look at the pictures I had heard were lining the walls.
Then I wished I had gotten around to doing this yesterday (or even Wednesday) so that I would have had more than thirty minutes to prepare myself. An art student sits behind me in my poetry class and she had described the wall as people literally have their "balls/vag" out all the way -- and that sounded too crass to me, but I had already committed -- and I had determined not to let it bother me. Still, while walking through the doors, I steeled myself to be prepared for anything.
And it really wasn't that bad. Perhaps the residents of my area are uncomfortable with the idea of nudity because what I saw was generally tasteful -- even chaste really. They were people in different poses -- natural poses, not a forced pose that would encourage a sense of erotica or sexiness. They were normal people. There were thin models and those in between and then those who were obese.
It was very natural. And it helped me realize something.
We're all nude underneath our clothes. And this is how people look, in every day positions, without their clothes on.
I was okay with that.
I waited to meet up with Tracy, who was the instructor who hired me. There was a man in the art class -- I figured he was a student prepping his stuff.
It was actually Tracy. It was mildly discomfiting at first, but then I realized it didn't matter.
I disrobed in the bathroom, and we went over the pose.
I tried to take a picture of me (clothed) in the pose but my vanity has won out so words will have to suffice:
They set me up on a platform on a tower of cushions. I bend my left leg, propped my left arm on my knee, and let my fingers dangle. I put my right arm backwards, right leg mostly straight. A comfortable pose -- something I've sat in occasionally (just not so stylized as it were).
I thought I'd have trouble dropping the robe -- that maybe I'd feel nauseous or my arms would turn to wood or something, but it was perfectly easy. Easy as blinking. Eyes open - robe on. Eyes close, open -- boom: robe off. Easy as pie.
20 minutes I'd pose, with a five minute break.
The comfort of the pose soon leeched away. It's very difficult to keep sitting still for so long, and I never sit still anyway (I'm a chronic rocker/swayer). My muscles burned and ached, and sometimes they'd twitch on their own accord. When I swivolled my eyes, I could feel the muscles in my ears being tugged by the movement.
Yeah, I don't know why I felt that, but I did.
It's very strenuous work. Sitting so deathly still all the time.
I would watch the people sketching me with charcoal out of the corners of my eyes (no aliens or tardis, alas). I'd also attempt to eavesdrop -- it was very strange, hearing them talk about me the way they did.
At the same time, I felt like both a person (we're all nude here) and as an object (but not unpleasantly so, ie, not in a limiting way).
It was very odd. Like being in a luminal space.
The oddity of it caused the time to go by very quickly. Until the very end, when my muscles were very tired and I was very sleepy and I very much wanted to go home -- except I still had a class after this
This strange juxtaposition of both being object and person was heightened when some of the artists spoke to me and invited me to see their progress. I only said yes because I didn't want to hurt their feelings -- I had never intended to see how their wips were coming along.
I was disappointed with it or with me - I'm not sure.
In the very few I saw, either the ones they invited me to look at or out of the corner of my eye, I looked more like a fertility goddess. You know, the statue -- with the monstrous breasts, roomy hips, pregnant stomach? The very essence of femininity?
I'm sure this would sound presumptuous in another time period, but as it was it just sagged at my already flagging spirit. But, I can't blame the experience for making me feel this way -- having one's insecurities thrust into one's face is better than letting them fester.
I should probably email Tracy and see if he wants to use me again.