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Wet and Naked In Public

March 14, 2010

Every now and then I get a lot of flack for being so “public” about things that others feel are private matters. Queries – some accusatory, some confused, some intrigued – about exposing myself as if I was truly standing naked on a street corner somewhere, (which, frankly, is something that I’d probably feel perfectly comfortable doing.) How can you do that? Why would you do that?

I’m lazy, and I don’t know how not to.

I also don’t feel shame about the things that I think and feel (and usually that I do.) And, as I’ve said before, most of the things that we all think and feel are damned close to the same. But we’re all asked to “cover up” so often that covering up becomes our primary energy expenditure, not coming out.

I’m lazy, I don’t bother much with the covering up part. I’m not ashamed.

It reminds me of when Myles – easily one of the finest men on the planet, a fabulous husband and even after that an even better best friend – and I were first dating and he said to me that he wouldn’t date a woman that he couldn’t get wet. I loved that. Of course, I am a woman you can get wet.

What he was talking about was the type of woman who doesn’t wear make-up that would drip down her face if you threw her in the shower or got caught in a rain storm. A woman who didn’t wear fancy and fussy clothes in which she couldn’t dance through a thunderstorm with you. And yes, a woman who is secure enough in herself and free enough of pretense that she can get messy wet while kissing and, um, well, fucking.

Beyond the perfunctory teenage stage with eye shadow, I was never really a make up wearer. I suck at it, for one thing. But I learned quickly that when I wore make up on a date, I would spend a lot of that date worrying if it was smudged during dinner. Or if we started making out, worrying that I would leave traces on something. Or, heaven forbid (or thank my lucky stars,) we got hot and nasty together and spent the night,  I would wake up looking like a battered clown. I found it was just easier not to wear makeup, and avoid all that. To have a naked face.

It has nothing to do with some divine empowered sense of innate gorgeousness on my part. Just lazy. But an odd thing happened. As people kept finding me attractive for who I am – without makeup – the more I grew comfortable, and eventually innately confident, in my ability to attract partners for exactly who I am. I internalized my own attractiveness by virtue of just exposing myself.

And so it is with blogging (when I get around to it,) and with things like Facebook. I’d rather just put it out there so that I don’t have to worry about somebody finding out something that I’m trying to hide. But more than that, there are times, in this crazy life, when I really need to attract people to me and it’s hard to find the time, so I ask for the words.

For me, Facebook has become the street corner on which I stand naked sometimes. I have found that I can actually say, “I am scared and I need to know that someone has my back,” and, low and behold, people will respond and say, “I’ve got your back.”

And ya know what? They do. My friends, who may be super busy with their lives, will take those 10 seconds to reach out and it means the world to me. Just last week, my beloved Phill sent me a super quick response to a FB post, and made me an offer that nailed my personality and reminded me that there are people out there who “get me” and love me and are there for me. Turns out, just knowing they’re there makes me feel much better.

It is not a substitute for a tight-knit community of people, which I have and reach out to in spades. And in the real world. But the thing is, even with them, it’s like we’re starting naked. We don’t have to do all the rote exchanging of mundane details. When we see each other, we know where we’re all at, as they say. Jojo’s dog died, Buster’s cat ate a shoe, Buffy’s boyfriend left her for the mailman, whatever. And, because we know those things, we know when it’s time to rally around one another. In a time of crisis, I’ve seen people pull together a rally around a friend in a matter of moments. I’ve both rallied and been rallied for, because we were able to say, “I need help.” In the real world.

We’re all busy, we can’t possibly keep track of everyone all the time. But someone can, and someone will call us to action when need be. It’s like living in that blissful state of comfortable nakedness with your partner – you know they love seeing you naked in their kitchen, and will tell you if that mole on your ass that you can’t see is starting to look suspicious rather than just a little like a witch’s chin.

I am happy here. It makes me feel safe and connected and cared for. And I am comfortable admitting that I need and want people. I am not an island, I don’t want to be one.

As for the larger blogs, like this one, that are read by people I don’t know. I have a reason for that too, and I’ve written about it before. But, I truly believe that the sooner we all get comfortable with each other’s naked souls, the sooner we’ll get comfortable with our own. And frankly, someone’s gotta go first. We have all been so steeped in the expectation for perfection and strength and odd individual stoicism. I think it is a catastrophically broken paradigm that is making catastrophically broken people. I certainly don’t want to support that, and I’d kinda love to help bust it. So I am. In my own small way.

Or, in the case of the editor’s notes and articles I write for JUST CAUSE, a huge way. It would take no effort whatsoever for people to learn just about anything they want about me. I don’t hide much. I’m far too lazy, and would rather spend that energy getting wet and naked in life. Living it, tasting it, feeling it, fucking it up, making mistakes, learning from them and evolving……

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Anonymous permalink
    March 14, 2010 1:43 pm

    alyssa what would you do and we do instead if there was no facebook blogs internet? what did they do without it 100 years ago? 1000 years ago? how did society survive in the pre google era and and how did people share private matters planet wide? city wide? block wide? talking? inconceivable.

  2. Kirsten permalink
    March 14, 2010 2:11 pm

    Love this! Speaks so truly to my own experience! When people ask how I am doing as well as I am after all the crazy shit and tragedy that has been the last year of my life, I can honestly say it’s because I get to just be the essential me, and continue to discover new aspects of myself all the time, and be surrounded in love by a community of people who love and embrace me EXACTLY as I am. And I love myself more the more “me” I am. Life’s to short to waste it on giving a shit what other people think.

  3. March 14, 2010 6:54 pm

    not sure. nor am i sure what anyone will be doing 1,000 years from now. or if we lived under water. or on the moon. people did, as they always will, make the most of what is around them. and as their perspective of and tools to interact with the world around them changed, so did their behavior. and as such, so did they. and so on. and so on.

    nor is it relevant, unless you think we should return to how we lived 100 or 1,000 years ago. if you want to, go for it!


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