Reclaiming my Body

Having a baby is almost an out-of-body experience. Being a “host” for another human is so strange. Yes, you feel connected. Yes, it is amazing to hear their heartbeat and see their tiny face through your stomach. But it also felt like a nine month period of living in a body that was not mine anymore. It was like freshman year of college living in the dorm. Yeah, it is supposed to be home to you, but it is nine months of awkwardness living with a stranger. Your roommate may be cool, but it is an odd feeling to share your most sacred space with someone else. Or maybe it’s like Air B&B – sure you make a couple of bucks, but you get home to find that someone has slept in your bed and dried themselves on your towels. Of course you did this knowingly, but it is still weird.

I am not huge fan of sharing in the first place, so it was hard for me to share my most personal stuff – the inside of my private parts – with someone else. I always had that feeling like “when I have my body back, I’m going to…” drink wine, have an amazing charcuterie board, go for a long run, wear regular clothes. But for that time, I just wanted weekly Shake Shack, metric tons of pineapple, hot tea and sparkling water. I had a super easy pregnancy. I felt nauseous one time. Then after eight minutes, that feeling passed. And I went right back to working 9-10 hours days, riding the metro and lifting weights. J is nearly two now and things are settling into a new normal. After giving away my body to other people for years, I had this urge to take my body back for me. So I opted for boudoir photography.

I started out with some arbitrary boundaries: no topless, no bottomless, no full nudes. I really wanted some coquettish, teasing lingerie photos. But as we got into the session, I found myself getting more and more comfortable to be coy without becoming a porn star. And I had way too much fun. A few thoughts:

I love Lynn – Lynn was my engagement-bridal-wedding photographer and post that time, our family photographer. I have known her since 2009 and loved her instantly. I feel so comfortable with Lynn that she could be my sister or friend. But I basically abuse my friends as though they are sisters (see below). I cannot help this, I am a little sister, always have been, always will be. And something like 90% of my friends are older sisters.

I love Puja – it takes a very special friend who can still look you in the face after seeing you naked. She brought Starbucks, she brought props, she held a light bar as I was completely nude in the shower. I abused our friendship severely that morning. I am surprised she came back. And she had a super busy weekend – she did not get to eat that day and ended up emceeing a show for her temple that night. Temple was probably a good way to cleanse her eyes and soul after spending the morning with me!

I love J – it was never his purpose to make me feel uncomfortable in my own skin. His only purpose was to be. We worked together to make that happen. I want him to feel comfortable in his skin too. I hope for his mental health, he does not find these pictures on my computer until I am dead.

A friend once told me, after reading some of my poetry, that it was like watching me stand naked and allowing myself to be seen as who I am. These pictures were fun, yet authentic and real. I felt that they allowed me to been seen, and allowed me to reclaim my body for me, once and for all.

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