Eight things I Learned from 50 Naked People.

Via on Sep 22, 2011



In the past year, I’ve touched more than 50 naked people.

Don’t worry though—the fancy parts were covered—I’m a massage therapy student. They have you start on friends and family, other students and then the general public. Some people are silent during a massage; others can’t stop talking in a nervous attempt to clothe themselves with something, even if only words.

Despite our obsession with sex, American culture doesn’t really encourage nakedness (physically or emotionally). And if all the pleasantries and social constructs we use weren’t bad enough, we add social media into the mix and distance each other even further. When we’re naked and silent, all of that falls away. What I learn from what a person tells me is minuscule compared to what I learn by feeling his skin, muscle and bone. By watching him move. By listening to his breath. By feeling his pulse. So, in case you didn’t know:

1. Your body doesn’t lie. You might say, “I’m relaxed!” or, “That pressure is great, you can work deeper,” but your body may tell a very different story. What goes on in your muscles, with your breathing, with your pulse is the truest you: the you that even you might not know yet. It’s a good thing to get in touch with. You’d feel much better if you listened and let your words match up to what your body was saying.

2. When you stretch, you open up space.  This is physically true, and emotionally true. When you physically stretch (or allow yourself to be stretched) you create space and allow for greater movement, greater vulnerability and more growth. It’s the same when you stretch yourself emotionally, too. Your physical and emotional selves aren’t separate––stretch one, and you usually stretch the other, too. It isn’t always comfortable at first, but it’s a wonderful thing. Surrender to it. You won’t regret it.

3. That thing you’re embarrassed about? That you don’t want anyone to see? That you tense up and hold your breath over? The part of you that you wish were different? It’s okay. Let go. Enjoy it. It’s part of what makes you so beautiful.

4. Everyone has body hair in various places and amounts. There’s no one right amount. It’s all good. Same goes for moles. Even models don’t look like they do in the pictures. Smooth and hairless is a Madison Avenue invention designed to create discontent (and sell grooming products).

5. Everything you’ve experienced is stored in your body at a cellular level. Each cell is a record of all of it. I’ve felt it in your skin. Being born. Being held. The time you fell off your bike and weren’t that hurt but very scared. That brutal sunburn on your shoulders at 14. The time you fell out of a tree and broke your collarbone. The first time you felt deeply loved. The person who hurt you so badly you thought you were broken for good. Your muscles remember it. They remember it like it happened 10 minutes ago.

Your successes hold your shoulders high. Your losses pull your chest inward. You hold your sadness in your throat, your anger in your jaw and your fear in your belly. Your happiness rises and falls in your chest. Love rolls in and out on the tides of your breath. It’s all there, all the time. {You can release the parts that hurt, if you want to. Yoga and massage are the best ways I’ve seen.}

6.   Your weight is the least interesting thing about you. I promise.

7.   Your skin, however, is fascinating. Every line, every freckle, every scar tells the amazing stories of your life. Please don’t Botox, bleach or sand it all away. They’re all beautiful.

8.   Your body is a f*cking wonderland. You are amazing just as you are, right now.

 

Relephant:

What People Really Look Like. 

 

About Kate Bartolotta

Kate Bartolotta is the strongest girl in the world. She is the love child of a pirate and a roller derby queen. She hails from the second star to the right. Her love of words is boundless, but she knows that many of life’s best moments are completely untranslatable. When she is not writing, you may find her practicing yoga, devouring a book, playing with her children, planting dandelions, or dancing barefoot with her heart on her sleeve. She is madly in love with life and does not know how this story ends; she’s making it up as she goes. Kate is the owner and editor-in-chief of Be You Media Group. She also writes for The Huffington Post, elephant journal, The Good Men Project, The Green Divas, Yoganonymous, The Body Project, Project Eve, Thought Catalog and Soulseeds. She facilitates writing workshops and retreats throughout North America. Heart Medicine, Kate's book on writing, is now available on Amazon.com You can follow Kate on Facebook and Twitter

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218 Responses to “Eight things I Learned from 50 Naked People.”

  1. [...] the desire for intimacy, it makes us human and it makes us attractive. If we paid attention to the messages our bodies are constantly sending us, we’d live a balanced life. Our bodies have an innate wisdom that leads us to a life [...]

  2. shana says:

    been a massage therapist for over 10 years and had my hands on hundreds, I'm an aspiring writer thats never written a thing besides good papers in college, and lots of private scrribilings. Love how true, fresh and open your perspective is <3 lots of love

  3. Giusti says:

    You made me cry today. First time when you were describing all the things I hate about myself, my imperfections that I should learn how to embrace but even more all our stories closed in our bodies…I experienced something in the past that I managed to wipe out of my memory but what comes back every time somebody touches me in a manner that brings it all back… I try to cure it with loving touch and yoga and yet, fear sits in a belly and anger in my jaw…10 years like 10 minutes ago… I love your article, so much different than the crap from glossy magazines, if teenagers would read more things like it, they would be happier and healthier…And your description of yourself – so positive, I hope that truly is who you are because that would mean you are one special person :) Greetings from Italy !

  4. Lauren says:

    This is so great, thank you! so many truths…I was just telling my massage therapist the other day that I didn't know I was as stressed as I was until she started to work on me…living with pain for no reason at all. I am still baffled at the number of friends I have that have never experienced massage therapy because they are so self concious oh what they're missing out!

  5. [...] Eight Things I learned from 50 Naked People | elephant journal. Check me out onShare This entry was posted in Uncategorized by Jonny. Bookmark the [...]

  6. [...] Heads and hearts can be healed through the body. Yoga is exceptional for this because not only are we getting to know our bodies better through the practice, we become sensitive to what makes them come alive and feel strong, radiant and healthy. Comparing our bodies to others, judging our bodies because of size, or trying to make ourselves into something we are not is unhealthy. [...]

  7. [...] release of touch — physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. In her article “Eight Things I Learned from 50 Naked People,” she writes (among other [...]

  8. [...] and to stand up for ourselves. However, as Kate Bartolotta points out in her great blog post “Eight Things I Learned From 50 Naked People“, our bodies hold lessons we have learned…and by the same token, I would say that our [...]

  9. [...] other words, our emotions affect us physically. It might be easy to understand that a scary thought gets our heart beating faster, but it can be [...]

  10. Sam says:

    thanks. really. thanks.

  11. buffy says:

    This is a truly amazing piece. I think you touch on some serious truth here. And I just wish I believed it. I mean REALLY believed it. I guess one just needs to hear messages like this, then hear them again and again until they ring true on all levels.

  12. Shanon says:

    12 yrs of practicing massage and I really could not have said it better! I love it! I think you have found your calling, welcome.

  13. [...] don’t believe that it’s entirely a social construct that has made a standard of the taller-male, smaller-female couple. Women are usually just built a [...]

  14. [...] those two together and add in the fact that I use my hands the rest of the time to try and help others, and my boxing days were quickly at an [...]

  15. Kaye says:

    This article surprised and astonished me with its clarity, truth, and redemption. Thank you :)

  16. [...] love ourselves out of the darkness through mindfulness and patience. We have to see our naked body, with all of its perfections and imperfections, and patiently resist the violent urge to reject it. This takes an immense amount of courage. We [...]

  17. london says:

    Nice post but the image at the top seems to contradict it what you are trying to say. Poor photo choice.

  18. ommarathonlawyer says:

    Kate, Thank you for a great post, it is so true. As a runner who practices yoga, but is also an attorney, a lot of stress can be felt on my muscles (or so I have been told.) it took a while before I could relax and actually get a massage. How can one tell what his or her body s saying by way of the muscles, I mean by themselves. I know you can feel that in others, but how can one self asses what his or her muscles are saying or doing? Thanks for a great read.
    Bernie
    P.S. thank you for stating that certain things we may not like about ourselves actually makes us beautiful.

  19. ommarathonlawyer says:

    Love this post! Right on!

  20. @valkyreens says:

    Thank you! I especially connected with items 1 and 2.

  21. Edie Lazenby Edie says:

    Well you got lots of feedback. This is so good….just so good.

  22. [...] a health problem, some are used by people as a method of relaxation or reward. Chief among them is massage therapy. Massage has become incorporated into the routines of many individuals in today’s society as a [...]

  23. Sarah says:

    thank you for this, especially the bit about body hair
    Grandma who got tired of shaving arms and legs years ago and gave it up much to chagrin of female children brainwashed by media.

  24. [...] Some therapists and body workers have noticed patterns that are typical for most, but then each person is unique. Each body contains its own road map of past joy and pain. [...]

  25. Sandy Phillips says:

    I am a massage therapist /yoga instructor…and you nailed it. The best description of what we do that I’ve ever read. Thank you…: )!!!!!!!

  26. Lea says:

    Beautifully written! Brought tears to my eyes. Thank you.

  27. [...] we get close enough for long enough, I can teach you about how to touch me where I am most sensitive, how to make my breath come quickly, how to rocket me into outer space with the slightest of [...]

  28. Craig Randall says:

    Beautifully written,

  29. [...] release of touch — physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. In her article “Eight Things I Learned from 50 Naked People,” she writes (among other [...]

  30. Maria says:

    Super cool article! You are so honest and concise ! I love how you correlate emotions to places in the body, where did you go to school for massage? You seem very interesting too I love your bio!

  31. Sarah says:

    "Everything you’ve experienced is stored in your body at a cellular level"

    This is so true. Make sure those experiences are positive ones.

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  34. devacat says:

    Well writ!

  35. [...] Eight things I Learned from 50 Naked People. [...]

  36. adventurousandrea says:

    This was beautifully written- especially point five! Much love.

  37. alansmith15 says:

    very interesting insights, almost as if i am reading a lovely poem. i hope to read more wonderful writings in here.

  38. Darlyne says:

    This is such a beautiful article! I was so touched by it that I felt tears welling up in my eyes! It is just so lovely to consider just how deeply connected we are to ourselves……body, mind and spirit. Thanks for your insights.

  39. Tinashe says:

    This is really well written. Great work!

  40. alchemicalexperiments says:

    This is wonderful! Thank you

  41. Tarun Durga says:

    Kate this is wonderful… I'm going to share it with all the special people in my life. Your words are truly a gift!

  42. AnneM. says:

    This is an exquisite description of the relation between the touch of the massage therapist and the reactions or feelings springing forth from the person being massaged and much more. I have been the on the receiving end of the massage several times before and can picture through your writing what you are describing. It is so honestly written and true that it makes me feel enriched or enlightened somehow. I highly recommend your articles. Your writing is exquisite and a gift that you use with feeling and emotion. Love it ………

  43. bluebeadpublications says:

    I believe it.

  44. Tamara J. Cardinal says:

    Bravo. Loved the post, keep writing more.

  45. stevethedm says:

    *This* is the kind of massage therapist I like. I can never seem to describe what I feel my body needs, and am always hoping a therapist can "just tell" somehow. It's nice to see that some can.

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