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. Therapieswithmartin says:

    As a fellow therapist – I really enjoyed this, thank you

  2. editorannedaily says:

    I felt moved. The part of your body remembering everything, I am in this path towards becoming aware (a first step) and this is what I learned. To read it, it's beautiful. Thanks!

  3. I had this thought yesterday: we are all superheroes. We don't need costumes to show this. Our bodies are our costumes, showing all the power and love we have for ourselves and the world.

  4. lisa says:

    i wish i knew how to embrace the words you wrote and really feel that way about myself, instead of hating my body with every fiber of my being.

  5. heathero626 says:

    Absolutely beautiful!

  6. doreeweller says:

    Amazing reminder that it's okay to be who you are. Thanks!

  7. Ness says:

    wow.. incredible to be at student level & so open to the teachings of true massage therapy! i have been working as a LMT for over 5 years now && you could have taken these words from my own mouth! thank you for such a beautiful perspective! Stay in the Flow! <3

  8. Janice says:

    Truly awesome article. The only thing I disagree with is the part about social media distancing us… I wouldn't have read this if a friend hadn't shared it on Facebook. AND I wouldn't know that friend if it hadn't been for Facebook. So, I think we can think that social media is evil or we can get the good stuff there. There's lots of good stuff.

  9. alicea says:

    wow….having a massage and an interpretation of what my body is saying…

    always stay open to your keen intuitive side…..and you talent for expression…

    Blessings of nature an Spirit.

  10. Joe says:

    I'm a massage therapist and you are absolutely on target! A GREAT read!

  11. rectalcancermyass says:

    terrific post! I too was a massage therapist eons ago and what you wrote is spot on! I just never thought about it that way :)

  12. Vince says:

    This is great K8!
    There was profound, fundamental change for me when going through MT school and you have captured it eloquently.

  13. laydipahukumaa says:

    Beautiful!

    Thank you for this!

  14. Becca says:

    For being so new, (I've been an MT for 10+ yrs), you have a marvelous grasp of what is so amazing about this job. I think you'll do well. Keep it up!

  15. Mandy says:

    Kate can you be my massage therapist! I loved the article you have an understanding about humanity that is so valuable. Thank you for writing this!

  16. Ana Stephens says:

    Great article but whomever used the term Masseuse when they posted it to Facebook needs to be schooled. I'm an LMT myself and NO self-respecting massage therapist is ever called a "masseuse" – only hookers masquerading as professional bodyworkers tolerate that term.

  17. Lucy says:

    Awesome article! Thank you! :)

  18. carmel says:

    Oh girl, just wait until you get to 5000 bodies;) it never gets old!

  19. Amy E says:

    Lovely and full of compassion.

  20. Haha! Some MT's are a bit chatty, Amber. It would not have been rude to let him know that you just feel like being quiet. I'm still learning, but try to take my cues from the client;) Thanks for reading!

  21. HAHAHA! Tobye! It's funny because I don't typically use bad language in day to day life (it tends to make me blush…embarrassing but true. I only use it when I really mean it.) I used it partly to not completely plagiarize John Mayer, and partially to keep it from being just banal positive white noise….like "Wake up! You are amazing! You are a f*cking wonderland!"

    Namaste, Motherf*cker;) Thanks for reading!

  22. I love that feeling when you just have to write! I find myself mumbling about something while driving or in the shower & just can't wait until I can write it!

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