Start a Naked Revolution.

Via on Oct 24, 2011

Tell Me Who You Are.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Yours truly circa: 1978)

I woke up today, song in my head, dreams still stuck in the corners of my eyes, remembering a conversation from a few years ago. This conversation was with an acquaintance, a friend of my brother’s who (like most of my favorite people) didn’t bother with the typical scripted pleasantries you do when you first meet someone. What do you do? Oh that’s nice! Oh, do you know so-and-so? Yeah, me too. Blah. Blah. Blah.

Instead, he played us one of his new songs, and dove right into what was on his heart. He was tired of people defining themselves by what they didn’t do. One is straight-edge. One quit smoking. One is a vegan. One doesn’t drink coffee. One is a born again virgin. One doesn’t watch television. And on and on. It’s what we do. But it leaves us––those of us who care––a bit cold and wondering what is buried under all those do’s and don’ts. I know we moved onto other things, and other friends came and went, and the stars burned on until morning.

The part that echoed back to me today was that longing to know the true essential core of people. We spend so much time slapping on the existential version of bumper stickers. This guy’s a vegan. That chick is a feminist. This one does yoga. That one’s a teacher. This one is a liberal. That one goes to church. You do this. You don’t do that. You have this. You don’t have that. But who are you?

What frightens me more are the definitions that are used to elevate ourselves above others. My choice is better than yours. If you don’t choose the same, I can’t accept you. What is that about? What if you let that go? What if you didn’t immediately have to define what makes you separate? What if when we met we left our scripts behind?  What if we let the light inside each other merge for a few minutes, instead of immediately trying to figure out how we are different? What if instead of clothing ourselves with meaningless pleasantries, we were a little more emotionally naked? How would I define myself then?

I am curious.

I am brave.

I am passionate.

I get scared.

I am arrogant, sometimes, but will argue that I’m not.

(I once did this by explaining the etymology of the word “arrogant.” Not my finest hour.)

I love to play with words, and music, and do intense things with my body and mind.

I get my best writing done when I am procrastinating (like right now.)

I have zero sense of direction. I get lost easily.

I sing all the time as I go about my day.

I’m too direct––it puts people off.

The people that matter love me anyway.

I laugh easily. And cry easily. And forgive, maybe too easily.

This past year has been wonderful, and difficult, and inspiring.

I’m not sure how it’s all going to turn out.

I believe in treating strangers like friends, friends like family, and family like precious jewels.

My kids teach me more than I teach them.

I love them with a fierce fire in my heart than nothing will ever put out.

I feel embarrassed and babble when I try to leave a message, so I text or email whenever I can.

I get absorbed in what I’m doing for hours at a time and continue on thirsty, or cold,

or needing to go to the bathroom because I can’t tear myself away.

If you need help, and you call me: I’m on it immediately. No questions asked.

 

We’re all weird. We’re all wonderful. What if we started a nakedness revolution and stopped wearing all those labels to define and separate ourselves?

Wouldn’t it be great if instead of favorite movies and bands, our Facebook profiles had categories like “Secret Dreams” or “Favorite Childhood Memories?” What if we used our social tools to build bridges instead of higher walls? What if when we introduced ourselves to someone new, instead of the same old script we told three true things about who we really are deep down where it matters? What if instead of trying to put my best foot forward all the time, I started jumping in with both feet, trusting that the people who belong in my life will catch my hands and help me keep my balance?

 

(Photo: Flickr in time)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So who are you? Tell me three true things. Get naked.

 

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. She doesn't know how to behave with all the apples and ibexes. She doesn't suffer from her eight million freckles, she loves them! Like a rolling stone, Kate gathers no moss. Kate loves kale, being barefoot, Dr. Seuss, singing too loudly, gallivanting, palindromes, blackberries and has far too many books for her own good. When she's not writing, you can find her practicing yoga, running in the woods, playing with her kids, devouring a book, planting dandelions, changing the world and doing her dishes. Kate does not play the accordion. She is a massage therapist, writer and a compassionate friend to all. This year Kate aspires to finally give up on learning to knit and will instead spend that time putting a little bit more of her heart on the page. Connect with Kate on Facebook and Twitter

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52 Responses to “Start a Naked Revolution.”

  1. Becky says:

    I am quasi-obsessed with origins of anything: words, foods, inventions, intentions, concepts; anything.
    I love my 3 children and picture myself with a whole brood like "The Sound of Music".
    I am a self-concious social misfit in a group but feel like a lioness in one-on-one encounters. (in terms of strength and confidence, but not in a devouring hunting sense)

  2. Sara Young says:

    I am not sure I ever want to work in a "job" again. My favorite thing is talking to people about what they love. I love my brother more than anything but I fear I will never be close to him geographically ever again.

  3. Suri kate says:

    Wow this is nice ….refreshing…There is something quite weird in adopting a label that was invented by …well …god knows who….

  4. Phenomenal, Kate! We are so weird, we humans. Aren't we? Love this part: "What if we let the light inside each other merge for a few minutes, instead of immediately trying to figure out how we are different?"

    I'll be sharing this today fo sho! Cheers!

  5. Kate I love this girl!! You go!!

  6. sally says:

    I love the fact that in this day and age I get to read interesting articles like yours.I miss my friends that I just shared a holiday with and I adore chocolate. Thankyou for brightening my day :)

  7. Alison says:

    I am strong when i need to be for others, yet I am withering at the edges. I wear my feelings on my face for the world to notice, unintentionally. Nature inspires me. :) Kate, love this article. " I believe in treating strangers as friends, friends as family, and family as precious jewels." love it.

  8. Sara says:

    This is wonderful, beyond words. I would love it if everyone started doing this!

    I am in more debt than ever in my life but I’m not really worried about it.

    I have an aversion to jeans. I think all Pants should be stretchy and comfortable. Why restrict your digestive parts? :)

    I am a hardcore perfectionist, though I try to come off as laid-back in many situations.

    Thank you for your beautiful words Kate!

  9. Elise says:

    I am completely indestructible, yet I can shatter in a heartbeat.
    Being a mother is the single greatest joy of my life and I can't believe that I thought I didn't want to have children.
    I have foot in mouth disease and my attempts at apologies only stick my foot further down my throat. :)

  10. Great perspective! I almost went to law school before choosing massage school too and I too over use the exclamation point. Keep up the great writing Kate.

    • Thanks for reading Arlene! And as to your below comment – FIND THAT JOY! I forget who said it, but I love the quote about finding what your heart wants by seeing where your mind goes when it wanders. Don't wait!

  11. Arlene Haessler says:

    Oh and my three true things: I am oh so much more capable than I think I am,
    I spend most of my life mired in my fear of my inadequacy, I have lost the joy I bring to the world and am trying to find it…

  12. Wendy says:

    my 3 things are…..
    I sit and listen to the sounds of nature all around – its a beautiful song
    my heart bursts when i see my kids smile
    i talk to the universe every single day

    ONE OF THE BEST ARTICLES I HAVE READ IN A LONG LONG TIME ….. and yes I did mean to shout that !! :)

  13. Andréa Balt says:

    I am a fan of Kate Bartolotta. Loved this. Thank you! Good to catch up on ELE again, after a little (sniff sniff) break. You often echo my own thoughts on different issues. I guess this need for nakedness is the reason why we have a hard time describing ourselves in the third person. How can one really and honestly describe oneself, except by saying naked things, such as… "I am life"…

    I am now a virtual hug. :)

    Naked revolution totally on.

    • Awwww! And I am a HUGE Andrea Balt fan. HUGE! As to the naked revolution…gotta go with a classic:

      Desnuda eres tan simple como una de tus manos,
      Lisa, terrestre, mínima, redonda, transparente,
      Tienes líneas de luna, caminos de manzana,
      Desnuda eres delgada como el trigo desnudo.

      Neruda knows naked! Sending a virtual hug your way & hope you are over your cold!

  14. honest, generous-when I can be, and helpful

  15. Valerie Carruthers says:

    Hi Kate—I'm one of your elefellow wordies (ele Yoga) and find your posts totally delicious. Such a joy to read you reading everyone else with your unique voice. So, my three: 1) I don't need to worship deities in temples. I take them where I find them. 2) I prefer my food without a side of politics. 3) Even when I'm sitting down I'm dancing.

    Let's keep peeling that onion till all the layers are gone.

  16. Celia says:

    I am more afraid than I've ever been in my life, I have more faith than I ever have in my life, and I'm working on sharing my naked self with others (I am very good at letting others be naked but have a hard time doing it myself). So that's 4 things, but I'm new at this :)

  17. Valerie says:

    I love my children more than anything. I want to love a partner with intensity too (but don't have a partner partly because I am afraid to open up). I am trying to discover my dharma; I think I can contribute something to this world but can't seem to find what that is.

  18. Sue says:

    I worry too much about not being perfect and about getting old. I'm physically strong and like it. I love my children and miss them even when they're here.

  19. [...] I’d like to think with no thoughts that the heart is its own country, in which I am allowed without a passport, or any kind of name. [...]

  20. [...] Don’t be physically naked if you’re scared to be emotionally naked. [...]

  21. karlsaliter says:

    In complete deviation, I am going to a bar with my girlfriend to watch the Giants play tonight, and am excited as hell!
    By being online, I'm neglecting building a sculpture which is supposedly my focus this month.
    I'm curious about the etymology of the word “arrogant.”

    • Missed this comment, Karl! The etymology of arrogant stems from "a rogar" or to be without questions. To be arrogant is to lack inquisitiveness, to think you already know it all. I was in the midst of asking (what the other person felt was) too many questions and dominating a class discussion (as I can do at times…I am curious and a little intense in classroom settings).

      Hope the Giants game was fun!

  22. [...] speeches with their perfect balance of arrogance and self-effacement. I don’t want patter. I want to hear you, the inside you—the awkward 14-year-old you that gets a little nervous and stum…Deep down, we each are still that awkward 14-year-old. If we can let go of all the projections and [...]

  23. [...] All thoughts cease. A playful joy and wild delight rise up in you, and a knowing: this is where I am from, this is what … [...]

  24. Brad Henneman says:

    I am exceedingly polite, I am kind and generous; I don't like people that hide their faults; I want my children to follow their hearts and let the money take care of itself; I'm proud that a multi-generational chain of abuse ends with me; being addicted to things taught me what real courage is; I try not to avoid confronting difficult truths, but sometimes I still do; materialism and careerism, to me, is the lowest form of consciousness; I'd rather have you dislike me for who I am, than like me for who I am not

  25. Aella says:

    I love to read everything I can find even if social standards say I shouldn’t be looking at that, I want to be close to everyone, and a few in every way to expand my love, and fear being completely open and sharing with anyone in non superficial ways(ie the I do this or don’t do that). I also talk too much because I went from being shy to not and can’t see that line anymore(seriously, where did it go?).

  26. I am you.
    I am love.
    I am scared.
    I am so vulnerable it feels like a raw nerve.
    I am so glad to know you.

  27. [...] why do we make these choices anyway? Why the labels? Who cares? Is it a pride thing? I know I get caught up in stubbornness—and not just on this issue. [...]

  28. January Vanlew says:

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  29. Just seeing this comment today! Love you & glad to know you. xo

  30. [...] instead of hugs (well…not me…I hug everybody…I’m weird that way). We have forgotten how to be emotionally naked with each other. We forgotten the need for non-sexual touch in our lives and instead “respect each [...]

  31. justfiveminutesmore says:

    I'm afraid that now that I'm almost 45, I won't find love again. I have a love/hate relationship with my independence. I have one long brown ruffly whisper-light skirt that I wish I could wear every day. (I have it on right now.)

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