In the last few days there has been a cloudburst of leaked celebrity nude images.
In the ensuing rage, many have come forth and deemed that the best way to avoid getting nude photos leaked is to stop taking nude pictures all together.
To me, this is like telling people to wear burquas and sit at home (preferably under the dining table) to avoid getting raped.
After reading many such intellectually sound messages, I felt inclined to do exactly what all the self righteous people were telling me not to do: go and take a nude selfie.
I must admit that it wasn’t the first time I was taking pictures that I didn’t want anyone else to see. But the previous attempts were more of—how does one put it delicately— err, gynecological explorations.
Without going into the details about how camera phones with built-in torches are a boon to women who have never seen their own vaginas, let me carry on with my selfie story.
There I stood precariously in front of the only full-length mirror that I could find. I had hastily taken off my clothes and took a quick side and front shot, keeping my face a little turned just in case the cloudbursters took interest.
It is amazing how embarrassed one can feel when faced with the sight of one’s own naked body. Something akin to imagining one’s parents’ having sex.
With picture taken, clothes worn, rebellion over, and one deep breath, I sat down to examine my selfie. And what I saw had me overwhelmed: it wasn’t what I had thought it would be, because it wasn’t me who I saw there.
It wasn’t ‘the’ me… the sense of me who lived in my head.
Instead the person I saw in the picture, shorn of all covering threads was a vulnerable, slightly shy but nonetheless, likable real person. I was suddenly reminded of the two beings that had been pulled out of me not long before. Both had been naked and vulnerable, yet adamant and alive.
Seeing myself naked reminded me of seeing my children for the first time—before they were cleaned up, dressed up and prepped up for the world.
There are thousands of pictures of me that I’ve probably seen. Compounded with the picture of my body that I have built up in my mind (blue whale, thunder thighs, fat here, fat there, fat, fat, fat everywhere) they have made me forget what I actually look like in a factual sense.
I have been blinded by clothes, waist to hip ratios and covers of ‘Vogue.’ That nude selfie of mine was a blessing in disguise. With all the covers and filters removed—in a moment captured without preparation or any sexual motivation—I saw myself for the very first time.
This is a true story, not a made to order ‘feel good in your own skin’ tale.
I will admit to have gotten over my initial atonement with myself and going on to zoom into my stretch marks, pouchy stomach, shapeless derriere and other probable deformities. But I do not want to forget what my first reaction to my own naked picture was: it was love.
Which is why I’ll be taking a nude selfie again. And no cloudburst can stop me from doing that, thank you.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Editor: Renée Picard
Image: Wiki Commons