With My Body, The Naked Face Project: February 25

Alright…so I’m now a full month in…and as you’ve read so far…lots and lots of elements to this are surprising me.  The revelation of many things…a new interpretation of beauty…a new and less judgmental view of myself and others…a richer understanding of the power of intention and why every action I take matters.  It all matters.

But what I haven’t talked about are the purely physical results I’ve experienced going without my daily beauty regimen.

So…I’ll keep it short…and I’ll admit this is kind of embarrassing and a bit odd…but it’s on my mind and certainly a part of this whole process so I’ve gotta just lay it out there.

I’m feeling very much in sync with my body.  Instead of feeling separate from or somehow outside myself, I seem to be meshing within myself.  Instead of doing things “to” my body, such as putting make up on it or putting heels on my feet…I seem now to be doing things “in partnership with” my body.  It’s like the two of us are no longer, two…but one.  The body is becoming as important to the self-expression of who I am…as are my thoughts, words and actions.  It’s as if…now that I’ve left it up to its own mischief…it seems to take care of itself quite nicely.

I noticed within a few days that my sense of touch was accelerating.  I was preparing for a run one sunny and windy morning.  Standing outside, I became keenly aware of the wind blowing across my skin, particularly my legs.  The wind was stimulating the hair on my legs, which in turn stimulated the hair follicles just beneath the skin.  Rather than my skin being more sensitive without the hair…it is more sensitive with it.   (It’s almost like my body is saying to me, “I’m on your side Molly.  This human experience is so awesome and I’m here to help you feel, see, live and breathe it in all its wonder, to the fullest.  Let’s do that together.”  If you have a funny expression on your face right now, or are almost laughing outloud, I’m cool with that.  I am, too, even as I write this down.  :)  )

My sense of vision, also, has become far more intense.  I’m actually observing people’s faces…slowing down to observe the interesting nooks and crannies on an older face, or watch a smile grow across a stranger’s face.  There are so many variations in skin color, it’s overwhelming, really.  All of them equally beautiful, rich and unique.  I’m noticing clothing, observing the way a shirt drapes across a man’s frame, or the bright colors on an  older woman’s sweater and how it seems to tell me something about her youthful spirit.

My sense of smell is also accelerating.  I’m not wearing any aromatic lotions or perfurmes, so when I do come across them, my olfactory senses fire!  I liken it to observing the sky from within an inner-city-street-light parking lot or observing the sky out in the middle of nowhere.  Without the distraction of the lights, the sky appears so bright, the stars so bold, the air so clean you can smell it.  When a scent comes in my direction, without the distraction of the aromatic lotions/accessories I can delight in it fully.

In the world of feminist theory, there is much conversation around the objectification of women and the now more recent phenomenon of women and girls presenting themselves as objects or their self-objectification.  The definition of self- objectification is the act of presenting oneself as an object, especially of sight, touch, or other physical sense.  This is often discussed within a conversation on the early-sexualization of girls.

I’m beginning to realize that the Naked Face Project isn’t really about make up at all… but is, for me, a tool or conduit to a much richer connection with my body…applying make up TO my body is, even though a small and very minor action, treating it as an object…something separate from me.

I know it will take some time to find the words to best articulate this new sense of connection I have with myself.  My guess is…in the future instead of applying make up TO my body, or working my body out, or fueling my body…I’ll be doing these things with my body as part of me…together…unified.  How can I bring my biggest, brightest, fullest self to this marvelous opportunity we call the human experience, this includes not only my mind and spirit, but my body as well.

I practice yoga on a regular basis and meditate nearly everyday.  I’m beginning to wonder if I’ve missed the boat a bit.  I’ve often used these experiences to distance myself from the human experience.  Meditation frees me from the stress of single motherhood, travel and demands on my job.  Yoga (like running) has been an opportunity to find quiet in a very physical action…but up until now I’ve somehow seen these as actions separate from my body.  I’m sorry, that I can’t better explain it.  I just know that the sense of peace I have, right now, is gentle, kind and unassuming.  I feel, at least right this minute while I write, whole, complete, okay with things…as if me and my body are at last working together toward the full expression of my highest self, within this rather fleeting and temporary condition we call the human experience.

Maybe words just don’t work here…and that’s cool.  I do know that this feels, really, really good.

Have you ever had a sense of being separate from your body…a kind of distance from it and likewise, on another occasion, felt a deep connection with it?  Care to share?  If not here, please feel free to share with me at mollybarker1960@gmail.com.

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3 Responses to With My Body, The Naked Face Project: February 25

  1. Stephanie says:

    I think the feeling you describe of being outside your body and also “as one” with your body is a feeling felt by many child abuse survivors. At a young age, CSA survivors learn to dissociate from their bodies to withstand whatever is happening to them. They literally leave their bodies. Their bodies are objectified and they learn to identify their bodies with their own sense of self. I think to a lesser (or perhaps just different) degree, this is the dissociation you speak of when we put on make-up, high heels, and attractive clothing. Are we trying to separate ourselves from our bodies to hide the pain and suffering that come with objectification of women? I think (know?) it’s a protective shield for many women.

    It’s one of the greatest feelings to then come to peace with your body and actually love it for all the things it does for you. To come to that deep understanding that your body (and what you or others do to it) doesn’t define *you* but it does hold and take care of you is a wonderful and comforting realization.

    • Stephanie. Thank you so much for your comments. My former work before GOTR, was in the social work field…and you are right on that many girls and women whos suffered abuse, both sexual and physical suffered from this kind of body-spirit-mind dissociation.

      I do know that the American Psychological Association has written and done extensive research on the objectification of women and the self-objectification. You can see it in ads where only certain parts of a woman’s are shown…etc.

      The link for that paper is http://www.wcnc.com/charlotte-today/Naked-face-project-140581203.html. Their findings were quite revealing.

  2. Rob says:

    Very interesting how your senses are heightened! I’ve heard that the sense of smell is the most powerful when it comes to emotional imagery, connection and memory. Perhaps my earliest memory is associated with the odor of “beauty” products mingled with cigarette smoke as my mom used to get ready in the morning. Let’s see… make-up… hair-spray for the bee hive hair do – and Salems. Now that’s a carcinogenic brew if I’ve ever heard of one! But once in a while I’ll come across someone who has that unique aroma and I’m immediately transported back to my time as a 4 year old. Really interesting how that works.

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