Naked & Unashamed

*Tim saw this title over my shoulder as I was reading it, and was like, “Oooh! Gettin’ spicy!”

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So if you’ve been keeping up with our story so far, (if you haven’t, that’s totally cool- you can click here to go back to the beginning and get our his/herstory) you know that Tim and I got together when we were young. So naturally, the first time we saw each other naked, it was more exciting than anything else. Of course, being a girl and feeling the societal pressures to live up to a Cosmo Magazine cover, I was a little self-conscious, but nothing too crazy. Do you ever think to yourself “I wish I could go back to the ‘fat’ that I was when I first thought I was fat”?? Same.

Anyway, I didn’t really have a lot of body issues then. I was 18, toned in the “right” places, and generally pretty damn confident about what I looked like naked.

Welp, that was a fun 5 minutes.

Shortly after we got married, I wound up pregnant unexpectedly. (Yes, we were using birth control, no we didn’t want an abortion, mind your business and read on.) So on our first anniversary, I was “Leaky Boobs McGee”, nursing a 6 week old.

Fast forward to after our second baby, I remember laying in bed on my side and thinking, “Wow, it feels like a lot of my stomach is touching the sheet.” I looked down and to my dismay, discovered that my stomach appeared to be melting right off onto the bed. I gasped, scooped up the loose skin, and rolled onto my back. “Welp,” I thought, “That’s it, I don’t lay on my side anymore.” At least if I was on my back, the skin stayed put and if I was still, it didn’t even wobble! Win!

Fast forward to baby #3. My hips SPREAD with that one. I went from an hourglass shape, to more of a pear shape. I cried to Tim, “I’m not the woman you married! Look at me!”  He did look,... and then he wanted to have sex with me. Men are simple that way, thank God.

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Finally, post baby #4, I was overweight. To put this in perspective, I was 125lbs when I got married at 18. At my heaviest, I weighed in at 187lbs. Interestingly enough, I was pretty confident in my body at that point, even though I wasn’t very healthy lifestyle-wise. Tim loved my curves and never made me feel a pound over 125. I lost about 45lbs while overhauling my lifestyle habits and exercising more. I was still feeling pretty good about myself until I happened to look sideways at the mirror in the bathroom while I was naked, sitting down, slouched slightly, drying my hair. I gasped and counted 5 rolls of skin cascading down my front like melting soft serve ice cream. I quickly sat up, but like only 1 roll disappeared. I gasped. “Dear God.” I thought, “What sorcery is this?? Well, that’s it, I don’t sit naked anymore.”

Then one day, I was laying naked on my back drying off after a shower and I looked down at where my boobs should have been and gasped. “Dear God.” I thought, “They are collapsing in on themselves! Well, that’s it, I don’t lay on my back anymore.” …And then I got my boobs done because a girl can only handle so much.

I remembered reading in the Bible when I was younger that Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden were naked and unashamed. When I was younger, I thought, “They’re NAKED! What’s there to be ashamed about??”

Now, I get it. I totally get it.

Now, I cringe when I leave the lights on, strategically positioning myself so nothing hangs or sags in a way I deem “gross.”

Now it’s wayyyyyy harder to be “naked and unashamed.” And it shouldn’t be. We’ve been together for so long, he knows what I look like naked, why am I constantly trying to hide from his gaze?

I’ve made 2 observations here.

The first is that men in general (and a lot of women too) are very visual creatures. We heard the term “visually generous” once when we attended a marriage workshop years ago (after baby #3). Basically, it means “how often you let him see you naked.” So examples of being visually generous would be:

-Leaving the lights on (candlelight totally counts and is way flattering)

-Not always shutting him out when you’re changing clothes

-Sending the occasional sexy picture over text (only in appropriate situations and when I’m sure one of the kids doesn’t have his phone.)

-Coming to bed naked or undressing for bed in front of him

I asked Tim, “What does it mean to you when I am visually generous?” Tim said, “I like it because it shows a confidence in yourself which is attractive, I like seeing you naked, and it reflects a thoughtfulness because I know you’re doing it for me, even though you’re a little nervous.”

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The 2nd, closely ties in with the first- the more I’m naked around him, the less of a big deal it becomes to me. The less anxiety I have, the more I can relax, and the better our sex life is. I have to give myself grace in this area, no- I’m not 18 anymore. My body has scars, stretch marks, a few wrinkles, and more and more gray hair. But I rock it, guys. I have to! If I want to have a good sex life with Tim (and let’s be honest, sex is a very important part of a relationship), I have to work on my insecurities and relax. I got this letterboard for my birthday last year and put “Get Naked” on it. Partially because I tend to find myself hilarious, but also as a reminder to just do it. Just get naked.

Honestly, it’s a win-win.

-Ash