I Took A Bath In Milk (And Then Freaked Out)

I wasn’t nervous going into the shoot, though I was about to be as vulnerable as ever. Image: Inga Kaboom/@dalahawk

That’s how it begins, this road to happiness in vulnerability: You piss off the world because you dare to be happy in your most vulnerable and beautiful state.

Content notice: hypothetical reference to cutting/attempted suicide.

I have started and stopped writing this article five times in the last week and a half. As it is, I’m slurping down some pinot noir and jamming out to Kanye for nerve. Don’t judge me.

It’s not like I’ve never been half-naked or half-dressed on the internet before. There was Expose 2014, #EmbraceAllBodies, #LoveTheMirrorBURLESQUE.

Showing my body for how and what it is does not phase me.

I know who I am, and my self-worth and self-love are not based on my external but my internal. Who I am at the core fuels every ounce of self-love I have because I know the outside is just a shell.

My heart, conscience, and soul do the work of trying to change the world a little at a time, and that’s a beautiful thing, as far as I’m concerned. “I think, therefore, I am” actually rings true for me.

So then why the hell have I been bugging out about showing you the amazing photos Jes Baker took of me when we had girl talk over cookies and milk? I mean, I just read her article about having gained weight and literally screamed out, “Girl, I know that’s right!” when I got to the end.

Why is this different?

Why have I had creeping anxiety and nausea about showing this shell to you?

My heart does not lie in my skin. It does not lie in my thighs. It does not lie in my stretch marks or my bruised legs from years of battling autoimmune flare-ups. My soul lies within me.

And I have called myself “The Truthteller” and “Sista Sassafrass,” so why am I hesitant to show this truth?

Because it’s me. Just me. And some milk, some strategically placed cookies, and a camera lens.

Look ma! No hands! Image: Jes Baker.

I wasn’t nervous going into the shoot, though I was about to be as vulnerable as ever. That milk bath was orgasmic.

Plus — A BATH. How many busy moms can honestly say they get a warm bath to themselves — ever? It felt like a French kiss in France atop the Eiffel tower during drizzling rain. Or how I would imagine that would feel, since I haven’t had that yet. But you get the point.


 

I wanted to show my body for what it is, and see my body for what it is, and remember why I love the shell as much as I love the soul.


 

It. Was. Magical.

And I was with Jes, one of my favorite humans on the planet.

I was feeling fantastic. I looked at the photos with her and loved them. They were so cute and luscious.

My rolls were on point — and my ass. Y’all. I have the most beautiful Wu Tang ass in the world. Seriously. Look.

Enter the Wu. Do not Enter the Wu. Image: Jes Baker.

So, yes, I loved these photos — where was this coming from?

It was coming from the absolute vulnerability in being still.

When I’m on stage, I’m playing. I’m doing an act, portraying a character, telling a story, and moving around. So you’re not really seeing me. You’re seeing the performer in me, which I pour my all into. But when I am on stage, I’m not thinking about you seeing my body. I’m too busy hoping you’re picking up what I’m putting down, and praying I don’t pop a pastie!

When I did half-dressed photoshoots in the past there were other women, and their energy fed my energy, and the outcome was a beautiful culmination of self-love in the highest form.

But this? This was just me.

No rhinestones to glitter up the roll-y parts. No pasties to cover up the dark areolas. No fishnets to cover up the bruised legs.

And that was the whole point of the shoot. That’s why I wore minimal makeup. That’s why I chose a milk bath (the cookies were an added bonus because hello — MILK AND COOKIES).

I wanted to show my body for what it is, and see my body for what it is, and remember why I love the shell as much as I love the soul.

The shell doesn’t define me, but I need to mentally and emotionally be kind to it so that my soul remains intact. I needed to do this so that maybe you could do it.

I joked to Jes that I was calling it the “Relish My Rolls” shoot, and asked her to shoot them up close. I loved the shape they made in the water. I loved how soft they looked. I wanted to touch them — and they’re mine! I reiterate, I loved everything about this shoot.

But while I’ve always been a truth-teller with you, there is a difference between telling your truth and showing your truth. “Showing your truth” is probably a perfect description of vulnerability. It’s the difference between telling someone you attempted suicide by slicing your wrists, and showing them the actual scars. There is an immense amount of trust that comes with that. Trust in yourself, and trust in the person you’re telling. You have to trust that your world won’t end, and they won’t judge you.

So, I guess what it came down to was that I wasn’t 1000 percent sure I wouldn’t die if I did this, and I wasn’t 1000 percent sure that you wouldn’t judge me.

Having been the girl that was teased and tormented every day of junior high, I still have some sensitivities, and, um, I’M HUMAN. Sure, asshats on the internet might troll me, and I may even become a meme.

Rumor has it that’s when you know you’ve made it. I suppose I’ve gotten a headstart on that — I recently discovered that an Instagram account that specializes in “yo mama” jokes started following me. Naturally I blocked them.

But perhaps that’s how it begins, this road to happiness in vulnerability: You piss off the world because you dare to be happy in your most vulnerable, and beautiful state.

Perhaps.

So this is me. Naked. Vulnerable. And decidedly unafraid.

You see me. I see you. And dammit, we are some beautiful bitches.

No cows were harmed in the making of this milk. Image: Jes Baker.    

Header image: Inga Kaboom.

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