Recently I searched for nude art online and found Model Society. Looking at the amazing photography, I imagined myself modeling for a beautiful work of art. Maybe this could provide healing and help me rediscover the feelings of inner beauty and strength that I had lost. I reached out to Model Society’s founder, David Bollt, and shared my story. I told him I was looking to do a photo shoot with someone I could trust. I just wanted to feel empowered again.
David replied and supported me through an almost sacred process of planning my healing experience and choosing a photographer. It was clear that who I would work with and how I would reveal myself were my choices to make. I felt safe. I was finally ready for this process to help me restore my body and heal my scars.
Days before the photoshoot I feared I would be too ashamed. Would I take steps backwards in my healing journey? Practicing poses in the mirror at home, I repeated calming words, telling myself that becoming a work of art was going to be a great experience. I decided that this would be a gift to myself. Allowing myself to simply let go and heal, turned out to be the best gift I have ever given – or received.
The photo shoot went better than I could’ve asked for. My photographer, Lonnie Tate, was professional, patient and kind. I was surprised at how comfortable I felt, even early in the process. At the start I was fully clothed, as a safeguard. But soon I had a realization: to truly get the most out of this experience, I had to actually believe I was a work of art. So I embraced the process, and everything felt natural and right as I revealed myself more fully.
I felt enlightened by nature all around me. When Lonnie and I found a location that had been ravaged by a fire, the burnt wood and black stumps felt like my emotional scars, projected onto the landscape. Instead of giving in to the brokenness of the land and becoming sad, I felt like I was bringing beauty back to the natural world – as if the land and I were healing each other.
At one point my photographer suggested I close my eyes. The click of the camera shutter seemed distant as I experienced a very calm and dreamlike state. I forgot I was in the middle of a forest doing a photo shoot. My mind was cleared of all thoughts as if I had transcended to different world, free of all wounds. In that moment I fully embraced myself as a beautiful work of art.
Upon opening my eyes, I felt liberated in my mind and body alike. This was the moment I had been hoping for.
Reflecting back on the beautiful artwork we created that day, I feel a sense of pride. Viewing the images I can reconnect to that liberated mental state, and I am happy. It’s like I found a place that I can journey back to when life gets hard. I honestly didn’t know that it was possible to find – my true “happy place.”
My outlook on the human body is no longer tainted. Humanity is beautiful, no matter what form it comes in. It feels so good to see people as creations and miracles of life. It’s like my tough “warrior” shell has been molded into soft clay that can adapt and transform into beauty. I’m so grateful that I had this opportunity to embody and transcend the deep emotions that had broken me down. It’s an enlightening feeling, and I’m proud of myself for being able to clear my mind and travel beyond the trauma I’ve experienced. I really didn’t think it was possible. But now, it’s like I’ve set my conscience free.