~ note ~
Although we all love boobs, some of you may be at work. At the end of this post is a set of nude photos that may not be conducive to your current environment.
~ end note ~

There was a time, in what seems now like the distant past, that I thought of my body in parts and pieces. As segregated fractions to a whole and complete unit. “If you could change one part of your body what would it be?” As teenagers, we contemplated and speculated. Thighs, hips, ass, breasts, arms. We seemed to long for things we could not change as opposed to what we could.

We were taught and told that attaining a perfect figure was more important than becoming a kind and generous person – a person with strength and dreams, a person with incredible communication skills and compassion. We were taught to fit in, through an invisible construct created by someone else for us. I distinctly remember the day I chose not to follow this regime, but it did not make it go away. Instead it taught me how to fight it, how to rise above it, and how to make it my mission to liberate others from it.

I’ve had pretty much the same body shape and size, give or take muscle mass and pubic hair, since I was 16. I recall the time as a young lady I started to show the potential of growing breasts. I was thrilled, as in my mind this was how one became a woman. I begged my mom to get me some bras. Bras that I by no means needed yet and would, funnily enough, never really need. I asked her innocently if there was a cream or something I could rub on them to make them grow. You see I really wanted some. She looked at me as one would when you have to dash a bit of magic from one’s life – like telling them there is no Easter Bunny.

“Oh, honey, no. But more than a mouthful is a waste anyway.”

It took me a long time to truly move past the desire for something I didn’t have and so many other women did. Strangely, I was and am attracted to women with small breasts. I find them cute and lovely and fitting to the body, but could not see this in myself. In this day and age when altering your body is so readily available and almost encouraged, it would be a lie to say I have not entertained the idea of breast implants before. More than once even. Just a slice, a sliver, you know – some under-boob! But that’s where it stopped for me, at entertaining the thought. Never really wanting or needing the action. (I am not against them for the right reasons; I just know it’s not right for me.)

In my insecure moments of my early burlesque career, when I would proudly drop my bra and show my chest for all to see, it felt lackluster. To me. Never to them. They would and do applaud; cheering ecstatically. It is a triumph to expose oneself to strangers, friends and lovers. To yourself even. It’s something I have come to adore in myself instead of fear or dismiss. It was a lengthy process to look at why I had the desire (making myself into someone else’s idea of what was beautiful) to the acceptance and love (embracing my own beauty and ideals) to come to the place I am now.

Beneath my chest, right below my breasts, through layers of tissue and bone; is my heart. The place I feel, think and radiate out from. The place I make all my decisions from. The place I embrace acceptance from, not only for myself but for everyone I encounter.

Lifting my head, rolling my shoulders back and shining my chest to the sky – I am illuminated. On stage when I am finally naked, in an act of courage, art and exposure, I face my audience with joy. Letting them see my heart, my soul and my breasts. I give them everything, and between their clapping hands and glorious smiles they hold me up in reverence.

It is because of them, that I have found freedom. I have the humblest gratitude for this journey we have taken together, unifying the pieces of my body and making it whole.

Last week I was thrilled to do a photo shoot with Rick Legal. (www.ricklegal.com ~ www.ricklegal.tumblr.com). We shot full nude in natural light at Little Miss Risk’s and my home – aptly named “Haus of Boudoir”. I do a lot of nude modeling for life-drawing sessions, spend hours upon hours at the nude beach, and clearly burlesque is my business. But shooting nude is another beast. You have to trust the photographer and open a dialogue about style and representation. Not all shooters are the same; I have encountered and shot with the other kind. But this time, I felt strong and completely comfortable to be shot this way.

Rick is very talented, kind and adoring of the human form. I have admired his work for the last year and was excited when he asked me to shoot. It helps that we both have a similar esthetic – dark, strong, moody and edgy. Below are some of shots we did. I was happy to bare my chest, heart and breasts for him, his camera, my neighbors (lucky them) and the world.

Art inspiring art inspiring art.

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