I do try to keep my blogging, for the most part, relatively safe for work. In today's post, I am going to talk about nudity and other subjects as an adult. If that's not safe for your work, well, you best read this at home. Same goes for any kiddos out there--this one is probably at least rated PG-13 for mature themes and nakedness!
I was applying makeup with a girlfriend (we'll call her S) on Saturday in preparation for another friend's 30th birthday bash. The theme our friend had chosen was "Topless Tapas". Now, I'm sure there are not a lot of us out there who have ever been to a topless or clothing-optional party before. Before Saturday, I was one of these people, but I have some very progressive friends. In between critiquing our choices of eyeshadow colors, S confessed something to me.
"I'm feeling really self-conscious," she said. "I'm fat, and I've got bumps, and scars, and stretch marks, and I managed to get this stupid zit between my boobs. I don't really know how I feel about doing this, y'know?"
I spoke some encouraging words about how my own body is decidedly not perfect, and everyone at the party has very different body types, weights, skin types, and levels of fuzziness. (Seriously, folks, my most Papa Bear-esque friend was not the hairiest boy at the party by a longshot.)
All the while, I was silently weighing my own thoughts about baring some or all of my body to the whole room. I am plus-sized and busty, but I have narrow hips and my ass is kind of round-ish and kind of flat-ish at the same time. I have a massive appendectomy scar. I'm quite pale. My ankles have a fun hobby of swelling up all the damn time. Oh yeah, also I'm a cyborg with an always-connected tube somewhere on my abdomen, red marks from old sites, gray patches where adhesive just hasn't quite washed off in the shower.
I don't have a problem with getting naked overall. I mean, I'm not shy. I have never been timid about showing my body when in bed with someone. I'm not one to demand that somebody needs to turn the lights off. Leave 'em on! Put on some extra spotlights if you feel so inclined! The way I've always seen it is this--if you've had the fortune to find yourself in my bed, you are there to appreciate me, and if you see something you don't like, well, that's your problem. (Just please be careful, too many sudden movements near one's infusion site can spell disaster!)
This party was being attended by many of my nearest and dearest pals, people I've been emotionally intimate with for a while now, people I trust wholeheartedly, but still, I was nervous. Was it because there were going to be some strangers there? What was making me so anxious about running around without a top on?
I guess it's just because you'd think it would feel different hanging around like that. You have stripped away your barriers, your physical disguises. My friends would pretty much have no choice but to see an infusion set, a length of tubing running down into the pocket of my shorts, gray blotches of adhesive that don't come off my bright white skin until I scrub with some solvent.
I was shocked to find I felt shy because of diabetes. Even though it was playing a relatively small role in my anxiety, it was an odd thing to acknowledge. A cyborg pancreas can be fun, but the thought of a bunch of strangers seeing my boobs and asking what that plastic thingy was all about made me grit my teeth a bit. I didn't bare all that evening. I took off my shirt and showed the world my fabulous bra, but that was as far as I went. I was happy and comfortable, plus my friend's house does not have AC, and trust me, there is no worse sweat than boob sweat. (TMI? Sorry, friends. I only speak the truth!) There were a few people at the party who didn't disrobe at all. Overall, it just felt like your average 30th birthday party with tapas, booze, birthday cake...oh, and a bunch more exposed nipples than usual.
The next evening I found myself in bed on my laptop in nothing but my skivvies. My pump was next to me, tubing stretched out a bit. My laptop was plugged into the wall. My headphones were plugged into my laptop. They led back to my head. I had to stop and laugh at what a picture this was--one almost-naked woman and a mess of wires, both inputs and outputs.
I guess the point I am trying to get to with all this is that it's okay to be naked, to be exposed when you have diabetes. Nobody feels uncomfortable about showing a few red dots on the fingertips from too many BG checks, but not everyone is willing to hike up their shirt or skirt to show someone what a real pump site looks like. Hot diabetic celebs are not posing in bikinis or bare chests to show off their sexy new CGM transmitter/infusion set combo. Type 1 pin-up girls are not posing suggestively with insulin pumps peeking out of their retro lingerie.
Have you ever sent somebody a suggestive picture, but you've had to angle it so they don't see a giant red mark on your arm from an injection? Do you always wear sleeves long enough to cover up your Omnipod? Should we all get naked with our diabetes? Like, really really naked? Have you ever, physically, made a bold statement that says "Yes I have diabetes!"?