Spring has arrived, so hats, scarves and bulky coats are being replaced. . .
with bare skin.
There’s something I deeply love about feeling the sun and breeze on my skin after a hard winter—it makes me feel alive!
But as I looked around the other day, I wondered why some show quite so much skin.
Don’t get me wrong—I think we get to make personal choices (I recently posted, “Modesty is for Me, Not You”), but sometimes I wonder if we show skin because the sun feels good on it, or because we’ve bought into an idea that basically says, “more skin, more sexy.”
I was brought back to my high school days, when I just wanted to feel sexy. I thought that when I wore that low v-neck shirt, you could almost see cleavage (though in truth, I only had any cleavage when I was breastfeeding). I thought “more skin, more sexy,” and I wanted to feel sexy.
At that time, sexy was about feeling attractive to others, not about inviting others to have sexual intercourse with me. And we use sexy that way in other contexts, no? When I title my papers at symposiums, I want a “sexy” title, meaning I want a title that attracts many. It’s not just about sexual intercourse.
But what is it that attracts, that really attracts others to not just our physical bodies, but to us? How can I feel sexy?
My friend watched a documentary whose name she cannot remember, but the story was of a woman who no longer felt generally “good in her own skin” or even attractive to her husband. In order to help her, friends brought her to a small hall where women of all shapes and sizes who felt “good in their own skin,” sat naked. She was amazed that their confidence made any shape or size very attractive. Though she was not ready to bare her whole body, she began to recite the following mantra both when she looked at her naked self in the mirror and as she went through her days, “I am a confident, attractive woman in a very sexy body.” And that changed everything—she began to feel sexy.
You see, I think feeling sexy is about being confident in our own skin—about loving all of who we are and allowing that to bring us freedom. That means feeling sexy has less to do with baring my skin for others and more with my self-acceptance and love.
When I was younger, my time would have been better spent learning to inhabit my body well, rather than looking in the mirror to see if there was any cleavage when I wore that shirt. I would have felt more sexy if I fully loved myself.
And isn’t that the case for all of us? We don’t suddenly feel sexy because we bare our midriff, but we feel the most sexy and appear the most attractive when we are free to show the full self that we love to others.
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